The Trouble With “Noelle”

Every time I meet someone new and the obligatory introductions are made, I have to explain my name. It’s spelled N-O-E-L-L-E. No, it’s not pronounced “Noel-lee.” Silent “E” at the end. Yes, it’s a real name, French in origin. “Noelle” is the feminine version of “Noel.” Yes, it’s a real name, damnit.

(I’m just thankful that in person there’s no doubt I’m not a man. Getting form letters that address me as “Mr.” or “Sir” because they’ve guessed my sex by my name is very, very annoying.)

I used to wish I was called something else. I had no idea what other name I wanted, but the only qualification was that it wouldn’t be as strange as my real name. Because my first name was so short nobody could manufacture a nickname from it, I remained “Noelle.” I began to think I could use my second first name, which is “Frances,” when I started college. Then I realized I have a younger cousin named Frances and I didn’t want to be confused with her. So, “Noelle” stuck.

Now I realize that my name has helped me define who I am. I’m different from a Sarah or a Jenny or a Michelle (not that there’s anything wrong with having those names). I love that I’m the only one called that among my acquaintances; when my friends mention “Noelle” I’m the one they’re talking about. Search for “Noelle” on Google and I’m in the first few pages of results; in fact, everything I’ve done on the Internet is associated with this name.

Over time I have become my name; I think I’m as unique and idiosyncratic as it is. When someone recently suggested I could use my second first name, I scoffed at the idea almost immediately and realized how important my name has become to me.

I still have to go the long way about introducing myself these days. I’ve even taken to wearing a gold necklace with my name on it, just to make spelling it out less tedious. But now, I realize taking the trouble with my name is worth it. It’s my name, and don’t you forget it. Ü

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11 thoughts on “The Trouble With “Noelle”

  • August 10, 2006 at 5:45 pm
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    Well dear Sir, it’s nice to see that you like your name!

    Oh, you’re a girl. Dammit!

    ” I’ve even taken to wearing a gold necklace with my name on it”

    OMG you got blingbling!

    Reply
  • August 10, 2006 at 9:55 pm
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    It’s like Gabrielle being addressed as a male. Meron akong friend na ganun. Naiinis din siya.

    By the way, this is Jam. And I am a girl, by the way. Just saying so because I also get comments on my lyrics site addressing me as ‘kuya.’

    Reply
  • August 11, 2006 at 8:58 am
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    haha diba most of the time if the name sounds like a guy’s name but ends with “e” it’s a girl’s? like noelle, gabrielle,justine, etc…
    people still get confused??

    “noel-ee”.haha.that’s funny.

    anyway i really think you have a gorgeous name.very French!luv pronoucing the the 2nd syllable, the “elle” part.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2006 at 12:13 pm
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    Alessandra: I think you underestimate how dense Filipinos can be when confronted with a name like mine. πŸ˜€ I even get phone calls looking for “Sir Noelle.”

    Jam: Your name can be used by both guys and girls and people just immediately assume the masculine. I understand.

    Ade: You betta respect the bling! :p

    Reply
  • August 11, 2006 at 4:30 pm
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    Thanfully my name CAN’T be mistaken for girl’s name. Sucks that it rhymes a lttle to close to waiter though. I end up looking around in restos everytime someone screams WAITER!!! Ok. I have no point. Yeah. I kinda suck like that.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2006 at 1:05 am
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    can you guess my gender? πŸ™‚

    – postigo luna

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  • August 13, 2006 at 7:01 am
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    my brother has the same problem. his name is Rene, which is ok in the Philippines or Latin countries, but in the US, his name is primarily a girl’s name. Noelle’s a nice name. It’s good you’re happy with it. But what if you had an unusual name like Gertrude or Ester or Ingrid? Would you still keep a name like that? πŸ˜‰

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  • August 13, 2006 at 6:26 pm
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    Adam: Hey, waiter! Hoy, pogi!

    Postigo: Sounds like a very masculine name. I hope I’m right. In case I’m not, uh… Sorry?

    Wil: I’m counting my blessings. I don’t even want to think about having those names. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but I’ve just come to terms with my own. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • August 14, 2006 at 4:56 am
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    I know! Illuminada is a good name! And who would forget Paraluman?! Oh such sweet names!

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  • August 14, 2006 at 7:18 am
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    Some people, upon seeing that I’m a guy, still insist in calling me “Danielle.” The emphasis is on the “DAN,” ok folks? πŸ™‚

    Oh and Gertrudes is my mom’s real name.

    Reply
  • August 14, 2006 at 3:45 pm
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    Steel: If you name your female children that, I will come after you with Kryptonite! >:D

    Daniel: Well, I suppose you can blame it on a misunderstanding of how “Daniel” is pronounced. Some people go the Latin route and say “Dan-YEL.”

    Reply

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