My name is fairly unusual. I’ve rarely met another one – so the fact that my aunt happens to have a very good friend in San Diego named Geraldine is kind of a funny thing. Especially when we’re down there visiting.

When other Geraldine’s husband calls her name, we both turn around. Ditto for when Rand calls me. I suppose if I had known another Geraldine at some other point in my life, it wouldn’t nearly be as strange … but she’s literally one of the few I’ve ever met, and the only one that’s been in the same group as me.

The other day, we were both sitting at a table at my aunt’s, and I commented that we had the highest concentration of “Geraldines” in all of Ocean Beach. I have no doubt that the claim I made was an accurate one. Because really, who on earth is named Geraldine? Except for say, someone’s grandmother, which I often hear when people ask for my name.

“Geraldine? That was my grandmother’s/great-aunt’s/great-grandmother’s name!”

I smile and nod. It’s a name that was popular a hundred years ago. So naturally, when Rand and I booked into a little boutique hotel in San Diego a few days back, and one of the girls at the front desk told me her grandmother’s name had been Geraldine, I smiled.

“I’ve always loved that name,” she said.

I politely told her “Thank you.”

“No, no,” she said. “I  mean, I really love that name. I always have.”

And to illustrate her point, she gently tugged back the collar of her shirt …

Seriously, how random is this? (For the record, my middle name is NOT Marie).

Seriously, how random is this? (For the record, my middle name is NOT Marie).

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I was positively gob-smacked. San Diego not only has a Geraldine my age, but the adorable girl at the hotel had “Geraldine” tattooed across her collarbone. We chatted a bit more, during which I might have developed the weensiest girl-crush on her (I mean, can you blame me? She looked like Winnie Cooper and she had a tattoo of my name! I wanted to eat popcorn and watch old Cary Grant movies with her – a definitive sign of everlasting friendship).

I suppose it’s bound to happen: you travel enough, you meet people with your name. Or your name tattooed on their body. Once, Rand and I went to a wedding in Cascade, Idaho, where we encountered not only the bride’s aunt Geraldine, but a friend of the groom’s who was named Rand. Shortly after, we checked into a hotel, and the doorman was also named Rand. Not “Randall” or “Randy”, but simply Rand. My husband was stunned.

And he was stunned again when I showed him the above photo, minutes after I took it.

“WTF!” he exclaimed. “That’s awesome!”

Yes. WTF, indeed. And awesome, too.

Share your WTF experiences: have a weird run-in with someone who has your same name? Spotted a tattoo that resonated with you? Tell me about it in the comments section below!

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Comments (8)

  1. 1
    Dean says:

    When I was in high school, I volunteered at the Museum of flight in Seattle. Every year, they have a big benefit auction, and the other obnoxious teenage volunteers & I were going to be the ones to hold up/display/move the items up for auction (why they trusted a bunch of obnoxious teenagers around thousands of dollars of memorabilia, wine, etc, I’ll never know). Anyway, the auctioneers name was Dean Smith (me: Dean Smith-Richard). So, same deal as you- we would hear “Dean” or “Mr. Smith” and both turn around. And, like you, not a whole lot of people named Dean, so it was a new experience. I can’ imagine what it’s like to have a really common name- must be annoying.

  2. 2
    Carbzilla says:

    I love weird stuff like this.

    Yesterday I went to a new chiropractor and found out that they already have a patient with my exact first and last name. That’s pretty weird as my first name is not as common as, say, Laura, but not as uncommon as yours. Apparently this patient just married into my married last name so I had it first.

    Anyway, the point is she’s clearly an imposter.

  3. 3
    Alouise says:

    I’ve never met another Alouise, but I do turn my head whenever someone says Louise, cause it’s really close.

  4. 4
    Candice says:

    It’s not TOO uncommon in these parts, but I doubt anyone has a tattoo!

  5. 5
    Philip says:

    I guess my first name is just out of fashion enough that I don’t meet too many other people with my exact name, despite my impossibly common last name. Once I worked a guy who had my name (I’m older so it’s “my” name). His middle initial was J and mine is G so that only made matters more confusing when trying to explain to HR which one you were.

  6. 6
    Mary-Alice says:

    My last name is nearly unique — it was Lithuanian to start with, and then got changed enough when the family arrived here that even Lithuanians don’t recognize it any more. There are, literally, only a couple of dozen people in the U.S. with my last name and they are all related to me. So imagine my shock when I picked up my drycleaning here in Seattle and it included a man’s shirt that did not belong to my husband — same last name as mine, but, it turned out, a different first initial. Apparently my second-removed-whatever cousin John (who lives in western PA, and who I’ve never met) was temporarily in town, had some kind of wardrobe malfunction, and brought the problem to MY cleaners. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world….

  7. 7
    Trisha says:

    The only other person I’ve ever known named “Geraldine” was actually a TV character played by Flip Wilson. He was great. And I think it’s really cool to have a unique name, so rejoice in it!

  8. 8
    Anisa says:

    I too have an unusual name and imagine my surprise when in my sophomore year in high school (yes, I said HIGH school) while attending vo-tech, in my same class was another Anisa. Only she spelled it with two s’s. Maybe about a year or so later, I met another Anissa. Two s’s again. Now, years later, this same Anissa, works at the same company as my husband. I don’t think I’ve ever come across any Geraldine’s though.

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