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A name that’s hard to spell

Name etymology

I first heard the song as I was driving to or from no place important. When Mike Doughty sang, “I went to school with 27 Jennifers, 16 Jens, 10 Jennys,” I felt a connection, like two Lego blocks snapping together, because I too went to school with at least 27 Jennifers, 16 Jens, 10 Jennys. In my birth year of 1980, the most popular girl’s name in America was “Jennifer.” You couldn’t avoid a Jennifer without bumping into a Sara(h) or an Amanda first.

This was a problem because for the better half of the 80’s I went by the nickname “Jenny” (or Jenny Sue if you went far enough south). There was always another Jenny in the class. There are few things that can make you feel less like the special little snowflake you are than to sit in a classroom with three other girls who have the same name as you. To differentiate between us, teachers and classmates would use our last initials, so I became Jenny F.

Ugh.

Jenny EFF. It’s so harsh. Not cute or coy like Jenny B or Jenny Q. Jenny eff (my life). So when I was 6 and we moved to another state I became Jennette, not Jenny, and I have rarely run into any Jennettes since.

Unfortunately, my parents had always intended to use Jenny as my nickname, so they decided to get creative with the spelling. Most Americans spell my name “Jeanette” meaning “little Jean.” However, my parents wanted to call me Jenny, not Jeanie, so an “a” became an “n” and a lifetime of answering the question, “How do you spell that?” began.

In my childhood I was very anal about getting people to spell my name correctly. By college I decided it was a lost cause and let people spell it however they liked. But every time I get a bill or I receive an email, I automatically check to see if the sender has spelled my name correctly. I do it so habitually I don’t even notice that I’m doing it. The people who spell it right always score bonus points in my head. And even though technically I’m the one who spells my name oddly, whenever I see the name “Jeanette” or “Jeannette” I think to myself, “Those poor girls can’t spell their names right.”

I’m not the only one with this problem. The Facebook group for People Who Always Have To Spell Their Names For Other People has almost a half million members. My only release when spelling out my name for others is to pause after the second letter of my last name, “F.U….L.D.A.”

That said, I do like my name. Jennette is unusual enough to feel special, but not so odd as to be weird, like say “Apple” or “Moon Unit.” While I currently have no desire to have kids, I promise that if I ever do I will give them names that are easy to spell.

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94 Comments

Katie • February 18, 2009 at 9:42 am

I know how it feels to have the the same name as everyone else. When I was born every girl was, Caitlin, Katherine, Kathleen, or some variation of those and was nicknamed “Katie.” I was always, “Katie J.” Or they called me by my last name which happened to be a woman’s first name which just confused people even more.

As for having to spell your name repeatedly, my sister is “Lara”, not “Laura”, so not only does she have to correct pronunciation by saying “Lah-rah, not Lora (or Leh-rah)” she also always has to spell it: “L-A-R-A, like Tomb Raider.”(which cracks me up)

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Karin • February 18, 2009 at 10:00 am

As a Karin, I feel your pain on the spelling thing. I’ve mostly given up, but I don’t make charitable contributions to groups who send me “free” return address labels unless they get it right. I have 2 kids, and I made the rule early that they would have names they didn’t have to spell out. BTW, I just bought your book, and I can’t wait to read it–I’ve been following your blog for the past month, and because of your “I recommend” section, my husband and I are following the South Beach Diet. I’ve lost 20 pounds so far. Thank you for the inspiration!

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Jordanna • February 18, 2009 at 10:11 am

I’m a Jordanna

Jordan + na = Jordanna

not: gordana

jordania

jordana

gordianna

jordina

gordina

(these are actually all the alias’s listed on my credit report, yet I don’t go by any of them…..)

I sympathize.

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Tina • February 18, 2009 at 10:16 am

It’s so funny to see the impact of a name.

I hated my name growing up. Technically, I’m a Christina. My parents wanted me to have options (Cristine, Chrissy, Christy, Chris), but I’ve always been called Tina. Or make that: I’ve always corrected people to call me Tina.

In kindergarted, I had a class full of Jessicas. I thought they were nice girls, considered their name to be pretty and normal, so I insisted that my teacher call me Jessica too. Needless to say, she didn’t. When she used “Tina” I chose not to respond. And that’s when my parents had their first parent-teacher conference :)

Recently, a colleague of mine had a baby. She loves the name Aidan, but hates how popular it is. Her solution: spelling it Aayden. Poor kid!

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nora • February 18, 2009 at 10:19 am

i can relate to the problem of no one being able to spell your name… all through my life I have had people spell my name Norah… which really bugs me, cause why on earth would anyone spell it that way? My name isn’t Nor-AHHHHH! It’s Nora… emphasis on the No not the ra… I wish people would just ask me how to spell my name before assuming I spell it one way or another!

Good post by the way :)

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Kasey • February 18, 2009 at 10:20 am

I totally understand where you’re coming from! I was born in 1986 as a KASEY and there really weren’t that many people named that, except for BOYS! Imagine my disgust coming up through grade school with the only namesharers being boys. And they always spelled theirs with a “c”. So, I just associate “c”s with boys now…I think Kasey with a “C” is just gross! :) I ALWAYS have to spell my simple name just because of that one letter!

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Shelley • February 18, 2009 at 10:23 am

I hear ya!

Shelley with an “e” before the y

NOT

Shelly

Shelli

Shellie

Chellie

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Becky • February 18, 2009 at 10:30 am

Well, if nothing else Apple and Moon Unit are easy to spell!

When I was a kid my dad used to joke that he wanted to name me Agnella Blossom. (At least I hope it was a joke.) In the end they went for the slightly more common Rebecca. My first name isn’t much of a problem, although I do have people confirm spelling occasionally. It’s my last name that I have to spell and help people pronounce constantly. But there wasn’t much my parents could do about that one.

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Meg • February 18, 2009 at 10:32 am

I hear you!

Meghan

With an “H”!

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Erin • February 18, 2009 at 10:33 am

I too was victim of name duplication. Unfortunately for me, my last name starts with P. Erin P. Pee. *sigh*

And surprisingly, people can’t spell my name either, and it’s not even that hard. I’ve gotten Aaron (which is a boy’s name people) Arin, Ayron, Eryn, Airin… and so many other incorrect versions.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? • February 18, 2009 at 10:36 am

I feel your pain too!!

I’m Mara.

Not:

Maria

marla

myra

mayra

marda

ugh…

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Oliveira • February 18, 2009 at 10:51 am

“My only release when spelling out my name for others is to pause after the second letter of my last name, “F.U….L.D.A.”” BRILLIANT!!!

I am in that Facebook as well for a very stupid reason — my name is Ray and I live in the Netherlands. They don’t have Rays here. They have Roys. At my gym they finally learned to spell my name right when I threatened to call them Morco and Bonito. (And the funny thing is none of those two is even Dutch.)

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Jaime • February 18, 2009 at 11:00 am

yeah my name is Jaime, not only did i get teased for having a boys name in middle school (ok so there were three jaime’s in the class, two were girls and one was a boy). but i get the weirdest spellings. the worst was when i was looking of my mortgage paper work, you know the big bucks i pay out they spelled it Jamie. same with my car title, spelled wrong. im going to join that facebook group and encourage Jayme at work to join too (yep another one of us)

seems that my name is more popular for girls about 10 years younger than me.

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mary • February 18, 2009 at 11:01 am

Well, now the whole world will know my name but, I grew up with a very unusual name. In fact, if I ever ran across anyone in the U.S. with the same surname, we were related in some way.

So, I married an Anderson. Easy, no? No matter how long I pause after saying “mary” before I say my last name, I get called MaryAnn.

My husband’s admin loved it and always called me Mrs. Derson.

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Dee • February 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

Well I grew up with the name Deirdre. Which nobody ever spelled right nor pronounced correctly. My name is pronounced DEAR DRA and yet I always got DEE DRA, DAY DREE, DEANDREA (not sure where the n came from) I just told people to call me Dee because I was tired of correcting them. Of course my name was great when I got older because men always complimented me on how pretty it was, but other than that it truly has been kind of a thorn in my side.

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Jennifer • February 18, 2009 at 11:06 am

I’m a Jennifer and it’s amazing how many people can’t manage to get that right. Seriously? One of the most popular names for the 80s and you haven’t figured it out yet? Plus, it’s Jennifer or Jenn. My name has two Ns, why would the nickname be any different? I’m not a Jen, and I’m not a Jenny. Semi-related tangent– if I introduce myself as Jennifer, that’s what I want you to call me. Do not take it upon yourself to call me Jenny.

It’s my dad’s fault. My mom had lots of names picked out and he didn’t like any of them. She finally said, “FINE! We’ll name her Jennifer like everyone else!” He said, ooh I like that. Grrr…

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Aline • February 18, 2009 at 11:11 am

I had to join that Facebook group after I read about it on your blog.

My mother gave me a French name because a person in a book she had just read was called Aline. I was supposed to be called Stefan but it came to quite a surprise to her to hear upon my arrival that I was in fact a girl. She had to quickly come up with something else.

Nobody in Austria, where I come from, has my name. I always wanted to be called Stephanie or Martina or any typical Austrian name.

Today I am happy to have a name that is different. However the spelling is a different thing. I usually tell people “Aline, like Alice but with an n”. Well, I got Calice and more often than that I just get “huh?”. I also have been sung “Come on Eileen” too more times than I could count. In general I don’t care anymore. Sometimes I have to laugh when I see my name spelled something strange like Eyllynn.

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LadyCiani • February 18, 2009 at 11:16 am

Hah, my MOM grew up with an oddly spelled name. She is Gayle, not Gail. She hated that she could never find one of those souvenirs with her name spelled correctly, so she swore she would never give her kids an oddly spelled name.

My sister is a normal Jennifer, and there were 5 in her 5th grade class.

Then here I am, Lara (Laura with no U). And I can NEVER find one of those souvenir things with my name spelled correctly. Thanks mom! I’m going to have to remember what Katie said above about telling them to spell it like Tomb Raider, because that never crossed my mind. It certainly might make things easier. Though I don’t pronounce it that way, but anyways.

When anyone calls (usually telemarketers) and they ask for La-rah I already know I don’t want to talk to them.

Bonus: When I got married I went from a last name with a W that no one could pronounce or spell (they threw an X in it, for some reason) to one that’s at the front of the alphabet and spelled “just like the color.” So at least that got easier. Except now if you google my new name there’s a porn star that comes up, so when I have a job interviewer I have to tell them, “Yeah, so, if you google me, that’s NOT me! And the pictures are NSFW.”

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Merry • February 18, 2009 at 11:25 am

Even if you go through life with a name like ‘Mary’, people are going to ask you how to spell it. :(

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girliefriend • February 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

Oops. Quoted you the other day. Guess I missed an ‘N’. My apologies. Situation corrected.

Signed,

Someone, whose name is always screwed up.

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Juliet • February 18, 2009 at 11:27 am

Oh, how I sympathize. My name is pretty rare in the United States, but is famous thanks to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And still, nobody can spell it. I sometimes explain that it is the English spelling, like Shakepeare (Juliet v.s the French Juliette), but I usually get blank stares in return.

Recently, I’ve been entertained by several people asking me if I am French, despite the non-French spelling. Apparently “Juliette” is common name in France. But I suppose most people don’t make spelling distinctions about names with which they don’t have a personal relationship.

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Wakati • February 18, 2009 at 11:33 am

I’ve never seen that Facebook group, but I must find it and join it. My name is Nneka, pronounce En-nay-kah. I never say it. I always spell it first because people are tempted to start with an A.

I’m a stickler for the spelling and pronunciation of my name. It’s not fair, I know, but I can’t help it.

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Lynn C • February 18, 2009 at 11:46 am

Heh… I know that feeling…

My mom wanted to have a boy more than anything. So I was her first and she named me Kelly Lyn. And then years and years went by and no other kids.

So, in 5th grade, she added another name and squashed mine around. I became Kellylyn Townsend.

Of course, my family all calls me “Kel” which I really, really hate.

Is it any wonder I call myself Lynn? (I spell Lynn as a nickname with two Ns because otherwise everyone spells it that way ANYWAY!)

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Quix • February 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Mine is only 4 letters but problematic…Leah. Pronounced Lee – ah. Just how it looks, right? Not Lay – ah, like the princess. And it’s not spelled Lea, Lia, Liah, Leigha, Leha, or Lieah. Then my last name is worse – it’s Ruben, not Reuben, like the sandwich, or Rubin, like EVERYONE wants to spell it…sigh. I give major props as well to anyone that gets my name right on the first try. :)

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Rachael • February 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I have an extra “A” in my name (Rachael instead of the more common Rachel) so I totally get the name spelling issues! Though now that Rachael Ray is so huge people are more used to seeing the extra A. Even my grandma spells it wrong with an “eal” instead of “ael”.

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Zandria • February 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I have to say I know exactly what you mean. :)

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Rachie • February 18, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Don’t forget all the Tiffanys, Stephanies, and Ambers! (What’s with the 80s and slightly stripperish names?)

You wouldn’t believe some of the spellings people have come up with for my name. Reachal, Rachal, Raechel… Sigh. Is Rachel really that difficult? And they often misspell my last name, too, adding an S to the end. It drives me absolutely crazy. (Don’t get me started on my middle name, which is indeed a name but nobody’s ever heard of it.) I think it’s common courtesy to make an effort to spell someone’s name correctly. If you’re not sure how, take a minute and find out. As you said, it will earn you bonus points and keep you from looking like a thoughtless ignoramus.

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Meg • February 18, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I have a similar issue with the spelling problem, First off starting with my first name, which has a silent “h”. I can’t count how many times I’ve said “Meghan, with an H”.

My grandmothers name is Jeanette, although with the more traditional spelling than yours, I like the way yours is spelled better. I don’t know why it just looks nicer on the page…

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Nath • February 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I know the feeling! My first name is easy to spell, Nathalie, although English speakers always get confused by the H (French way to spell it, people!) But we were at least 3 Nath at all time in school, so I became Nath S. And that’s without counting the boys, because Nathan and Nathaniel were also popular names the year I was born!

No one knows how to spell or pronounce my last name. Sempels. No hard if you think think about it 2 seconds, people who do think only get the ls mixed up, but I can get weird things…

My favourite bad pronunciation so far: Sam-me-pol-z

They even added a syllable!

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Julie • February 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm

I just totally chuckled out load at the F.U…

LOL!

I’m a “Julie” at one point I had 5 Julie’s in one class. My REAL name is JulieAnn. NO ONE can spell that correctly.

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Bionic Librarian • February 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I so hear your frustration. I grew up in a small rural community with tons of Scottish/British/Irish types with all the uber-common names. Both my first and last names are unique – such frustration. I still remember standing in front of Brown Owl for Brownie registration, repeating the spelling of my name 3 times and her frowning before asking: “what kind of name is THAT?” in a not-so-friendly voice… sorry that I am not named Michelle MacDonald. When I changed provinces at 13 it got worse since I went to a French only school (yes I am Canadian!) where they were used to Nicole LeBlanc and such…

In the last 15 years, my first name has increased in popularity but some insist on spelling it differently – to me I always think: gee, why don’t they spell it the right way? lol…

At least people always know you are a woman. I sometimes get mail or telemarketers addressing me as Mr. *snort* … but at least my name is unique – no chance in getting me mixed up – I am the only one on FB with the same first and last name.

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Squishy • February 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Alas, I am a Jennifer. My sisters are a Tiffany and a Rachael. I think that we’ve all griped a little about our names, but I don’t mind anymore. It’s hard to feel bad about my name while knowing that some poor kids have been named things like “Apple”, “Moon”, and “Adolph Hitler”. It makes me happy that my only problem is that every 5th person seems to share my name. lol

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Rebecca Hoover • February 18, 2009 at 1:49 pm

I’m such a wuss, when I feel the need to use your name, I always refer to you as PQ. I knew I would have to check the spelling of (Jennette) and laziness ensued.

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Jennifer • February 18, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I’m a Jennifer born in the 70s. 2 of my 3 college room mates were also Jennifer, as was a friend across the hall. Good times. The other room mother in my 1st grader’s class? Also a Jennifer. So once again I am a compound name, not just a first name. That’s okay. Just don’t call me Jenny. You call me Jenny? I kill ya!

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Stacy/Stacey/Staci/Stacie • February 18, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I feel your pain.

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Sweetie Pie • February 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I remember one incredibly uncreative teacher who called the Amys in our class: Amy one, Amy two and Amy three. How awful!

My name is pretty normal, Nicole, and the only incorrect spelling I’ve seen consistently is “Nichole.” My real problem is that Nicole is my middle name. My first name is Karen. Karen is a perfectly lovely name, but I have NEVER used it. My family has always called me Nicole, and that’s the name I’ve always used at school and everywhere else.

This morning at the doctor’s office, I signed in as Nicole H…. The receptionist called me over and asked if I’d changed my name. Um. No, I replied. She had my file in front of her. It said “Karen N.” on it. The “N.” was staring right at her. Is it hard to put two and two together? So then I said that Karen was my first name, but that I went by Nicole. Her response: Oh, so Karen is your “real” name. Grrr….

I know it doesn’t really matter… but it always annoys me a bit!

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Pinky • February 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm

@Erin – I work with an Aryn and my bosses daughter is also Erin

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Dina • February 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I’m Dina. Said — Deena– like Tina. And I always despised having my name mispronounced as “Dinah” I have wondered why I get “Dinah” but no one calls a Tina or Gina ..”Tynah” or “Gy-nah” Hmmmm…

Anyway– a mispronunciation has not happened for a long time. And now twice in three days time I have been called “Dinah.” Ouchie!

Of course I corrected them…”It’s not Dinah– it’s DINA!”

Ahh– feel better now…

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Pinky • February 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm

So my boyfriend named his daughter a very common name but with a different spelling, Destinee. She is always Destinee with an E and the others are always Destiny with a Y in class. And to top it off she has a total of 4 names not including her last name. Poor thing.

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Mary • February 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I’m there with the common first *and* last names. I *hate* the first name, always have. And the equally common last name is a big pain — spelling your name is one thing, but I have rarely been in a school and never to a doctor, dentist or hospital where I didn’t have to provide many more personal details so they were sure they were dealing with the right person. It also apparently makes my identity very easy to steal. (Yes, I know this first hand.) My father also has a very common name and so he can’t use the automated kiosks at the airports — he has to see an actual person, because his name is a popular alias. So, enjoy your uniqueness!

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PastaQueen • February 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm

@Mary – A guy I work with has that problem too. Someone with the same name and birthday as him got busted for dealing pot, but it got put on his record. He had to talk to people to get it expunged.

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Tina • February 18, 2009 at 3:07 pm

@Dina. I’m a Tina, but people sometimes hear “Gina.” I feel your pain too :)

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Jeni • February 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I’m Jeni. Short for Jennifer. My Jennifer has two “n”‘s but my Jeni only has one. Why? I don’t know, I was eight when I decided to start going by Jeni and that’s what I decided. I made a rhyme about it back then. One “n” one “i” no “e” no “y.”

Sigh. At least It isn’t Apple.

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Amy L • February 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm

My name could not be easier. I mean I too was born in 1980 and Amy was a VERY common name.

Yet every teacher I had insisted on spelling my name wrong.

Aimie

Aimee

Amie

Amee

Amiee

I mean gosh LOL it makes me feel so simple because its like they assumed noone would spell it plain old A-M-Y.

LOL Oh well………

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Bridget • February 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I was quite curious about your name when I saw it. I like it.

My folks managed to give all three of their daughters names that apply to this blog (you have to love them for being fair):

One of my sisters is Jennifer/Jenny and she also didn’t get to feel like the unique little snowflake in her class.

My eldest sister is Philippa which is always followed by “One ‘l’, two ‘p’s.”

And I’m Bridget. Not such a common name but holy cr*p there are so many spellings and international variations:

Bridgette

Bridid

Brigitte

Birgit

Brigitta

Bridgitte

Bridey

Berget

I was ever so thrilled when “Bridget Jones’s Diary” became so popular. at last my spelling had been popularised.

Alas! now my friends affectionately call me “Jonesey”…

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Merry • February 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm

@PastaQueen – My mother and I have the same first, middle, and last names. My credit report said I took out a Macy’s card two years before I was even born.

Bet you didn’t know I was so talented, eh?

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Dee • February 18, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Talk about always having to spell your name… when I got married I went from a Finnbogason to a Sicklesteel! I always joke that I wanted to marry a Smith, but couldn’t find a good one.

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Jen • February 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Not only am I ANOTHER Jennifer, I was Jenny through elementary school (changed to Jenni when I realized that was more logical spelling-wise– why would the “i” change to a “y”? Yeah, my family still teases me about that switch. And I’m 33.) High school my friends decided that Jen was better. I wasn’t given much of a choice. Ditto when two of my adult friends took the same route as the above commenter:

“Plus, it’s Jennifer or Jenn. My name has two Ns, why would the nickname be any different?”

So now they spell it with two “n”s. Despite my instructions otherwise.

The worst part about being a Jennifer? About 50% of us are Jennifer *Lynne*! Couldn’t even get an original middle name?! And I won’t share my last name, but it is apparently common enough (to my surprise) that there were FIVE teachers working for Los Angeles School District named “Jennifer Lynne My-last-name”

Cannot win….

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Jaime • February 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Hey, I’m in that group! My name is even spelled wrong on my office door.

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Marste • February 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Oh, I feel your pain. I didn’t have a common name; just the opposite, but people have NO idea how to spell it:

Marste

Pronounced MAR-stee. It’s a combination of my parents’ names, just like my mother’s. Her name?

Marlyle

Pronounced MAR-lile.

But I have been know to answer to:

Marcy (ok, I understand this one)

Martha

Maria

Marste (pronounced mar-STAY – always makes me laugh)

Marst

Marcia

Mary

Marie

Melinda

Malina

and a few others. Some of them I get (Marcy makes sense if you’ve heard my name, and Marst if you’re reading it), but most of them? Do not make sense. AT ALL.

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Lindsay • February 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Yup – I’m a Lindsay and in my high school year there were 7 and we all spelt it differently. Then I went to university and I was informed by many southerners that how I spell my name is how the Lindsay for a boy is spelt. Cheers guys!

Now my boss is Lindsey and noone ever spells my name right. Now I don’t care to correct people but like you people who get it right get extra points in my head too.

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Jenna • February 18, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I really felt for you in this one. My mom liked the name Jennifer (I was born in 81 so I am in there with all those Jennifer’s) But my mom wanted my nickname to be Jenna, so she spelt it Jennafer. Of course growing up some people still called me Jenny or Jenn, making things more complicated. And its funny because I have just one level different, but I get the most unsual spellings because people know its spelled funny they just dont know how, I even go a Jenniffer onec, yes two ff’s. Anyways I so understand where your comming from.

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Kari • February 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm

I know how you feel…I get called Kara, or my name comes back spelled many different ways. When I go places like Panera that ask your name, I never spell it, just for the fun of seeing how it comes back. One person did spell it right once at Panera, which was surprising. Most of the time I get Keri (like the lotion), Kerri, Karry, Carry, Carrie… Once I was called Karl…and occasionally I get mail for Kan.

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Debbi • February 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Wow, do I feel old. Do no other Debbis (Debbies, Debbys, Debras, Deborahs or my spelling: Deboras) read your blog?

My teachers put each of us in different rows and called us Debbi 1, 2, 3 and 4. And sometimes 5. We were named for Debbie Reynolds and most of us were born in the early ’50s.

I suppose I should change my attitude and be grateful that I can identify with an issue you young whippersnappers also have. Heh.

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Rebecca Hoover • February 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm

@LadyCiani – My mom’s a Gayle too, Johnnie Gayle no less, hehe. She likes the spelling, thinks it looks better than the other way.

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Ang • February 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I have a name no one can pronounce. My real name is Angeline, pronounced “Angelynn”, but of course everyone says “Angeleen”. It’s usually not worth it to correct people, and when they struggle, I say, “Call me Angie”. I actually do like my real name when it is pronounced correctly. Maybe I should change the spelling.

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Eileen • February 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm

@Aline – As someone named Eileen (which I, of course, think is the correct way to spell it), it is surprising how many people feel compelled to sing “Good-night, Irene” to me.

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Calidaho • February 18, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I am still Angie B. to many of my childhood friends. There was also Angie W and two Angie H-es. Only one Angela was called Angela starting in gradeschool or she would have been Angie D. And there were only 175 people in my entire elementary!

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Jeanne Kischkau • February 18, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I hear ya girl! I”m a Jeanne…and people can’t seem to get it right. Evah. The bonus of this is I am the only person in the world with my full name. I know cause I’ve researched it! In fact, there are only 3 people in the US with my last name. The other two are my parents. So I’m gonna keep it. Even when I get hitched!

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Jeanne Kischkau • February 18, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Oh yeah, by the way…my sister is a Jennifer. :)

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Andy Lee • February 18, 2009 at 8:58 pm

@Jennifer – lol – that’s actually a funny story, about your Dad! I always liked the name Jennifer, and ok, I knew lots of them growing up, but Andrea was never a name I related to…oh well!

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anji • February 18, 2009 at 10:49 pm

@Calidaho – I’m an angela too… only a few other angela’s growing up, some angel’s… but, I hated people calling me Angie… or Ang… it’s ANGELA… though, my family could call me angie or ang… however, once my grandma sent a card spelt angi… hmmm, then when I was in highschool I noticed Paul Simon did a song called, Anji.

I’ve gone by Anji since online but, still expect people to call me Angela, unless I’m close to them. Then I might allow them to say Anji or Ang… it’s a pet-peeve of mine.

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JaneD • February 18, 2009 at 11:45 pm

I was born in 1962 in the year of the “Sue’s”. In my high school English class there were 7 Sue’s, 1 Suzanne and 1 Suzette. When we had substitute teachers even the boys claimed to be named Sue. When the subs read the class list usually we all laughed. I now have 2 sister-in-laws named Sue. A older sister and sister-in law named Kathy. I must say that I am appreciating Jane more and more. Most of the Jane’s that I am meeting these days are under 15.

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Tricia • February 19, 2009 at 12:22 am

Oh gosh, I love this topic. You would think my name is simple, but ohh no. It’s not.

Tricia.

I have been asked if I was sure my name wasn’t PATRICIA. I am pretty damn sure what my name is! It is also hell trying to find a personalized keychain with the spelling of Tricia.

NOT Trisha.

Since my name is spelled “different”, when i was in customer service, people thought my name was pronounced:

Trika.

Try see uhh.

Or when people shorten it to “Trish”, like thats my name. Is it too much to add the “uh” at the end?!

A lot of my co workers and friends call me try-see-uhh now.

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DonnaLynn in Hawaii • February 19, 2009 at 12:24 am

I wish I could find my old blog post from the year I typed up the names for my son’s elementary school yearbook.

What an exercise in frustration that was! I was ever so grateful for the six names I didn’t have to look at for each letter to make sure I got them right.

My oldest got an “uncommonly spelled name” because she has the same name as my mother, but even so it’s still not that unusual. (Cathie) The rest of them are easier. People still call my son Gabrielle, though. (Gabriel) Poor kid. Christopher and Linda have it way too easy.

I named them easier names though, because I always have to explain to people that my name is ONE word, not two. And even so they still shorten it to Donna. At almost 40, though, I’ve just learned to let it go. I only correct people I don’t like.

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AJS • February 19, 2009 at 2:06 am

@Aline – The book wasn’t Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini was it?

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Diane • February 19, 2009 at 3:00 am

Hi Jennette–I didn’t realize it at the time, but by spelling my daughter Michele’s name with one L rather than two, I made her life a bit more difficult. You see, our last name is Thompsen, so it was rare that Thompson was not written on anything of importance (such as achievement awards,etc.) More often than not, we would see Michelle Thompson written and wonder why people were so inept as to not pay better attention when putting names on things that mattered. It drives me crazy! BTW, I’ve been reading your blog and enjoying it immensely for quite a long while and this is the first time I took the time to comment, so obviously you hit a sore spot. Love ya!

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ToyLady • February 19, 2009 at 7:36 am

When I was in 6th grade, I was one of four girls in my class with variations of my name. And, of course, I was only one who spelled it differently (it’s Kris with a K – just like it sounds!).

Our teacher nicknamed us – Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Stymie.

*sigh*

It was such a thrill being in 6th grade and nicknamed “Spanky.”

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Loey • February 19, 2009 at 8:04 am

My family is Scottish (and proud), so we have a slew of unusual names including Laughlin (loch-lin), Seamus (shay-mus), and Mairi (Mah-die).

The names in the Harry Potter books/movies have helped Lauglin and Seamus, but poor Mairi is left to her own devices.

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Olivia • February 19, 2009 at 9:03 am

I had the fortune of not meeting another Olivia until I was in my 20s. But since the name has been in the top 10 for about 10 years, now I hear my name all the time as parents call after their little Olivia.

My friend, Wendie, has always had to spell her name for people. She still gets mad when it’s spelled wrong, especially when she tells a person “it’s i e, not y.”

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Kathy • February 19, 2009 at 11:57 am

My name is Kathy. Its not Cathy, and its not Kathie, or Cathie, or Kathleen. Seriously how hard is 5 letters. My middle name is Lee, so the especially clever ones would always jump to the Kathie Lee Gifford. GRRR…You would not believe how many times I heard that particular joke. In my entire elementary school I only knew one other girl who was a Cathy, and I have never again met someone my age (23) who shared it. What kills me is my mom dosent like her name becasue it was old fashion and then she turns around and does the same thing to me.

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Sheila • February 19, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Sheila, not

Shiela

Shelia

Sheilah

etc.

I never had a nickname. I was determined to give my kids common but versatile names so they could pick their own nickname.

My son has been Jimmy, Jimbo, Jimmer, Jazz, and Jim. As an adult, he is James.

My daughter is named Katherine. So are most of her friends, But they go by Kathy, Katie, Kat, and Katherine. My daughter has been Kazi and Kaz. She’s Kathy now, but may well end up as Katherine as an adult.

I thought she’d have to spend her whole life saying “Kathy with a K”, but apparently Catherine has died out, maybe because it’s less nickname-worthy—no cute initial K.

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JEM • February 19, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I really like the name Jennette.

I was born in 1980 and my parents narrowed the name list to:

Jessica, Jennifer or Jacquelyn.

I am glad they went with Jacquelyn because I had an insane amount of Jessica and Jennifer’s in my class. I don’t meet as many Jacquelyn’s and have never met one who spelled it my way. They are usually Jacqueline.

I also have never been able to buy a personalized name mug off the rack.

We give and take. :-)

I feel strongly about giving my kids more unique names.

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JMB • February 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I love my name and although it is often spelled incorrectly, I’m glad my parents spelled it the way they did. They knew they wanted the name, but had narrowed it down to 3 spellings: Janell, J’Nell and JaNell. They went with Janell. I’ve never been able to find any personalized touristy thing that wasn’t spelled Janelle or Jannell or Janel, but I was also the only Janell in my graduating class of 1700 kids. They went with “normal” names for my siblings, (Megan, Aaron and Joshua), but they still get lots of misspellings!

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Katie • February 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm

@LadyCiani – My sister has the problem with souveniers too. Any time we find ANYTHING that says “Lara” we buy it.

Same thing with my step-daughter. Her name is Sierra and nothing has that name on it.

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Cari • February 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm

I am *so* joining that group. Everyone spells my name wrong, and it’s worse that it’s short for Carolyn, so my actual legal name is not the name that everyone calls me.

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Jeanett • February 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I totally get it. I’m a Jeanett with no E on the end. ;)

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Tanee • February 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm

lol my name is Tanee and I usually have to spell it before I even say it….even then I get a “huh”??

It’s pronounced Tah-nee

When I got married my name got even harder when I changed to my DH’s last name of Janusz (pronounced Janice) hehe Now try to say that all together!

I do think this is my first time commenting but I’ve been reading your blog since I found it last May!! *hugs*

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Laura • February 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm

My legal name is Lauraine, and even when I spell it for people they still take it upon themselves to spell it Lorraine, even at my job. Sigh.

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K • February 20, 2009 at 6:58 am

My grandmother was a Janette. She got Jeanette a lot, too. (Though Janet and Jean are both common names for older ladies in Scotland, but Jeanette isn’t really.)

My name is Kirsten and I was evidently the only Kirsten born in Scotland in 1979, although there were many Kirstys and Kirsteens. I spent my childhood being called one of those. (My parents thought they might call me Kirsty, but they never did.) I tried going by just K for a while, but people heard it as “Kate”.

Now the tide has turned and I get called Kristin. It got a bit easier when Kirsten Dunst came along. Then I married someone with a last name which is very unusual, and kept my own as well, so now I have to spell the first and last bits and explain why I have two surnames…

Maybe I should have changed my name to Jenny.

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Rochelle • February 20, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Ah yes…I am a ROCHELLE. As in row your boat. As in fish roe. Not RISH-SHELL not RAchelle..Not Rachel, etc etc.

I like the spelling of your name. It’s pleasing to look at. For some reason, Jean just looks …Harsh? Wrong? I dunno.

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Laura • February 21, 2009 at 11:34 am

Occasionally, I’ll get a Lora and have to correct– worst of all is when people call me Lori. Lori is NOT a nickname for Laura, it is a whole other name. However, at one job in my 20’s the girls called me Lori and I was too shy to correct them. Something my husband loves to tease me about to this day.

So, what was your legal name before? Was it Jeannette? And you went by Jenny, then they legally changed it to Jennette? Or were you born a Jennette, not Jeanette?

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jae (jeanette) • February 23, 2009 at 3:29 am

This is a cute post. I’m different from you because over the years I’ve become interested on how different my name can be spelled and I usually never correct it. Even now my work has me entered into different softwear under different spellings. I just laugh. As long as they don’t call me ‘Janet’ I’m fine. For some reason that’s where I draw the line. How in the hell do people confuse ‘Jeanette’ with ‘Janet”???? Sound it out people!!

I was called ‘Jean’ once and my mom told me that I was never to be called that. No one has since. I’ve never been a Jeanie or Jenny, my family has always shortened my name to Netter or Nette. I think it’s cute.

My husband has always called me J and spells it J A Y, but I think jae is more feminine so I pretty much stick with that.

By the way, I really like the way you spell your name, it’s unique and fun. :)

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Jenni • February 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I am a Jenni and have ALWAYS been a Jenni. And I always end up spelling my first and last name, even though my last name is so freaking SIMPLE (it is a county in the middle east).

And I am with the other comments that when I introduce myself as “Jenni” call me “Jenni” not Jeanie, Jenn, Jen, Jennifer!!

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Mandy • February 25, 2009 at 9:17 am

I’m a Mandy. Not Amanda. Mandy. That’s what it says on my birth certificate.

It amazes me how many people ASSUME I’m Amanda. One teacher at school got Amanda put on my class photos, despite everything being registered as Mandy.

I made him get the whole batch redone.

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Anne (Happy Fun Pants) • February 25, 2009 at 1:49 pm

OH MY GOSH.

I about wet myself when I read your post…because I posted last Friday about a similar frustration.

First, I am in that Facebook group…because my name is Anne (no…not Ann or even AnnIE). And my last name SOUNDS like Kennedy if you’re not paying attention. But it’s NOT KENNEDY. And everytime I get a bill or letter to Ann Kennedy, my eye starts to twitch.

And the name and initial thing? I currently work in an office with three females. Three females, but TWO Annes. Which means that she is Anne H and I am Anne C.

ANTSY. Which I am. ALL THE TIME.

UGH.

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Mel • February 25, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Mel is short for Melyssa. My mom got creative and put the letter Y in all 3 of her kids names. It has driven the extended family nuts for years. They know my name is spelled different but it just hasn’t sunken in that it is just a Y instead of an I. So I get creative cards from relatives: malissa, mylessia, Milissa.

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Kristine • February 25, 2009 at 9:42 pm

I know what you mean. I ALWAYS have to tell people when they are about to write my name or type it that it is Kristine with a K.

Or an even better situation is when people cannot read my name and end up calling me Kristen or Kirsten. Duh, huh?

I would never want to be a Christine though, I think the K is prettier.

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Jayme • February 27, 2009 at 2:25 am

I have the same problem with spelling my name. When I was in high school I would write it in my yearbook and people would still spell it wrong. There are even members of my family that continue to spell it “Jamie” and I am not sure why but there are a percentage of people that say my name incorrectly when they see it. It is phonetic. Jay-me. How hard does that get?

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Just Jinny • March 2, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I’m a Jinny too. Actually, growing up I was Ginny. And had to live with Jenny, Jeanie situation as well.

When I got into high school I decided I wanted to chnage it up a little. Be unique, create my OWN identity. So I changed the spelling to Jinny. I don’t come across many others.

But, I still have to put up with people spelling is Jenny, or calling me Jennifer (which is NOT my given name). I answer to just about anything know-a-days.

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Anna • March 27, 2009 at 2:46 am

Hi there..My real name is Etherianna Fernanda Fidelle.. Most of the time my teacher/friends keep spelling it wrongly.. “Ester”, “Easther”, “Esther”…

Sometimes it is spelled with the missing letter “n”..”Etheriana” and letter “a”…

“Etherinna”.. My teacher used to pronounced it as “Estherianna”.. Why is it so hard..? Why can’t they just say “Anna”.

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Anna • March 27, 2009 at 2:47 am

Hi there..My real name is Etherianna Fernanda Fidelle.. Most of the time my teacher/friends keep spelling it wrongly.. “Ester”, “Easther”, “Esther”…

Sometimes it is spelled with the missing letter “n”..”Etheriana” and letter “a”…

“Etherinna”.. My teacher used to pronounced it as “Estherianna”.. Why is it so hard..? Why can’t they just say “Anna”.

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Lindsey • August 25, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Well Im Lindsey, Not With An ‘a’, ‘i’, or any oter letter you wish to use. i was born with an ‘e’ so when the bank etc makes the mistake i simply return the letter/card etc and tell them that the item does not belong to me as it doesnt have my name on it. people still spell it lynsey or lyndsey not lindsey. also i get lindsay, linzi, lindsy, lindzi, linsi, lindsi, lindsy, lynsay, lyndsay, etc. it drives me crackers. there is a reason my parents spelt my name this way. although i do wish the had spelt it ‘lindseigh’ to be different. any replies on ‘lindseigh’ way of spelling ?

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Deirdre Moore • December 22, 2009 at 12:11 pm

@Dee – I know! Someone even called me “derriere” once!! She called me the french word for ass!! I tell people to call me Dee also. How I laughed when I read your post. Yes, I hated my name when I was little. I even begged my mother to change it to Michelle or Jessica, Stephanie something normal. Now I too like it, it is a pretty name and lots of people say so!!

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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