Jem Beedoo
Jem Beedoo is an Auckland writer

Jem Beedoo: A man by any other name may smell as sweet, or he may just smell


Grant is a managerial name. There's something about the way it rolls off the tongue. It smacks of grunt, grind and gratification. Grant will cajole you, push you and, finally, reward you. He is a softie at heart. But he doesn't for a second muck around; he gets results.

Elliott is a very musical, flowing, floaty name, like a piano figure being tinkled right before your very ears. It's not what I'd call manly, or reliable, for that matter, but it's ocean-deep in its dreaminess. Plus, you can spell the blessed thing in about 4 or 6 ways. The possibilities are endless.

John is the name of absolute neutrality. John! Think of all the Johns you know and I'm sure you'll immediately realise what a divergent lot they are. The name gives away nothing because there are so darn many of them. John! It's formal but casual, assuming but unassuming, rough but tender. There's John Lennon and then there's John Key. These gentlemen, speaking frankly, have nothing in common. How does this work?

Gus is a dancing, in-your-face, rare name. For goodness' sake, it just plunges and hurtles in an intense yet non-violent way. A Gus will give you the hair off his back when he hands you his shirt. Gus!

Paul is a no-nonsense name, but it's also tricky. Because it hangs around the tongue when pronounced, presumptuously, like a Paul McCartney song, for instance; it just doesn't have the decency to screw off.

PAAAAUUUULLLLLLLLL. It's holy yet annoying - jolly annoying. McCartney wrote happily holy tunes, like You Won't See Me, and married them to self-pitying, pathetic lyrics. The result is akin to meeting a cheerful jerk at a party. Paul is paradoxical.

Ian is a fabulous name. How on earth can three plain letters convey so much? The name sings, rings and flings. It's goofy yet incredibly funny, adventurous yet conservative. It sounds like a well-set-up tent; it waves in the wind and stays resolute simultaneously. The only way to top its monstrous magnificence would be by calling a cat Ian. That'd be the ultimate.

Brian is a marshmallow name. He may be spaced out a great deal of the time but you know he'll give you a big bear hug at the end of the day, and probably set you up for life. Brian! It has the all-encompassing qualities of a rainbow. Nothing can be sneaked by it. It yawns lovingly all over the landscape. BRRRRIIIIIAAAANNNN.

And, finally, George is a lovable name to the end. One can feel the sting of the aching antiquity in it, yet it nourishes with its naive sense of newness. You'll always forgive a man with this name, even if he does nick your girlfriend. G-E-O-R-G-E.

- NZ Herald

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