NMN

That’s my middle name – “No Middle Name”. My parents gave me NMN. It presented some problems growing up, as especially in the South, everyone seems to have a middle name. But after I married, it made life simple, since I just used my maiden name as my “middle” name. We did the same with Nicole. She, however, hyphenates.

Lately, though, I have begun using the middle name “Lulu” for female people, cats, and dogs. We have Ginger Lulu, Sadie Lulu, Sydney Lulu, Miko Lulu. You get the pic. I don’t know why this appealed to me. It just sounds funny. Try it. For guys, I use “Wayne”. All males in the South have either “Lee” or “Wayne” as a middle name.

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17 comments on “NMN

  1. Miko says:

    Ben Wayne. I like it.

    Japanese routinely *don’t* have middle names, and having one has given me no end of trouble, especially when dealing with red tape, documents, bank accounts, etc.

    Sometimes hyphenations can sound really funny, can’t they? “Bigg-Weiner.”

  2. Karen says:

    My favorite has always been “Ball-Holder” which was a real pairing.

  3. Petra says:

    Middle names are something completely unknown in Germany.

    However, it used to be not completely out of the norm to have two Christian names on your birth certificate. But, in true German fashion, there was a rule to it: Two Christian names, double-barreled, meant that you used both names as one. Not double barreled, one used only the first of the two names.

    I have a double-barrel Christian name, but as times were already changing when I grew up most people used only the first of those two names. Never my parents, though! The same with my brother. Parents insisted on long version of name, I call him by an abbreviated short form of first name, his wife calls him by the second part of his double-barreled name (which for me is the strangest thing ever).

  4. Miko says:

    That’s interesting, I honestly didn’t know that Germans don’t have middle names. Come to think of it though, why do we have middle names? What’s the point? I get asked this question all the time in Japan.

    I’ve been forced to double-barrel my two names, because as I’ve said, middle names aren’t acknowledged here. Further complicating things is the fact that in Japan (and practically all of Asia) people are usually known by their family names first, and their “first” names second (ie, Cross Benjamin-Wayne). There are also several different ways of writing it in Japanese.

    This means that my own name, as it appears on various government documents, officially has TWELVE different versions, and they are all equally valid and legal.

    Think of the fun twelve Mikos could be having …

  5. Petra says:

    Names – yes, that is always interesting.

    When I got married for the first time, Germany had just passed a new law allowing women to keep their maiden names by way of attaching it to the name of their husbands. So Miss Meier, marrying Mr. Schmidt, became Mrs. Schmidt-Meier. Before that, Miss Meier would have become Mrs. Schmidt. No discussion. (Although Germans never went so far as to turn Miss Maria Meier into Mrs. Peter Schmidt.)

    Then, quite a few years later, the law was changed again. Women who wanted to keep their names could do it by attaching the name of the husband to their own name. All women who had double-barreled names through marriage under the old law were offered the opportunity to change their names, too; so Mrs. Schmidt-Meier could legally have become Mrs. Meier-Schmidt.

    From then on things went a bit haywire. The next step was that MEN were allowed to take on the names of their wives. Mr. Mueller, on marrying Miss Hoffmann, could either become Mr. Hoffmann or Mr. Mueller-Hoffmann.

    The next step was that every part of the couple could keep their own names outright.

    And what about the children? Yes, that’s when things started to turn a bit freaky. Children are not allowed to carry double-barrel family names, which makes sense, because if a Miss Schmidt-Meier marries a Mr. Mueller-Hoffmann and then… you see where that would end up.

    So couples have to decide on one “family” name for their children, which can be chosen from all the abundance Miss Schmidt-Meier and Mr. Mueller-Hoffmann bring to the registrar. In case the happy couple can’t decide, the case goes to family court, where a judge makes a decision. (If I were a judge and had to sit over a case like that, I would say: “Peeps, forget it – if you can’t even agree on a family name, how is this marriage going to fly?” But that’s just me.)

    Oh, and not to forget and to confuse you completely: If Miss Meier, who married Mr. Schmidt and became Mrs. Schmidt-Meier, which later was changed to Mrs. Meier-Schmidt, gets a divorce, she can of course keep her name, but if she gets married again her new husband can not take her name and the name can also not be declared to be the family name.

    The reason behind this is strangely enough the fact that although the German nobility as a legally defined class was abolished on August 11, 1919 with the Weimar constitution, when all Germans were made equal before the law, and any legal rights or privileges due to nobility ceased to exist, they were allowed to keep their names. And while before this the names of noble families could only be passed on if children were born in wedlock or if adults married into noble families, now names could be passed on through adoption or – and here the circle closes – through adults getting divorced and marrying again, keeping their names and declaring it to be the family name. This practice has now stopped. After all, it was getting a bit crowed in the Gotha or Burke’s Peerage.

  6. Miko says:

    That is fascinating, thanks Petra!

    Did you know that the House of Windsor derives from Germany? I didn’t know until recently.

    Anyway, I’m still contemplating whether to hyphenate my name to Clooney-Cross, or just stick with plain old Clooney. When the time comes, that is.

  7. Petra says:

    Yes, the ties of the English monarchy to Germany were quite, quite strong.

    Queen Victory herself was raised speaking German only until she was three years old. Then she started learning English and French. According to her contemporaries her English was good, but not excellent – no wonder as her mother and her governess, Baroness Letzen, were German. And her husband, too, of course.

    The name of Windsor was only adopted by Queen Elisabeth II. If the greatest influence in the life of her husband, Lord Mountbatten (formerly Battenberg), had had his way, the UK would not have a house of Windsor today, but a house of Mountbatten. But good old Queen Beth II. did not go that route, she nipped all aspirations of old Mountbatten in the bud.

    Good for her!

  8. Karen says:

    Ah, now you’ve stepped into my territory. It was actually King George V, Victoria’s grandson, who changed the name of the family from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor. This was in 1917, during WW I when German sentiment was high. Prince Phillip’s family, the Battenburgs, renamed themselves the Mountbattens. But Elizabeth II kept the family name as Windsor for the royal family, to avoid a repeat of the debacle of 1917. Kaiser Wilhelm, the emperor of Germany at the time of WW I was married to The Princess Royal Victoria, the oldest daughter of Queen Victoria. It must have made for some strained family reunions.

    Seriously, it was that, as an English major, I was required to take a year of British history simultaneously with British literary masterworks. The thinking, avant garde at the time, but commonly held now, was that it is impossible to understand the literature of an era without knowing the history and events of the period.

  9. Miko says:

    Very interesting! I grew up in a country where the House of Windsor was in those days a revered institution. Our national anthem was “God Save The Queen.” In high school I did a project about the Industrial Revolution. But I never knew any of this stuff.

    About Mountbatten I don’t know much, but I do remember the horrified headlines when he was killed in a terrorist attack.

  10. Petra says:

    Mountbatten and Edwina, his wife – very, very interesting story. Sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll (or the equivalent at that time), they had it all and lived it up to the hilt. At the same time he certainly was a hard-working man all his life, and Edwina too managed to turn things around for herself to become a highly respected and adored woman of her time.

    As I said, very interesting story.

  11. Petra says:

    Karen, you are right – I mixed up two thing here, the stripping of all German from the name during WWI and the ER II decision to keep her name (Windsor) as a family name and not to adopt the Mountbatten (formerly Battenberg) name from her husband.

  12. Karen says:

    Understandable, Petra. You didn’t have it drummed into your head for a year.

  13. Miko says:

    Sounds juicy. Tell me more.

  14. Karen says:

    Juicy? A year long class in British history, simultaneously with a class in British masterworks? Sleep inducing is more like it.

  15. Petra says:

    You mean the Mountbattens?

    Start here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Mountbatten,_1st_Earl_Mountbatten_of_Burma

    Then just poke around. There’s a lot available on the Internet.

    As an interesting aside, “Dickie” was also a close friend of Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor) when they were young, which opens up yet another can of “juicy” worms. 🙂

  16. Miko says:

    I agree, 90% of British history was loooong and boring, but the other 10% was pretty darned juicy all right … bet you managed to stay awake for those particular lectures!

    Oh my, I had no idea. It looks like he was called “Dickie” for a reason … and I’m a bit shocked to learn that his wife had a fling with the Indian PM!

  17. Karen says:

    I’m still reeling over the idea that 2 of QE II’s kids are not by Prince Phillip. Hey, the royalty does have a reputation for being randy.

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