The Story of My Name – Part 1

Maire- pronounced Moyer

Oh the years I have had to contend with an unusual name.

As a child, my main gripe was that I could never find a keyring with my name on it. I know it’s not a a big deal, but as a seven year old, unable to find stationary with your name on it, it is.

The strange thing is that you never stop looking.

For some reason, people presume that I can neither spell or pronounce my own name. They change the spelling to Marie or Moira, or use these pronunciations for my name, because, how would I know how to spell or pronounce the name that my parents’ gave me.

When I visit the Dentist, Doctors or any other place where I have to be called by my name, the door opens and someone comes out to call my name. They stand for just a few seconds too long. They take a deep breath and say “ERM”. I know it’s me they’re going to shout of. Part of me wants to jump up and say “I’m here – It’s me”, the other part of me wants them to at least try and pronounce it first. Then they shout. “Mrs Porter”

Since I married and took my husband’s surname, my life has become slightly easier. I can give people my name and although they don’t know what I’m saying for my first name, they do understand my surname. Prior to getting married, when my name was Maire Tarpy, I was asked on more than one occasion if I could repeat it in English.

People can be very rude, because they haven’t heard the name before; it can’t possibly be a real name. Did my parents’ make it up? is it a nickname? They only accept it when I explain the origins to them.

There are several different meanings for my name across the world.

It is Irish for Mary and also means bitter.

Maire is also a colour; it is a shade of black.

In France, Maire is the name given to the Mayor. For some reason I always get good service in France.

Maire is an abusive Tamil word that literally translates as pubic hair (not my favourite meaning)

The best thing about having an unusual name is there is only ever one of you in any of your social groups, be it family, friends or work colleagues. I don’t have to explain which Maire I am – I’m a bit like Madonna or Elvis – no one ever asks which Elvis you mean.

As a child I hated my name, I wanted to be like everyone else. Now I love my name. I love that there are not a million other women with my name. I am no longer bothered about people asking me about it.

More than anything else my name makes me stand out. People remember me.

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