The curse of the hyphenated name

Dear Diary,

I had a frustrating experience not too long ago while trying to make an online purchase. When I entered the billing address, I repeatedly got an error message telling me it contained invalid characters.

After several attempts, I finally released what the invalid character was. The pesky hyphen in my name. I deleted the hyphen and was able to successfully proceed to checkout.

But come on, it’s 2020. It’s not like hyphenated names are terribly unusual.

Alas, it’s not the first time my little hyphen has caused some issues.

For starters, there are lots of people who don’t seem to know what you’re referring to when you say “hyphen”.

I’m constantly having to spell my name out. (People with uncommon names or uncommon spellings will probably relate to this.) More than once when I’ve reached the hyphen, I’ve been met with one of two reactions:

  1. a blank or bewildered expression, as if I’ve just coined a new word.
  2. a brief pause, before the person writes an apostrophe instead. (That’s some cool science fiction shiz right there. πŸ˜€ )

I usually end up explaining it as a “dash” and drawing a horizontal line in the air with my finger.

Then there are those who see my name written down and can’t figure out how to read it.

I get called Lee a lot, which I don’t mind. Some of my friends call me Lee or L for short. But I’ve also been called Ann and Annie by multiple people, and I hate it. (There’s nothing wrong with those names, they’re just not me.)

I don’t know if other people with hyphenated names or double names experience the same issues I do, or if I just attract confusion. πŸ˜›

Anyway, at the top of the post, I melodramatically described this as a curse. But in all seriousness, I like the name my parents gave me. My first world hyphen problems are more of a quirk than anything else.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to educate y’all about the joy of hyphenated names. πŸ˜‰

2 Replies to “The curse of the hyphenated name”

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