The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 May 2007

No, I mean the other one

Around the end of 1968, there was a breezy little Latin number on the radio called "Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero," billed to "René and René," who turned out to be René Ornelas and René Herrera, who failed to get much more traction on the pop charts — "Lo Mucho" peaked at #14 — but who are justly revered in Tejano music circles. I was fifteen then, and more or less pre-hormonal, so the fact that these were two guys with the same first name never struck me as having any potential repercussions: I mean, it's not like they were dating or anything.

That, though, was then. This is now:

I sometimes think my life emulates a badly made Farrelly Brothers comedy and no, I don't masturbate a lot. I am actually the result of a same-sex, same-name relationship. My name is Renee and my girlfriend's name is also Renee.

I think the whole same-name relationship phenomena occurs much more frequently in same-sex couples (for obvious reasons) than in heterosexual ones, although I have yet to meet another couple who shares the same name like we do.

Rather a lot of names that used to be given to boys (Beverly, Leslie, Terry) are now seen more often on girls, but it seems to me (and I pay way too much attention to this sort of thing) that once a name catches on for girls, it drifts off the radar for boys. (Sir Carol Reed might be inclined to disagree, but he was unavailable for comment, having died in 1976.)

So this particular phenomenon is indeed more likely to occur among gay couples than among straight ones, but I can't imagine it being that rare, and indeed Renee drew rather a lot of comments from others in a similar position, including one of my regular reads, Steph Mineart, who said:

My girlfriend and I are both named Stephanie, and we have the same middle name, Ann, as well. We met at game night, and hit it off because we always ended up on the same team together — the "Steph Team" which has now extended beyond game night and into the rest of our lives.

To make it even more strange, my girlfriend's mother is also gay, and her partner shares her name also — they are both "Judith Ann." They go by Judy and Judith, and we go by Steph and Stephanie. But it's still confusing, because my extended family prefers my childhood "Stephanie," and her friends have always called her "Steph."

Our families have tried Stephanie 1 and 2, but my family calls me 1 and her 2, while hers calls her 1 and me 2, so that doesn't sort it out.

And there's this:

And if we ever get married? Well, neither of us could adopt the other's last name without literally becoming the same person.

I think the worst part of all is that horrible 1960's song by Left Banke "Just Walk Away Renee" which somehow seems to come to everyone's mind when they hear our name. It's bad enough we have the same name, but you're not making it any better when you and 6 of your friends chime in to a round of this overly annoying song (I might be biased, but still).

Just another one of those things that we straight folk can never imagine, I suppose. (Although I really love "Walk Away Renee," though I suspect I'd love it less were I named Renee and had it sung to me every other day for most of my life.)

Posted at 7:00 PM to Almost Yogurt

So this particular phenomenon is indeed more likely to occur among gay couples than among straight ones

Hmmm. Chris and Kris? Terry and Teri? Pat and Pat?

Posted by: McGehee at 7:27 PM on 27 May 2007

Must add that the title on Renee's post is classic.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:28 PM on 27 May 2007

Is there a name for the somewhat related occurance of people ending up with the same first and last names? For example, I know Paige Davis (Trading Spaces) kept her maiden name (Davis) after marrying Patrick Page, thus avoiding "Paige Page". Similarly, a friend of mine (Mr. Bailey) got a girl pregnant, but they separated before the child was born. The girl was named "Bailey" after the father; the couple has since reconnected and married, thus presenting another awkward naming mashup.

Posted by: Rob "Flack" O'Hara at 10:25 AM on 28 May 2007