I was home watching clips of last night’s Daily Show when something I never expected happened: Jon Stewart called me a whore. Well he implied that Desiree is the name of a prostitute anyway.
My first thought was “really? That’s a little harsh.” Then I thought “well, that explains some things.” It’s not the first time something like this has come up.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Indecision 2010 – Unforced Errors Edition|
On a snowboarding trip in Canada, an instructor asked me my name. When I told him he said “That sounds like a porn star.” Here’s a little tip for any of you that might be confused about this, telling a complete stranger that they have a name of someone who puts things in orifices for a living is not flattering. That’s something you should probably keep to yourself.
Turns out Desireé Cousteau is the name of a famous porn star from the 1970s most famous for her roles in the movies Pretty Peaches and Inside Desiree Cousteau. Nice job doing your homework on that one mom and dad. That’s what you get for letting the nurse name me.
Fortunately, porn stars and prostitutes are not the only professions my name brings to mind. Once at a party I mentioned my name and some douche bag said something like “isn’t that a stripper name?” The thing is I’ve lived with a stripper and I’ve learned that their real names are always something like Stormthousand or Tiara while their stage names are Sarah or Beth. So no Desiree is not a stripper name—Jackass.
This new insight into my name does shine some light onto previously unexplained phenomena in my life. I spent one summer off from college at my brother’s house. I somehow accidentally managed to die my hair purple (a long story and not a very interesting one). That same night my cousin and I were going to see Yo La Tango in Seattle. We parked the car downtown and as I got out, this guy passed by and, very forcefully, called me a slut. He proceeded to walk straight into a parking meter, which knocked him over. Because there was a crowd waiting on line to see the show, tons of people watched as he writhed around in pain. No one seemed to have much sympathy.
A week later, I was remodeling my brother’s spare room. When I went out to my car to grab some boards, a guy in a truck drove by, slowing down as he spotted me. He stopped the car just long enough to yell, directly at me, “Whore, fucking whore, fucking-two-bit-cock-sucking whore.” I wiped the sawdust off of my hand and gave him a friendly wave as he drove further into the sub division. I looked over at the neighbor just in time to watch her glance up from her gardening and give me a look of pure disgust.
Once I had time to process what had happened, I was shocked. Not just by the fact that people still used the phrase two-bit, or that someone took the time to drive around using redundant slurs like cock-sucking whore, but because it was the second time in as many weeks that something like this had happened.
Taking into account that I had never been accused of such promiscuity, I combined that with the fact that I had never before had purple hair. At the time, the two seemed to correlate quite nicely. But now I’m not so sure. Is it possible that the two men somehow knew I had the name of a prostitute and felt the need to remind me of that? I will never know.
I’ve never really felt like my name suited me, this is probably because I am not a prostitute, but over the years I have come accustom to it. Now though, it occurs to me that it might be time to try something that fits my personality better. When I was in college I knew a girl who changed her name from Mara to Yeshishe (or something like that). She said it was because she was becoming a Buddhists and her name no longer suited her. So for the rest of the semester the entire class had to call her Yeshishe, which meant something like the wisdom of God, a fact I found extremely annoying. Turns out, while I always thought that Mara was a lovely name, it was the name of a demon who turned into a beautiful woman and seduced the Buddha. It’s also synonymous with unskillfulness and the death of the spiritual life, so not the best name for someone serious about the faith, I guess.
According to baby-names-adoption.com, Desiree means so long hoped for, crave and, of course, desire—not the best Buddhist name either. If you think about it, it’s really sort of a terrible name. None of those things are virtues of a decent human being but flaws of a hopelessly addicted junky or a person who can’t keep from wanting. That is certainly not the type of person I want to be nor are those the qualities I want to be associated with. But even with the moral implications, Jon Stewart slamming it, and Neal Diamond writing a terrible song featuring it (also apparently about a prostitute), it’s still my name and I kind of like it. So maybe in the end it’s not my name that has to change but the image that goes along with it.