The one where no one gets my name right…

22 Jun

Okay, with a name like Phoebe, I’m used to getting my name misheard, misread, and mispronounced. Saying my name over the phone is the worst – “Bebe? Stevie?”. If my name is spelled right on the Starbuck’s cup, there’s a one in ten chance that the barista will yell out “I have a tall latte for Fobe.”


I expect it. I brace for it. I sigh every time I have to give my name over the phone. “No, Phoebe, you know, like on “Friends”?”

“OH! PHOEBE! Do you sing Smelly Cat?”

“That’s not the point of the phone ca- actually, I could.”

One time, a guy called looking for “Foe-bee”. I said my name was pronounced Fee-bee – and he said “Oh! They have your name spelled wrong here.”

“Oh really? How is it spelled?”


*sigh* “No. That’s the correct spelling. You’re just mispronouncing it.”

But there was one time in my life where the mispronunciation of my name crossed over to the absurd.

Imagine it, Sicily, 1918 – wait, wrong sitcom reference…

So when one of my kids was on a local soccer team, I was meeting other moms. Kim, Michelle, Jennifer – you know, other moms with regular names. Then there was one, who must have been very proud of usually being the one with the “different” name. Whose name had two legit pronunciations.

We’ll call her Anna.

I was introduced to Anna, and called her Anna, only to be corrected for using the A-like-ant sound.

“It’s AH-nnah, like Anna in “Frozen”. AH-nnah. Not Ann-a. AH-nnah.”

This wouldn’t have been bad, except the entire time she corrected me, she kept calling me “Foe-bee”.

As in…

“Now Foe-bee, people are always saying my name wrong. It’s AH-nnah Foe-bee, not Ann-a. Do you understand Foe-bee? AH-nnah.”

At one point, one of the moms I knew tried to correct AH-nnah. “Yeah FEE-BEE, It’s AH-nnah, not Annn-a.”

AH-nnah didn’t get it.

AH-nnah continued to call me Foe-bee for two more years. Always correcting me if I slipped and called her Ann-a. While sighing a little, as if it was such a burden to have to constantly correct people on her name’s pronunciation.

I won’t lie – it got a bit awkward. People tried correcting her but she’d always revert back to Foe-bee. We all sort of gave up trying to get her to say my name correctly. She was working too hard to make sure her own name was pronounced correctly to switch gears I guess. Who knows? But it only stopped when I moved.

I wonder if her job now is to teach Starbuck’s baristas how to write names on cups. Because it would all make sense.


It’s both wrong AND right!







13 Responses to “The one where no one gets my name right…”

  1. crazyoldlady64 June 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

    I understand your frustration. I grew up with a last name that was always mispronounced and now I’m divorced with a last name that is always mispronounced. At least we don’t have to go through what my younger daughter does, her name is Leela. And no, she was not named after the character on “Futurama”, she was named after my grandmother. At least we aren’t asked if we were named after a cartoon cyclops!

  2. kkessler833 June 22, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

    I used to have that problem but then my name became very popular! There are Kendalls all over the place now, boys and girls. I used to have to explain how I got that name. Not anymore.

  3. marymtf June 22, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

    You don t really mind do you? Phoebe is a nice name.

  4. Jane June 23, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    I feel your pain. I am ALWAYS being called “Jan” or “Jean” or even “Jen” by new acquaintances (and once, rather memorably, “James.”) Because my name is so, so hard, you know?

  5. honestfoodandthoughtsmom June 23, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

    Oh my gosh. I can completely relate. My name is Sasha, and I am forever Tasha when talking to someone over the phone. And don’t even get me started on how people spell my name. I never really thought it was so hard? But what do I know?

  6. pooped5 June 24, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    Maan, feel your pain. I’ve dealt with people butchering my name (Ali Muhammad Jaafar.) I talking to a friend from the middle east about people mispronouncing my name. I remember him saying something to the affect of “Yeeah, these people with their “American Pig” pronunciations!” 🙂

    • Phoebe June 24, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

      We do like to put our own twang on names 😂

      • pooped5 June 24, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

        By the way, I sent you an email. Did you get it?

  7. talesofaneglectedwomanchild June 24, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

    People always have trouble with my name over the phone – It’s Tash. Short for Natasha.
    More times than I can count I’ve been called Pat, Kath, Kash (wtf is that anyway?)
    Even worse is when they actually come into work after said phone call, looking for Pat…….

  8. daphne0284 June 25, 2017 at 10:29 pm #

    same feeling ! people can’t pronounce and write my name correctly .

  9. Patty Hood June 26, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    It’s surprising to me how hard it is to get people to hear my last name, Hood, for Pete’s sake. I’ve long since started saying Hood, like Robin Hood, or Hood, like Little Red Riding Hood, or else it’s likely to be Good or Wood. But that seems like a lot of talking to get folks to hear a simple H.

  10. Sandy June 29, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    I can empathize…my maiden name is SO simple (Testa – it’s Italian), but I’ve been called Teesta, Pesta, Pepsi, and on one certificate, the person filling it out wrote TESTES!!! Gee, wonder what he was thinking about. My married name is also SO simple…but it often gets mispronounced as “Hel-mes.” and I always have to spell it, because the silent “e” gets left out and it ends up “Helms.” Sheesh!

  11. DGGYST July 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    LOLZ! The title of this post is so freaking spot on clever!

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