Wednesday, June 13, 2018



Parents don't do that to their kids anymore.

It’s not in the Top 100 list of boys’ names; probably wouldn’t make the Top 1000.* It’s on the verge of extinction along with Thaddeus, Engelbert and Floyd. If you’re named any of these, take comfort in having a moniker that’s now “unique” in a world of Bens and Liams.

I had a coffee date with a Marvin last week. And that created a hurdle from the outset. You see, my longest relationship was with a guy named Marvin. It started off blissful, but after nine months, it became abusive…and I stuck with it—and the abuse—for another seven years. So Marvin is a name that gets my back up.

Poor Marvin II. I really wanted to wipe the slate clean and give him a chance. But two days before our coffee, I had a nightmare about Marvin I. Extremely disturbing. And it’s too much of a coincidence that it should occur so close to our meeting. I’m super skilled at repressing so Marvin I hadn’t popped up in years, not even in therapy.

I suppose I could have asked Marvin II his middle name. Or said, “How do you feel about ‘Howard’? It really suits you.” But that would require a whole lot more explanation than a normal, well-adjusted person shares over an introductory coffee.
I’d like to think I could have eventually gotten past the whole thing, dropped the “II” from my mind and accepted The New Improved, Entirely Different Marvin. That would make me evolved. That would have me laugh it off as friends and family (who don’t know about the past abuse) say, “Gosh, you’ve really got a thing for Marvins.”

Perhaps fortunately, Marvin II and I didn’t click. Perhaps I’d subconsciously held back. But then he texted me the next day with a string of compliments. (Did he really think we clicked?!)

Alas, I had to let the text exchange die. If I’m not supposed to dismiss someone because of a name, I’m also not supposed to drag something out because that same name, with some sort of guilt and determination trying to fix what can’t be fixed.

So it’s back to checking for (no) messages on online dating sites and hoping a Ben or a Liam or even a Thaddeus—all safe names—to express an interest. Anyone really. Except maybe Marvin III.

     *Okay, I did find Marvin, ranked a lofty #559 on this Top 1000 list, but still… 
       (And, sorry, Thaddeus, Engelbert and Floyd, you didn't make the cut.)

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