Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why would you do this to your daughter?

She can't be more than seventeen. Small, slender, red-lipped, skin hasn't settled down yet. Straight cornsilk ponytail held back by an Alice band, and the coffee-shop job sure didn't pay for those glasses.

She makes me an excellent strong latte with a fern-frond pattern, to get me through the next few hours of the bookshop sale. (Apparently the reason coffee grounds kill snails and slugs is that the caffeine makes their heartbeats speed up till they die of exhaustion. You heard it here.)

If she's working at a coffee shop in the city on a Sunday morning, and in rough old Hindley Street at that, then she's probably an enterprising seventeen, temporarily out of school uniform and into franchise ditto, which is at least a bit cooler than the school one: black and tight.

The uniform also involves a name badge.

'Brenton', it says.

Okay. What happened in 1989, when someone gave birth to a little blonde baby daughter and called her Brenton? What family dramas were behind it? And what family dramas have ensued?

17 comments:

Ampersand Duck said...

I just spent yesterday's evening sitting with a heavily pregnant friend trying to pick baby names. Sounds like those parents had the same 'Baby Name Compendium' that my friends do. Gawd, reading through that book, I'm amazing there aren't more girls called Brenton (or Khe Sahn or Bryttyny or Maddison) in the world.

FXH said...

Either they are music fans - Brooke Brenton "A Rockin' Good Way To Mess Around And Fall In Love" or globalising economists - Brenton Woods 1944?

littlefaeriegirl said...

or she left her badge at home and had to wear the spare one?

tigtog said...

Perhaps the coffee franchise has visions of strict boarding schools dancing through its head, and puts only surnames on the name tags?

Pavlov's Cat said...

All excellent theories. I particularly like Tigtog's -- so if Brenton has a little sister who also comes to work in the coffee shop, the latter's badge will say 'Brenton Minor' or 'Brenton 2', like Molesworth's little bro.

Do not get me wrong here. My own name is a 1950s version of Bryttyny -- I am SO not in a position of strength when it comes to dissing other people's names. For me the issue is strictly the gender confusion thing, which the poor kid will have to deal with all her life. They might as well have called her Kevin or Bruce.

comicstriphero said...

Duck - that wouldn't have been little Ebenezer, by any chance? Just checking...

I second tigtog's theory. My days (sorry, years - sorry years they were too) as a retail slave regularly featured this type of thing.

FXH said...

I'm trying to put this politely, but may I ask, did you have your glasses on?

Pavlov's Cat said...

Oh very funny, FXH.

Yes, actually.

Pffft.

Armagnac Esq. said...

Oh, not good.

Faced with choosing a baby name myself, I know it's not easy, but some names definitely scream "no".

I get the feeling someone wanted a boy and couldn't deal with what came out instead. Sad.

Naomi said...

I'm with TigTog.

At my local supermarket they borrow leftover badges when they've left theirs at home. My favourite is 'Chrystall', which is a name that does raise the question of 'why would you do that?'

You can spot the secret cross dressers by their willingness to (if male) wear name badges like 'Ella'.

ThirdCat said...

I think I've mentioned this somewhere else on someone else's blog, but I have truly, honestly met someone called (I hestitate to say named) Nigel-Ann. Not sure whether that is Ann with or without an 'e'.

Zoe said...

THIRDCAT, YOU HAVE NOT!

Pavlov's Cat said...

I dunno, you know, I think she probably has. This is Adelaide, after all. Bwahahahaha.

Imagine how Nigel-Ann(e)'s parents kicked themselves when the domestic-goddess Nigella became famous and they realised that if they were absolutely determined to name a girl after a Nigel, they could have done it that way.

If s/he was a girl, of course.

Perry Middlemiss said...

I have this suspicion that Brenton is a particularly South Australian name. I can't say as I've ever come across any outside that state - except for my brother, but he was born there and now lives in Victoria.

Maybe she picked up the wrong shirt that morning.

ThirdCat said...

She's a she. And since she's not unrelated to someone who is not unrelated to me I don't want to be too...you know. But nah, they wouldn't have gone with that nigella stuff anyway.

Kate said...

As an aside, the ribbon thing seems to be the waitress headress of choice: all the young things I work with are doing it. Since my hair is short and slippery, I can't do the ribbon thing, also I think it is not a terribly good look once one is over the ripe old age of 25. Thankfully, we do not have nametags.

Ampersand Duck said...

Yeah, I have one of those names too, PC, so I'm a good one to gloat. Still fun to seek out the truly dreadful ones, but.

Now, back to Brenton. Let's not forget this would have been the early 80s, and gender-passive names were quite trendy at the time, along with high-necked blouses with shoe-string ties under grey shoulder-padded suits for office-working women.