23 June 2005

So I was listening to the True Hollywood Story of Carmen Electra on E! News Radio this morning, and her real name is Tara Patrick. When she became Prince’s protégé in 1990 (or was he the unpronounceable symbol at that time?), he insisted that she change it, and she decided on Carmen Electra. Obviously to reflect her demure and simple nature.

So I started thinking about stars who change their names. Do they think of themselves as their real name or their stage name? Does Carmen Electra wake up every morning and look in the mirror and see “Carmen” or “Tara”? I’d put my money on “Tara”, but then again, she’s been “Carmen” for such a long time. And does her big Iowa family still call her “Tara”? What about her husband? I’m sure she was introduced to him with her stage name, but if she wakes up every morning and sees “Tara”, she probably wants him to see “Tara” as well. It seems like I remember from their reality show that he has a pet name that he calls her.

The whole name change thing is just something that I don’t get. When my parents named their children, they specifically chose names that could not be shortened, changed, or cutified. And if you can think of a nickname for Karen, please let me know. I’ve always been curious.

My husband Bill was “Billy” growing up, and whenever we’re in his hometown, that’s how he thinks of himself. At first, it weirded me out, but now, when we’re in his hometown, I sometimes think of him as “Billy” too. But I don’t call him that unless I’m joking and using a hick southern accent and drawling it, “Bill-lly”.

I babysat for one little girl who decided to change her name the first day of school when the teacher was taking roll.

Teacher: “Katie?”
Girl: “No, it’s Beth.”
Teacher: “I’m sorry. It says ‘Katie.’ I’ll change that, Beth.”

Two months later at the parent-teacher conference, after 10 minutes, her parents finally stopped the teacher and asked why she kept calling her Beth. The teacher (much confusion!) explained, and let me tell you, there was a lot more explaining to do when the parents got home.

But she’s Beth today. I respect 1st graders who know their true name. At least she didn’t change her name to Carmen Electra.


sarah j. said...

Its funny to me how Carmen Electra has such a normal real name. Tara Patrick. Who'dve thunk it? [terrible grammar, I know....] I can't think of her as anything other than the hostess of that one exercise video I have that we will not speak of....;P

Shelli said...

thats hillarious!!!!!!! Beth? Why Beth????

Karen said...

it was actually her middle name. apparently, there were two other beths in the class, and she wanted to be popular.

Ellen said...

You need an enema.