Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Naming of Cats


...is a difficult matter, according to T. S. Eliot.*

My four have their names that the family use daily.

Jess, Charlie, Willow and Minnie.

But Eliot suggests that in addition
...a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Queen Jessamine, Sir Charlie Bubble, Miss Pillsy Werner, and Mme. Minna de Beau-Beau.
Names that never belong to more than one cat.

No laughing, please. And don't even try to tell me you don't have similar names for your pets, especially cats, because I won't believe you.



All of which is by way of introduction to the subject of names. 

My amusement - and your comments - about the chap who recognised me but called me Clarice has got me thinking about names. More specifically, my name. 


Apparently my parents had some difficulty choosing a name for me, and I was Baby right up to the wire, the six week limit at which they had to register my birth.


As you can see from this rather historical-looking document, I was registered as Curtis. No "e".

Now we all know this is a boy's name. Not one of those Francis/Frances, Leslie/Lesley names, not a name like Bailey or Stevie or Ellis which are interchangeable between the sexes (unisex, we would have said in the 1960s and 70s). And it wasn't the norm to give children names which were clearly intended for the other sex in the mid-1960s, at least not in small town rural Buckinghamshire.

It was chosen for me because it was a family surname (my paternal grandmother's maiden name - she was Esther Curtis) and my father's middle name. If my parents had been waiting for a son to whom they could give the name, it was clear by the time I came along, a third daughter and something of an unexpected blessing at that, that it wasn't going to happen.

So there was a name without a child.

And this child became Curtis. 
 

How I hated it

 How I wanted to be a Clare, Susan, Jane, Sarah. 
A Caroline, Lucy, Jenny or Nicola. 

Pretty, feminine names, like those of my friends, intended and appropriate for girls.
Names you could announce without anyone saying what? Without needing to repeat it, or listen to comments about how odd and unusual a name it is. Names no one ever gets wrong.

The final straw came when I passed the 11-plus exam and the letter from the Education authority informed my parents that there is a place at the grammar school for your son. 

I was mortified, so my mother suggested we add an extra "e" to the end of my name, in a vain attempt to feminise it. It would be pronounced the same, although there continues to be considerable confusion about this (I am Curt-iss, not Curt-ees).



1970s handmade maxi dress - competition prize from local vintage shop
Cardigan, sunglasses and bangles - charity shopped
1960s vinyl bag and sandals - Ebay
Name - gift from my parents


So here I am - 50 years later, and people are still getting my name wrong.

Clarice is just the latest in a long line of mistaken identities; I've been Christine, Kirsty, Kirsten, Kristen and Krista/Cristi. 
I'm often Curteece or Curteeze.

It took until my twenties to feel OK about having such an unusual, seemingly unpronounceable name. These days, I laugh at the mistakes and questions, and have no problem when people ask where the name came from or comment on its uniqueness.

Now, I couldn't imagine being called anything else. 


But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is a name that you never will guess; 
The name no human research can discover - 
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

 Eliot informs us that cats have a third name, unknowable to humans - their deep and inscrutable singular Name.

How funny, it turns out that my deep and inscrutable singular name is actually Curtise.
So it seems my parents got it right after all!

What about you?

* You can listen to the old curmudgeon T.S. Eliot reading "The Naming of Cats" from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats here.
xxx


59 comments:

Patti said...

Wonderful post, Clarise! Curtise! I really do love your name, it sounds like a woman with her own mind, apart from the crowd. It sounds ageless and poetic too. Speaking of which, I adore the Eliot you've quoted. We often whisper our cats second names to them, like:"You are Misha, stainer of Persian carpets."

You look gorgeous in your garden, accompanied by the Masters. xox

Ripple Dandelion said...

Names are the most reliably fascinating of all subjects. And what an interesting history yours has. Curtis is a much-used name in my father's family (although, as you would expect, only for the fellows). I am pleased to know how to correctly pronounce your name, if only in the privacy of my own thoughts.

I have the most sickening array of baby-talk names for my dog, the otherwise dignified-sounding Heike. But she doesn't have the soulfulness necessary for your cats' elaborate monikers. They are all most lovely animals.

Nearly all of my grandparents had what I used to think of as such antique names: Jewell (paternal grandfather), Martha Fern (paternal grandmother), Irene (maternal grandmother) and Jim (maternal grandfather--the boring one of the lot). Now I love those names and wish I had a way to use them in daily life. Maybe I need four cats!

Jazzy Jack said...

I didn't know Curtis was a boy's name. Living under a rock obviously! We have a ginger Manx cat called Smart-Blue. Each of the kids chose part of his name. He was Ralph when we adopted him at 9months, but we soon gave that away. He is Smabs for everyday:-)
I know what you mean when you say the silver dress looks grey. It doesn't seem as much YOU as your usual colourful ones.
I love that photo with the dewdrops all around the leaf. That could be a BeautyScope for sure!
Xo JJ

Laurie Duncan said...

I'm glad you addressed this, as I've been pronouncing your name wrong all this time. It doesn't really matter what any one else thinks as long as you are happy with your name. I've always loved being a Laurie because it went with my maiden name, DesLauriers. My girl doesn't like her name, Sabrina, so she gives herself different names on the internet. I hope someday she will grow to love it. Oh, and I sometimes call my cat, Smoke Squeekers Duncan!:)

Vix said...

You're the only Curtise I've ever met and I think its a fabulous name after all, you are one of a kind. Lots of my friends call you Cur-tease and I'm forever having to correct them.
Love how it was a family name but they lack of an "E" must have been terribly confusing.
Love the lilac frock on you, wonder if there's something in the air as we've both worn that colour this week? Its not my usually choice but I'm loving it.
Cats need special names, they're complex creatures and need something to suit their special moods. How could I have forgotten The Naming of Cats? I've had that book since childhood.
Love you, Cur-tizzzzzz xxxxxx

Joni James said...

A great post Clarice! ;)
I think your unique name has probably aided you in your ability to develop your wit and your outlook on life in some ways. I hated my name as a kid, especially when my bangs were too short. Those two things just took me over the top and had me in the bathrooms crying in elementary school. These "different" names do feel like curses in our young years. I think they develop early feelings of feeling separate, different, apart from the rest a bit. But little did we know they have something to celebrate later in life. And, it keeps people hanging around a bit longer while we introduce ourselves and listen to them fumble over pronunciation.

I hated being Johnny for every single substitute teacher I ever had! My sister even thought I was a boy for the first 3 years of my life.

Sheila said...

Ah! So happy to find out how to really pronounce your name! What a cool history. I've always liked having a name that everyone knows but few actually have (arg, but no one ever spells it right!).

Fran said...

Your posts are jewels...always interesting. Such imagination. I have a cousin named Curtis and I confess I have been pronouncing your name as Cur-tees (accent on the tees. Thanks for the story and correction.

mondoagogo said...

Names are funny, I was thinking only the other day how a lot of those unisex names like Lindsay or Kim aren't given to boys anymore... Your story reminds me of the girl in a Judy Blume book I read as a kid, she was called Davey which was short for Davis which was (I think) her mother's maiden name.

I didn't like my name when I was a kid, I don't know why. It took me a long time to feel like I'd grown into it. Didn't help that everyone thought my surname was weird or funny (as in funny haha)... I think a lot of people have a hard time with their name, I've known quite a few who completely changed theirs when they could. But I like mine now!

diaryofapennypincher said...

I always have trouble naming my chickens. Sometimes a name just appears from nowhere and sticks, which is great when it does! Thanks for the clarification on the pronunciation of your name, like every other commenter I think, I've pronounced it incorrectly in my head. I think your name suits you, it is unique and intriguing, and your outfit is lovely!

Ivy Black said...

Yup...I've never met another Curtise and I think it rocks. I love that it's a family surname. Both my boys have family surnames as first names. I was named Emma because as mum was reading 'Emma' during the end of her pregnancy. She'd been on 'Wuthering Heights' before and I was due to be Kate! You can imagine how much the only Emma in school where everyone was Sharon, Debbie, Tracy or Jackie wanted to be Kate. Still, I like Emma now. As for the naming of the cat, the Right Honourable Lady Ivy Black was so named because she is both imperious and sinister. In no way was she named after Ivy Tilsley.
See you later Curtizzz.
xxxxxx

Elizabeth Yule said...

I'm another one who has been mispronouncing your name (in my head, anyway!) so I'm pleased to know now how it is really pronounced.

My Mother has an unusual name, Erna, and has been plagued all her life by being called the wrong name - Ena, Edna, Irma, etc. As a result she gave my sister and I sensible 'Biblical' names - mine being Elizabeth - which I loathed with a passion as a child. I too wanted to be called something pretty and feminine like Lucy, Claire or Louise. These days I love being an Elizabeth (or Liz), there are always a few of us around but never too many that it becomes an 'everyday' sort of name.

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

OH, what a great post Curtise! Sometimes, when I have to leave my name, perhaps at a restaurant or for the Starbucks barista, I use a different name...something girly with at least three syllables...sometimes The Bard is my muse, Titiana, Adriana etc. It's funny, because I do have the choice not to call myself Sue. I could be Susan, or Susanna...but Sue just seems to fit, just as Curtise fits you! My Mom hated her name, and was determined her children have 'normal' names...hence five girls named Susan when I was registered for grade one. My brother James escaped that confusion...Fine English names, yes?

And, T. S. Elliott and CATS! Love him. Love the play. I must begin to take my cat naming more seriously!

My fuchsia plants are doing so very well this summer! Loving your colourful palette today!

Hippy At Heart said...

What an amazing post! Actually, I love your name, it is so unique and I always thought it is to cool to be real and must be a pseudo.

Naming cats is tough! My cat is called Hendrix, a name that everyone makes smile immediately - especially, when people spot us together ;) xx

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

It is funny since I never even realized that Curtise was supposed to be a guy's name. It just seemed to suit you so well.

The cat names are hilarious. I had no idea they came with such distinction.

I'm a bit fussy about my name. I don't like it when people call me Sue or Susan or heaven forbid, Susie.

My Mom refused to be called by her real name, Mary. She goes by Lucille. Lu really. Maybe I got the name snobbism from her.

bisous
Suzanne

Mrs Bertimus said...

I can't believe that I'm actually telling you this but my parents were hippies and called me Letitia.
In the Seventies I longed to be a Marie, I like my name now but this has taken many years after THE INCIDENT.
I was in a poetry speaking competition and as I waited nervously for my turn the examiner called for Le- tit-ia!.
I refused to stand up and my mother was furious.
I can still hear her calling me and it sends a shudder down my spine.
X

Kasia Poni said...

super post....You look great and super are all pictures

Natalia Lialina said...

Names is one of the most favorite subject of mine since childhood! I thoroughly enjoyed your post, it's great and thank you for it. Somehow I got your name right in my head from the first time (mind you I tell Justin about all of you, my virtual friends, and he knows most of you by name :). I was pleased to know that I pronounce your name right (intuition) - only with a Russian accent. Specking of Russian, would you like to see how your name would look in my language? I bet you would. :) Here it is - Кёртис. I think your name is perfect for you - unique, strong, bold character, which are traditionally considered masculine qualities.

There are always mix-up with names in history. In Russia, people interpreted traditionally masculine saints Roman (if I'm not mistaken) names Inna and Rimma as feminine. There are no boys named Inna and Rimma in Russia - only girls.

I love my name, though it was not unique at the time I was in school. We just recently talked about it with Mom. She was inspired by Andrey Bolkonsky and Natasha Rostova - and they named us maybe not exactly after them, but definitely inspired by these characters.

My name gets mixed-up all the time here in America - it's funny, nothing more than that. We all have somewhat unique last names in my family (all three of us have different last names) and laugh about the ways people get it wrong quite regularly.

I only learned the way Englishmen (and Americans) name their cats Mr Ms or even Sir when I already lived here. In Russia, we love to come up with dozens of nick names - it's in the flexibility of my native language. Your name is one of those which doesn't give many options for that, but I'm sure I'd come up with some if I was near you - Justin sure has his "Russianized" name. :)

Anyway, I can go on and on about it. Someone please stop me. It will me me I guess. :))

Love you in purple! And your photos of cats are awesome! xxxx

Kelly Roy said...

Great post Curtise!Chec this out, I aways thought it was a normal name just because I'm not British. So abroad your name qualifies as normal.

Mother of Reinvention said...

Your name is lovely. It is nice to have something unique,even if it didn't feel great for a while. I used to hate mine. I always got told it was a boy's name or got ribbed for it at school. Now I don't really care. As for naming cats, we had a siamese called Mr Pye, never just Pye, which was short from Pyewacket as he had spooky lilac eyes. Cats definitely need several names, maybe even one for each of their lives. Xxxx

beate grigutsch said...

what a wonderful writing!
have to admit i was thinking of you as "curtees". but now i know it right and i think that curtise with a short i is just cool. artsy. emancipated. someone who wears purple rose dresses like other girls a rocker outfit....
used to hate my name too - but with age i made my peace with.
xxxxxx

Miss Magpie said...

You know what I could have written this post!
My parents were convinced I was a boy, they had the name Duncan picked out, they foolishly hadn't even discussed girls names. As legend goes they argued for the whole 6 weeks over what to call me and then Dad just came in one day and went "By the way I've registered her as" He'd seen the name in the paper an liked it.

I HATED it as a child, no one could pronounce it right and when you are a forces brat moving schools all the time plus you are shy anyway, it is agonising to stand at the front of the class whilst the teacher struggles and the class sniggers. I got so jaded when one decided to call me Griselda I didn't even bother to correct her.
I accept it grudgingly these days.

Shawna McComber said...

What a delightful post, Curtis! I wonder if most of us don't dislike our name at some point in life. I didn't like mine either, and wanted to be Desiree after I heard the Neil Diamond song. It sounded exotic. Then I decided on Janice because it sounded wild and free and I associated it with horses. My mum thought I was bonkers. I hated my name because it was a feminine form, I hated it because it could never be found on pencils or name plates or any such treasures, and because people always assumed it was spelled with a U and not a W. My parents had originally planned on Seanna as the spelling but thought I would get called See-Anna. I thought See-Anna sounded better anyway.

I am not sure when I finally came to like my name but it surely had something to do with getting older and growing into it, finally deciding that I am used to it and it's just me. I am grateful not to have been one of many Jennifers, Lisas or Michelles that abounded in my generation.

Final note: Gorgeous dress and LOVE those colours on you as always.
xoxo

Meg said...

Too be honest I am mortified to be named Margaret after Princess Margaret in the 50's(especially being Australian) and my sister was then named Anne after Princess Anne
No wonder I only answer to Meg!
My chickens are Dame Nellie Melba,Miss Henny Penny, Audrey Henburn, and just plain Gertie.
My male Russian blue cat is Sascha which is a Russian nickname for Alexander

Goody said...

Well you know how I feel about my name ;)

Both my parents had oddball names, our surname is often mistaken for a Christian name (and mis-spelled)and then I married a man whose Christian name is a popular surname in the US. Madness. By the time I had a child I resolved to give him the most ordinary name I could find. He'd better appreciate it!

Mr. ETB had a cat named, "Piss Mop" and his Granny used to stand there calling, "Piss Mop, Piss Mop, come get your dinner..."

It would be a long way to go just to steal a dress, but I might-that is a beauty...and so are you.

Trudie said...

Unique by name, unique by nature. I loved this post. My Cohen has his name as it's my maiden name. My husbands real name is actually Bengt not Ben. Pronounced like you went to bank to banked some money.....Bengt (banked). Our dear cat who has passed was called Howard, everyone thought it was odd to call a cat Howard insisting it was a ducks name. I say you can be whatever you desire to be whether you're a human or cat.

Looking as beautiful as ever.

Forest City Fashionista said...

Ah, the Name Game! You are the only Curtise I know, and initially I thought you were a "Curteese" but quickly learned the correct pronunciation. I did not like my name at all when I was a kid because it rhymed with words like "smelly", "belly", "jelly" etc. which the other kids would use to tease me.

I've always liked that T.S. Eliot poem. I don't think it applies to the naming of any other pets aside from cats. Poor Fred didn't have a dignified second name, only the embarrassing "bun", which I used more often than her proper name.

Beth Waltz said...

I've loathed my name ever since I read Little Women and despised the brainless wispy wuss my mum liked to snivel over when she read the book as a child. The idiot killed her canary -- a good reason for Louisa to bump her off!

One won't catch me starving a bird, much less the cats. They are, in order of seniority, Mme. Mephi Wu, an elderly tuxedo; Miss Mindy Melrose, a small gray puff; Peek Abu Peep, a white long-hair who recently racked up a huge vet bill running headlong into a snow shovel whilst pursuing a mouse; and Simon B. McBogle, a scion of a notorious local feral colony. (B is for Bacon)

Yes, of course, they have secret names. These are extremely silly and shall remain unsaid outside the family circle.

Connie said...

The naming of cats has always been one of my favorites. I won't give you the long boring history of the pets' names around here (although Sparkle Headband was my favorite) but I love your name! Your parents did you an enormous favor by slapping that moniker upon you. The One and Only, the Spectacular Curtise!!!

Connie said...

Oh yeah and your dress. So very beautiful. One of your best ever!!

Val S said...

What a fun post, as are the comments! I see you also got a feminized male name for your middle name. There was a girl in one of my schools called Michael Ann, which sounds really pretty, I think. And Curtis(e) is also nice, no matter who the name is for. It does suit you - unique and strong! I've always liked my name because it was known, but not too common. And I can use Valerie or Val. And I was named for my grandfather Valdemar.

As for cats, I don't have a pet now, but my last cat went from Belle to Bella to Bella Boo to Bella Boom Boom. I don't know what she called herself - probably Madame Prissbitch von Feisty.

That lovely purpley color looks fantastic with your hair!

Olga Rani said...

What an interesting story, Curtise! As English is my second language, your name didn't sound odd to me. I just thought it was a rare name.
Beautiful dress, I love this shade of purple.

Winter Moon said...

I've always thought you had a wonderfully unique name, and whether you choose to call yourself Curtise or Curtis, either is uber cool.

I can imagine what you went through though and how annoying it must have been.

I love all your cat's names.

The things we call ours are Nali Mali (Nala) Cobby Wob Lob (Cobweb). I'm sure they hate us for it mind you :) xx

Krista Gassib said...

Curtise, it used to sound weird to me to call you that but your just Curtise now and I kinda love the name, funny too that the stereotype has been smashed for me, it's a girls name, through and through! Being Krista I get the usual mistakes I used to get annoyed now I really don't care. I have an awful way of mispronouncing words all the time, so I know how easy this can happen.

This dress is just beautiful, one last summer hurrah! You have a nice variety of cats and cat names. I named both mine after characters, ash from evil dead and Zoe from a video game, such imagination this one, I'm digging yours!
LoveyouCurtise!
Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Bobbi said...

I have a boy name, too, and spent a good deal of time angry at my parents about it. I still don't like it but am used to it after all these years.
I love the names you've given your cats!
The lavender is lovely on you.

Rose&Bird said...

Even having met you, I've been saying your name wrong all this time! Thanks for correcting me. Either way, it's a lovely and unusual name. As a child, I didn't like my full name, and even now it makes me oddly uncomfortable. Even my mum calls me Liz these days.

I'll be honest, Donna is know most commonly as 'Madam'(because she is one), but also 'the cat' and 'Her Ladyship' - I'm sure her secret name is far more refined!

Asparagus Pea said...

Okay - saying it right in my head now! I am also blessed with a name that people have a hard time with. I blame my father - it was his turn to choose when i was born. My brother is called John! I get called Denise, Beatrice or quite often 'ooh look - there's a man doing the garden'. Bernice xxx

peaches mcginty said...

Oh, names! I thought you were Curt-ees at first, it was Jean (Dross into Gold) who first alerted me to the correct pronunciation of your name in one of her posts, I like your name a lot - I was meant to be Tania, then Julie and ended up with Sandra after my Auntie, when I worked in a supermarket I used to have lot's of name badges, I favoured Aretha, my Mum's name is Mary but has always been known as Rosie, confusing much? your cats have wonderful names, both sets! they are gorgeous felines! and I LOVE your floral maxi! x x x

freckleface said...

Fascinating! And that explains the pronunciation of your name. I had no idea there was so much history. You are of course the only Curtise I have ever met and am ever likely to, which just confirms your uniqueness. I work with a Delphis and an Oksana. Beautiful and unusual names. Mine is always misspelt, but I rarely bother to correct. In fact it used to annoy me more when people got my business name wrong (freckleface, all lower case, all one word, must have said that a thousand times). You look lovely in purple Curtis with an e! Xxxxxxxx

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

I love the story behind your name. I hated being one of three Janes in my class at school. It was why I chose Briony for my daughter and so far she has always been the only one in her class.

Kezzie said...

Super post and I enjoyed all the comments above!
I too fell into the trap of thinking you were Curteesss! I like Curtis, it's a nice name (and the name of my nicest boss in my first proper fulltime job!)
I think unusual names are much better when you are a grownup. I HATED being a Kerenza when I grew up, I thought it was awful, people always got it wrong, no one else had it and worse, I had a double-barrelled surname and TWO middle names! My Mum was MEAN!
Now, as a musician, I love my name as people always remember me. AND I've subsequently met about 9 other Kerenzas (some with an s or a Ca instead!)
I wanted to be Emma, Lucy, Sophie Oh and then Kneesaa (after the ewok!)
My cat Sophie had ALL manner of affectionate names- Sophie-pops, Soapy-fops, Peachy-puss, Peachy, The Tart, Sophiekins, Purry-furry.

Oh and thanks for your vintage maxi dress help!x

ArgentGal said...

I love a name with a story behind it. Thanks for sharing yours!

Angels have Red Hair said...

I think it's fabulous to have a name with such a great story.
I was named after my paternal grandmother, who was Johanna … but my parents thought that was too old fashioned so gave me the more "modern" version Joanna … part of me really wishes I had that H … so maybe I should add a letter too.
I must put my hand up and admit that I've been calling you Curt - eeese … but now I know … and I promise to never do it again :0)
xx

Sue said...

Well Tex really is Texas Whanga Boy as he came from Whangamata. He was originally called Max but having a son with the same name it seemed so much easier to rename said cat. I had to spell my name all the time as I am a Suzanne not a Susan as most peeps would call me. Then the maiden name was Peirson which also required spelling as it broke the 'i' before 'e' rules. Oh then there was the street we lived in, Westney Place. And now I am a Clarke, but a clarke with an 'E'.

Lesley Extance said...

I love your lovely name and it is you because I find you fabulous and you come across as lovely !.
great outfit fell in love with your bag, gorgeous cats! ,have a great weekend Curtise xxx

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Wow. You're Curtiss not Curtees. I wish you'd said earlier because having to re-learn someones name is very hard! No matter, you've a very cool name.
We have the most ridiculous names for our cats. And a new hamster called Gardania. Hmm. Not MY idea. Still, she'll never live through going to school with an odd name that no one can pronounce or spell, like me, so I guess it's ok. xxxx

Elizabeth Rebecca said...

I love your cats - I feel pets always end up with the weird names. We named our dog Jassie because Jessie was "too much of a girl's name" according to my Dad.

Lizzie's Daily Blog

Melanie said...

I love your name, even more after I found out it was pronounced "Curtis". I never liked my name; it's breathless and airy, like a flat tire. I like it now, maybe because I'm more at peace with who I am. Your cats are royal and naturally have names to match. I love that patterned grape maxi and cardi with your red hair!

bonsaimum said...

I think your name is fantastic. Wish my parents had more imagination when it came to naming me.

PinkCheetahVintage said...

My name is lame. Also, I was totally saying your name wrong. Over here in the US everyone has a weird name now. Hopefully my kids don't hate me for their names lol.

Kylie said...

I love your name. I think it's beautiful like you. I cannot imagine you with a (boring) name like Jane, Jenny or Clare. I hate my name. Hate it! It means boomerang. Who in their right mind would name their child after a boomerang I ask you?! My Mum and Dad. Obviously! (my middle name is Elizabeth, go figure?!)
I knew Curtis was the right way to pronounce Curtise too - spell check underline thing pops up for Curtise btw ;) Anthony said it should be said Curt-ees (yes we've discussed it - and only recently too...) so I was right and he was wrong. Ha-ha!
p.s. and yes our dog has heaps of alibis

Kylie said...

p.p.s I have a good friend called Hepsibah! We all call her Hepsi which I love.

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Lily is AKA Lulu Lopsy Loo-La, Lily-Loo-La and Lumpy Lopsy. It's all madness this name business. Turns out my Dad couldn't even pronounce my name! How's that then? He called me Peaches, Chicky-Bid, Chicken, but even hated introducing me to strangers as it meant he had to try and get his mouth around my name, which my mother claims to have invented and hates it when people use the correct French pronunciation. So being the mature adult I am, I tell people my Mum gave me a stripper name. As a kid I wanted to be called Angela. It was better than the hideous, ignorant pronunciations I copped for. I love your name ... it's you. How could anyone forget you? I think people call you by the wrong name (I get Denise, Dierdre and Desley ... all of which I HATE) because they're just fucking lazy. xoxoxoxoxooxoxox

Fiona said...

Your name is just like you, distinctive, individual and unique and I can't imagine you with a run of the mill type of name. I was the only Fiona all through my schooling which I liked and all the Karens, Julies and Susans thought it was posh. (which I have to admit I also rather liked) My surname...now that is another matter!
Have just returned from Portugal where I overheard an English blimp-like woman in the pool discussing surnames with her SIL. Mine was pronounced 'very unfortunate' which made us giggle for the rest of the holiday.
xxxx

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Darling Curtise,

You are unique in both name and nature....the only one we know and how perfect is that. We think it to be a pretty name and so much better to stand out from the crowd than to be lost in a sea of Sharons.

And, as for cats, yes, they certainly do deserve 'ancestral, names in addition to their more familiar family names. Rather like dogs with pedigrees, it is good to raise the status of these fanciful felines. We called ours Pussy and Cat.......!

Helga said...

O, fark, that HANDBAG!!!
Hahaha, I always give fancy names ot our cats. Currently we have Miss Peepee HootyOwl (Peeps or Peepers, sometimes Miss Pee or Shitface), previously we had Sir Reginald Humphrey Catchpole (Humpers), Baron Boris von Tiddlehoffen (The Gay Goblin, Mr Tiddles) and Madame Esmerelda (Lounge Shark).
Odd how people so easily mess up names! As Annette, I have been called Anita or Antoinette more times than I can count. And I ALWAYS have to spell it. And it's not even an unusual name!
I love seeing pix of your pookies, and I love that frock! XXX

Jan Graham-McMillen said...

Oh crap. I have been pronouncing it all wrong ... apologies from me. But I like it better as Cur-tiss, so it's good to know.
My mother's side of the family named their daughters after their fathers ... I was almost Haroldene. (Yikes.) My mother was just venting her spleen at having to grow up as Otis Jinks ( I do not make that up.) Glad my dad convinced her otherwise.
Our poor kitties only have one name each, sad to say. Other than when they are prefixed by Damnit. An old cat family tradition I believe.

CityScape Skybaby said...

I'd often wondered where your unusual name originated from Curtise, so it's good to finally find out, and I have been pronouncing it Curteez in my head, I'll have to work on erasing that now. I never liked my name either, Joan just seemed so plain and boring, but it's a name that's featured in songs by song writers I love, thanks to Joan of Arc references, (thank you Leonard Cohen and Morrissey), which helped me love it a bit more. Our cat is Sasha and her extra names aren't very classy I'm afraid , Sasha Basha and Sasha the Scratcher, she deserves better. xx

Trees said...

I think lots of people give their cats fancy names - they are pretty fancy animals. I always thought you had an interesting name, now I know the history behind it - its even more interesting ;) Also I have a fairly uncommon but standard name - that my parents chose to take the silent "h" out of (sensibly I think - why have a silent letter) and my whole life I have been battling with a less common spelling of a fairly common name! Although I get called Trees most of the time and some people even take the liberty of calling me other shortened versions of Teresa (like Tess) without asking - the check of it all! I love you maxi too - BEAUTIFUL!