Two weeks ago, we gathered here to discuss the phenomenon of dating someone with the same name as you, something I find repugnant to the bone but which, I’ve learned, many of you don’t. In the lively and unnerving discussion that followed that piece, for which I thank you all, many people agreed with me that this is an alarming and unsustainable practice. Others felt neutral or never considered the issue, which I suppose is also defensible. Today, however, we are here to discuss a third group of people: those of you who have dated someone with the same name as you or are actively interested in doing so! Lovingly, what’s your business! Let’s investigate.
Who are you?
Quite reasonably, in my anecdotal research, the people who were most vocal about having a neutral to positive opinion on the subject were people with extremely common millennial/mid to late 80’s names – their Laurens, their Amandas, Sarahs , Ashleys and so on and so forth. forward. This I can understand from a logistical point of view; you’re cutting off a really significant portion of your dating pool if you cut off everyone with your name. (For what it’s worth, I’m also in this demographic and strong, but whatever.)
There was an interesting outlier in this trend, which is people with less common or downright rare names who were so excited by the prospect of meeting someone else with their name that it made dating them seem desirable.
Thanks to commenter Jess, I was alerted to the fact that buried in an article misleadingly titled “What Our Love for Swedish Furniture Says About Narcissism” is a clue as to why the aforementioned people might feel this way. He explains that “researchers have long observed a tendency for people to be attracted to others who are like them in some way,” and that small details (or larger ones) can make us feel not just connected to someone, but as if they are the destiny. . From the play:
When I meet another Janetta, it’s automatic like, oh my god, I can’t believe we have the same name. And then if we happen to have the same spelling – and I’ll tell you, I’ve only met two people who have the same spelling as me, but I can tell who they are and I felt an automatic affinity.
While only a small percentage of people are invested enough in that automatic kinship feeling to make decisions based on it, it maps onto the larger population that is a bunch of potential dates of the same name. Longtime site friend Julia, a veteran of a previous relationship with Julie, reported much the same feeling when asked about her intra-Julia courtship:
“I think my name was unusual enough that when someone else on the list had my name, they felt an immediate kinship. She and I grew up hearing the same set of syllables, we had the same adjectives that were supposed to define our personalities, maybe we were both born in July or our parents loved the Beatles. I’ve always felt an immediate attraction to the other Julias, fortunately, different sexualities kept us from running into the issue of the eponymous couple.
When she met “a cute girl on a dating app with a handle that included Jules,” the rest was Julia history.
When surveying Autostraddle readers and commenters who have been or are currently in same-name relationships, these observations ring true enough. Lauren, who was married to another Lauren, reports that “It gave an air of fate and pretensions that was painfully false, in the end”, adding that unexpectedly the experience gave her “a little disdain for my own name, in a way. weird.”
Reader Amanda, wife also named Amanda, shared some of the same experiences with the feeling of equality: “When we first met (in high school!) we were introduced to each other by mutual friends who insisted that we were EXACTLY the same person. – we both had super good grades, we played musical instruments really well, we were both sarcastic, and of course we both called ourselves Amanda.
Both Lauren and Amanda reiterated a point that unfortunately runs counter to my bizarre knee-jerk reaction to the concept: It’s just not a big deal! It’s like, okay. Amanda noted that she did not strongly identify with her name and that “it never felt weird to me because I knew I had feelings for this girl and I wasn’t going to let anything as silly as our first names stand. in the way of it.” His wife, also Amanda, shared that “Being an Amanda married to another Amanda has almost no impact on my daily life, other than people (generally straight, although some blunt queer people have also intruded into this territory) being shocked and confused. Why should I change my whole life to make some random people feel more comfortable with my weirdness?” Lauren had a similar opinion, saying that ultimately she still retains a sense of humor about it and that “it was just a silly shrug more than anything else”.
The Vanessas Weigh
Still, we haven’t yet focused on the experience I’m most interested in, which is being actively encouraged to date someone with the same name as you. To that end, I reached out to Vanessa, who had previously indicated to me that she felt neutral or positive about dating another Vanessa. On why this was attractive to her, she told me:
“I honestly love myself, and I think I’m super hot, so the name “Vanessa” has great connotations for me! More or less like the name [redacted] reminds me of receiving a very skilled fist, and the name [redacted] reminds me of that really annoying guy in my class who thinks he’s a genius but actually just has a beard. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that names get lodged in your brain and influence a first impression! And my first impression of Vanessa is amazing, so I would definitely be excited to see if another Vanessa lives up to the hype.
At least one other person is on Vanessa’s wavelength, quite literally: Vanessa Shen, a former camper on our own Vanessa Friedman’s A-Camp, took that idea and ran with it to create vanessa.dating, the only dedicated dating site in the world. website world for Vanessas. Including a variety of Vanessa spelling variations, the site itself makes a number of strong arguments for intra-Vanessa-community dating.
Vanessa Shen explained, “It started as a joke on twitter what it was too far,” dating back (laughs) to 2014, when “ICANN launched hundreds of new TLDs like .coffee, .engineer and .cool. I took several domains from Vanessa, including vanessa.dating.” Sadly, no date has been reported as materializing via the website, although now that you know about it there’s still time.
In conclusion, while the idea of having another Rachel in my life makes me itchy and weird, I have developed a greater understanding and respect for those of you who feel differently through this valuable cultural exchange, and I hope to contribute to the experience with this post. . .