On having a slightly unusual name

There’s not much fun in having a slightly unusual name, truly.

My parents – and I do love them dearly – clearly thought the usual “Candice” would not suffice. Instead, somewhere – in the depths of a baby name book, I presume – found the variant “Candace”. Which, I’m sure, was accompanied by something along these lines:

Glittering white; glowing. History: The hereditary title of the queens of ancient Ethiopia.

All very awesome. The trouble comes with the way my name is pronounced.

You see, I pronounce it “Cand-ACE”. To rhyme with race. That’s what my parents named me, you see. Therefore, it is my name.

However, the internet will tell me it is pronounced “Cand-iss”, “Can-deh-key” and even, for some bizarre reason “Can-day-see”. Do you know how many people have pointed out that my own name was not pronounced in the “usual” way? (One of those people was Morgan Freeman. True story.)

Look, if your name was spelled “Diane” and you pronounced it “Dee-anne”, I’d be cool with it. Because that’s your freaking name. Likewise with “Kelle” and “Kelly/Keh-leh”. I’m not judging.

So, with a name like “Candace”, you can imagine how funny phone calls to my office are. “Hello, Candace speaking,” I’ll say. Person on the other end will usually respond: “Oh, hello Candice”. Or, more fun, are the debates we have over how to pronounce me name. They usually go like this:

“Hello, who’s speaking?”
“This is Candace.”
[I kid you not, this happened last week] “Sandrace?”
“Oh, sorry Candice.”


Never mind the written versions of my name. I’ve seen Candice, get “Candance” on a regular basis (even my Open Water 1 diving card reads Candance, it was a huge joke at that night’s braai. “Can you dance, Candace? Can you?”) and once I even had “Can”. As if they got stuck at the tricky part and gave up.

To add to the confusion, my brother still calls me “Candice”. Because when I was younger, I hated “Candace” so much that I basically bullied my family out of it. At high school, though, the teachers preferred to call me “Candace” – and it stuck.

However, in the interests of not going through life in an even larger ball of rage than I already do, if I can vaguely recognise it as my name, I’ll generally answer without comment.

Plus, to make everybody’s life that much more difficult, I spell my nickname “Candi”.

You know, for fun.

2 thoughts on “On having a slightly unusual name

  1. My father (Alywn, Edwin) blessed me with the name “Galen” (pronounced gay-lynn). You can imagine the sorts of nicknames I was given at school! Traumatic times. However, the more I have grown up, the more I have grown to love my unusual name. It means “curious one” and I wear my name proudly 🙂

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