Choosing the right name
October 7, 2005
I’m thinking of changing my name. While the moniker conferred upon me by my parents when I was born is perfectly fine, I figure if I’m ever going to make that leap into super-stardom (or infamy), a name change is in order. For inspiration on what to re-name myself, I’ve looked to some people who have famously done it once or twice.Option 1: M. CiddyAlthough he’s a hip-hop artist/music producer/record company executive/clothing designer/television producer/actor/television host/restaurateur, the man who caught the attention of the mainstream media at the turn of the century as Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend is probably most famous for his name changes. He’s had several: Sean “Puffy” Combs, Puffy, Puff Daddy, Puff and P. Diddy. In August, he dropped the P. in what he says was an attempt to “simplify it.” According to Diddy, dropping the P. also makes him more personal. Strangely enough, I actually do feel closer to him now that the cumbersome P. is out of the way. Definitely something for me to consider.Option 2: M. CoSpeaking of Jennifer Lopez, the former Fly Girl turned actress/singer was B-list at best until the release of her 2001 album, “J. Lo.” The nickname catapulted her into instant B+ status. Going through three marriages, an engagement and a high-profile relationship in the span of a few years didn’t hurt, either. M. Co is catchy and likable. I could get used to it.Option 3: MeriEveryone used to call me Meri when I was little. My family and a few other people still do. Ricky Schroeder, the object of affection for many 8-year-old girls (including me) in the 1980s as the star of “Silver Spoons,” grew up to become Rick Schroeder. Katie Holmes, another idol of many pre-adolescents as a cast member of “Dawson’s Creek,” was re-christened Kate by her fiancé, Tom Cruise, perhaps in an effort to mature the appearance of their 16-year age gap. The only problem with going to Meri full-time is that it might look like I’m regressing to childhood.Option 4: Meredith L. CohenI’ve tried this already (as evidenced above by my byline), but it’s just not working out the way I planned. The middle or extra initial thing has proven to be somewhat impractical, as very rarely do people include the middle initial when referring to me. It seems as though the extra syllable is a verbal step many are unwilling to take. I bet C. Thomas Howell knows exactly what I’m talking about. And while the middle initial thing seems to work for Michael J. Fox, I wonder if a famous person is still identifiable in print or in person if the extra initial is ever inadvertently dropped? Option 5: TigerHaving feline animals in their names worked early on in the careers of John Mellencamp (Johnny Cougar and then John Cougar Mellencamp) and Yusuf Islam (Steven Demetre Georgiou became Steve Adams and then Cat Stevens). But ultimately, both outgrew their pussies. So while Tiger might be a nice exotic choice for me at the moment, I hate to think that I, too, might end up disliking it and want to drop it someday when I’ve achieved some amount of global fame. Option 6: Meredith StarshipThe band Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship and then just plain Starship. While I wouldn’t mind being associated with the group who sang “White Rabbit,” I want nothing to do with the heathens who had the audacity to torture ears everywhere with “We Built This City.” Option 7: Elizabeth TaylorIt might be a good new name for me if only as an argument against name-changing. La Liz has been through eight marriages (to seven men) but she’s been intuitive enough to keep her name intact. Unfortunately, many high-profile women have learned the hard way that the shape of Michael Jackson’s nose is likely more permanent than their wedded bliss: Meredith Baxter (Birney), Rebecca Romijn (Stamos), Roseanne (Arnold), Phylicia Allen (Rashad), Chris Evert (Lloyd), Pamela Anderson (Lee), to name a few.Option 8: O(+>Name changes haven’t slowed down Prince. His have ranged from Jamie Starr, Joey Coco, Alexander Nevermind and Paisley Park to Tora Tora, Azifwekare, Gemini and Camille. Of course the changes most famously went from Prince to an unpronounceable symbol to The Artist Formerly Known as Prince to The Artist. He’s back to being Prince now. I like the idea of changing my name to a symbol. I think it would make me seem deep. But I just dread the thought of explaining it to the people at the DMV. And you know I’ll never be able to find my symbol on a souvenir license plate in an airport gift shop.Option 9: MonoMusicians commonly change their birth names to ones more suited to the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle (e.g. Cherilyn Sarkasian La Pierre/Cher, Paul David Hewson/Bono, Helen Folasade Adu/Sade). With only one name, I’ll join the ranks of the Eminems, Madonnas and Stings in my only-one-name-needed status. The only drawback with Mono is the unfortunate association with an infectious illness.I suppose if none of the aforementioned names are suitable for my world-domination purposes, I could always go with the old standby – my would-be porn name (the name of my first pet plus the name of the street on which I grew up). The one concern is that people might think I don’t look like a Bubble Gum Sylvan.Other name change options under consideration by Meredith Cohen include Vanna, Foxy, Chaka and Schlitz. Questions or comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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