WHAT. I am the O.G. Katy G, formidable, inimitable, original. Honestly, I did not at ALL expect to be the only one – after all, there are thousands and thousands of people with my first name or my last name. (This number is of course misleading, seeing as my full legal name is Kathryn, but even with that there are only 25 Kathryn Grossmans in the entire U.S.) Let’s break it down.
Starting with Katy:
One of the set-openers that I’ve used at an open mic makes fun of how prevalent the variations on Katy are. “One out of five white girls is named Katie,” I said. “Raise your hand if your name is Katie.” Nobody raised their hand. “You guys are lying,” I said. It was a weird crowd.
It certainly seems like one in five. And where there’s one Katie, there are many. We’re like mice that way. It’s like we unconsciously gravitate together. We hosted a BBQ at my house for July 4th this year, and were just sitting around the kitchen table enjoying the food. Some new people walked in, and when we went to introduce ourselves we realized that we had completely unintentionally created a line of Kate-Katy-Kaitlin-Catherine on one side of the table. If you backed it out to full names, it was Kaitlin-Kathryn-Kaitlin-Catherine. I swear we didn’t mean it. The same thing happened my freshman year of college. There were five Katherines on my floor, including myself. Three of them lived in a room together, intentionally. Using nicknames, on just my floor we had one Katherine, two Katies (Katie and Katy), a Kate, a Kaitlin, a Kailey, a Carly, a Casey, a Cara, a Catalina, and a Kevin. Plus another Kaitlin who spent all her time on my floor. JFC. Can you imagine the mind-fuck that must have been for our RA? It took me weeks to learn all of my residents’ names when I was an RA, and the most duplicates I ever had were two at a time.
Using HowManyOfMe.com, which I believe pulls its information from the U.S. Census, as well as Google, I have come up with a rough estimate of the number of white girls in the U.S. As it turns out, I was over-estimating. Taking into account as many nicknames and spellings as I could think of (Katie, Kathy, Kate, and all variations thereof), we make up just under 1% of all white females. Not quite 20%, but it doesn’t carry as much of a punch to say “one in one hundred” instead of “one in five.” Just a little harmless hyperbole to spice up a set. The full names (Katherine, Kaitlin, Kathleen, etc) make up about 2.3%. Obviously, these numbers are rough AF.
I like my name, always have, but I also always wondered about having a less popular name. What would it be like to be named Hazel, or Corinne, or Mischa? Not that going by Katy is boring by any means. The thing about having a common name with an uncommon spelling is that literally everyone will spell your name differently. I’ve had multiple ice-breaking conversations with a fellow Kat_ where the first question is “how do you spell your name” and then we talk about which famous person spells their name the same way and how many wrong spellings we’ve had to suffer through. My Starbucks cups have said Katie, Katy, Catie, Kate, Katey, and Kati, just to name a few. Also, when people read my name quickly they see the T and the Y and they immediately think “Kathy.” It used to bother me when I was little, but now I don’t care as much. You wouldn’t expect a stranger to know that your name is spelled differently from 90% of everyone with that name. Literally 90% – (as before, based on HowManyOfMe.com) “Katy” represents less than 10% of all spellings (that I could think of) for the name Katie/Katy/Catie. Not so common now, bitches.
I know I said it doesn’t bother me anymore, but here’s something that I don’t understand and that I think everyone with an interesting or alternative name/spelling can relate to: how in the hell do people still misspell your name when responding to an email or a Facebook post?
How did she do that? My name correctly spelled is on this thread twice but she still went and addressed her message to “Katie.” The same thing happens on Facebook. My name is right there. Just pay attention! Is it really so goddamn hard?
According to the same website there are 21,367 people with the last name Grossman. That’s a lot of gross men (*ba dum TSS*). Although actually, percentage-wise it’s only 0.007% of the US population. Which partially explains why so many people find it hard to pronounce when reading out loud. I think that they’re afraid of offending me – like if my name doesn’t actually sound like “gross” then I’ll be upset if they say it that way. When I have to sign in anywhere, I always tell them “Grossman. Like a gross man.” They always laugh, but it always works! Now they know how to spell and/or pronounce my name. It’s super effective.
When I was younger, I used to have play-dates with this girl Melissa. She was one of my only friends in Hebrew School so we hung out fairly often, but the only thing that I can really remember (besides one time when they served pasta during Passover – gasp!, and one time when her parents got in a huuuuuge fight in front of me) is that her Dad loved my name. Every time I saw him: “Grossman! Did you know that there’s a quarterback at University of Florida named Rex Grossman?” I didn’t the first time, but I did after. Every time after. Every. Single. Time. After. It was like humoring an aging, forgetful relative who told the same story every time you saw them – except that he was in his forties and not at all related to me. When we got our second dog and named him Rex – not because of the football player, damn it! Because he looked like a Rottweiler! – Melissa’s dad was unreasonably excited. “Oh my God! Rex Grossman! Did you know that there’s a quarterback at University of Florida named Rex Grossman? Did you name the dog after him?” Yes, Rex Grossman. Yes, I knew that there was a quarterback named Rex Grossman. No, we did not name him after the quarterback.
Now it’s all come full circle – my Dad moved to Florida last year and his new neighbor is Rex Grossman. Yes, the quarterback. If I’ve learned anything in 25 years of consciousness, it’s that the universe doesn’t give a shit about you but it has a ridiculous sense of humor.