A Rose By Any Other Name

In Ted, Mark Wahlberg reels off  about fifty white trash girls names to his teddy bear trying to guess the name of the toys new girlfriend. Finally he gets it by repeating the list and adding Lynn to the end of each one. In Russia you’d have hit the right one in 5 seconds or so about 80% of the time.

They don’t have enough names in Russia. Point this out and they will get defensive and start naming stuff no one has used since 1459, like Plogtwilla Goonita or Frogmella and so on, but the fact stands. I skim a Russian pal’s Facebook friend list and hit 4 Elenas, 3 Marinas and 5 Natasha’s in the first three screenfuls. They may have all of the world’s gas and potassium but there is a name deficit that verges on the deliberately obstructive.

The phone rings, “Hey, it’s Julia” says a voice and I am supposed to know which one of five julias it is. A class of 9 students has four Natalias in it, so we go with Natalia, Natasha, Natushka and Natyonka to cover it. We could go way further and do these forms:

Full form – Natalia
Short form – Natasha
soft form – Natashka                                                                                                                                         Affectionate form – Natashen'ka
Full/affectionate form – Natalichka
Other forms: Nata, Natik, Natka, Nataliya, Natali, Nataly, Natalya, Natallia, Natalochka, Natochka, Natusik

But they are still all called Natalia.

In America people are called Phrenais , le Shaun, De Chevette, Tiffany, Starfire, or Alberaneshia. Others have those  black girl names that appear to have been made up by trippers with speech impediments, while the guys seem to use surnames as first names, like Harrison, Nelson, or Willis, or they randomly make shit up like DeForest Kelley, on top of which they have all the white euro names and endless Spanish or Slavic forms that the wasps use like Tarquinian or Gwilthrop.

But in Russia everyone you know has pretty much the same 10 names, Zhenya is my son, his best friend, three girls I know, three close friends and the entire Locomotive football team probably, plus their wives, children and siblings.

Why? I could find out I guess, but I fall asleep while looking through my phone contacts trying to decide who to call and ask.

1. Elena (Lena, Alena, Alyona)
Svetlana (Sveta)
Olga (Olya)
Tatiana (Tanya)
Natasha (Natalya, Nata)
6. Marina
Irina (Ira)
Anastasia (Nastya)
Anna (Anya)
10. Oksana (Ksyusha)
11. Yuliya (Yulya)
12. Olesya (Lesya)
13. Victoria (Vika)
14. Ekaterina (Katya)
15. Nadezhda (Nadya)
16. Lyubov (Luba)
17. Lyudmila (Lyuda)
18. Margarita (Rita)
19. Alexandra (Sasha)
20. Valentina (Valya, Tina)