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Storytime: What’s in a Name Part 2

I mentioned in my last post that not only is the “last name that’s not actually even my last name” often pronounced incorrectly, so is my first name. It’s understandable, I suppose, that when your name is unusual and one letter different from a much more popular name, people might assume that your name is, in fact, the popular name. 

So many people do call me Brenda, but some come up with other things that apparently seem more correct than my actual name, like Breanna or, and this one I think is particularly interesting, Glenna. I had a junior high homeroom teacher who called me Breena all year as well. I’ve never met a Breena.

Just to be clear, Brenna isn’t pronounced in a particularly complicated way. It’s just Brenda without the D. BREH-na. Not at all fancy.

Generally, I use the same pattern to politely correct phone callers who say my name incorrectly. They say, “Hi, is this Brenda?” and I say, “Yes, this is Brenna,” and then they apologize and we continue our conversation. But sometimes people seem to feel like they know my name better than I do.

Please meet Jaime, a customer service person who called me regarding a service I was interested in. 

Phone rings

Me: Hello?

Jaime: Hello is this Breanna? I’m Jaime from Porch.

Me: Yes, this is Brenna.

Jaime: Great, is this a good time to talk, Breanna?

And so it went on for the entire conversation. Jaime seemed to be the sort of person that drops your name into the conversation a lot and it was wrong every time. 

Finally, we got to the part where she needed my email address in order to send me a quote. I figured that this would be the golden moment where she would figure it out. 

Me: It’s my name, so that’s Brenna Fender, B-R-E-N-N-A….

I got done spelling it all out and she repeated it back.

Here it comes, I thought.

Jaime: Okay Breanna, great, I’ll get that quote right out to you. And I’ll call you back tomorrow when you have more time so we can discuss the rest of the issues. Will 12:30 work?

Me: Yes, that’s fine. Thank you.


When 12:30 rolled around the next day, the phone rang and once again it was Jaime, and sure enough, she called me Breanna. We talked for a moment and then she wanted to put me through to Alex who would give me another quote. 

We stayed on the line together, and then when Alex answered, Jaime said, “Hi Alex. This is Breanna. Breanna, thank you for talking to me today and let me know if you need anything else.” And then she hung up.

And you know what Alex said?

Alex: Hi Breanna. Let me ask you a few questions so I can get you that quote.

So I just went ahead and laid it out there.

Me: Hi Alex. Actually, my name is BREH-NNA, not BRE-AAH-NNA. I told Jaime that several times but I finally gave up.

Alex laughed pretty hard. When he finished he said:

Alex: Okay, Brahnna, let me ask you those questions.


But Alex had an accent and I thought, okay, maybe that’s his best approximation. So we had our whole conversation and we got to the email-address-send-a-quote part. 

Me: It’s my name, so that’s Brenna Fender, B-R-E-N-N-A…

I finished it and before he said it back he said, “Oh. BREHNNA….”

And then we wrapped things up and I needed a nap.