Names are funny creatures. One altercation with a person you don’t particularly like, and that name can be tainted for a reasonable amount of time, if not forever. We take incredible stock in names, whether it be those of our pets, our friends, our future children. Some people find it annoying when their names are quite common, but I’ve never had that problem – for obvious reasons.
However, I’ve slept with four people named David. I was in a serious relationship with the first David, a strange, way-too-complicated arrangement with the second, and the last two were just guys I’d never really met before. The first David was my first serious relationship, and it’s not really an exaggeration to say that he broke my heart. Maybe I was young and naïve, but I genuinely thought we would proverbially sail off into the sunset together. The break up was probably messier than I thought it would be (it technically happened while I was overseas), and I had to take some time to figure myself out. It’s nearly been a year, and I honestly still don’t know where we stand.
When I decided I was emotionally stable enough to date again, I didn’t go out with any particular expectations. I didn’t really expect to develop feelings for anyone, let alone someone with the same name as my ex-boyfriend, but these things happen. There was a strong splash of déjà vu – for me, at least – in the following events. Funnily enough, I don’t really know where we stand at the moment either.
Come to think of it, there were many similarities between these first two Davids. They both came from semi-dysfunctional families, had an inordinate love for cats who were aging and didn’t necessarily love them back, and had a stubbornness about them that was, at times, annoying and endearing all at the same time. There were many differences too – their ages, for one – as well as their choice of career, and a few of their hobbies. The sex was better with one than the other, but it’d be a little cruel to draw a line between the two in a public space. I don’t know if I had a couple of logical fallacies swirling around in my head at the time, but I tended to focus on the similarities more so than the differences.
Everyone brings some emotional baggage to a new relationship, whether they want to or not. I don’t know if the amount of baggage was exacerbated in the situation with the second David because my experiences with my ex-boyfriend. I can definitely say there were certainly flashes of time in which I was a little bit spooked by the fact that my previous and current paramours had the same name. There were also times where I felt strange and even uncomfortable saying the name itself.
I didn’t have a particularly strong emotional connection with the third or fourth David, but there was an overwhelming thought of “oh no, you did it again”, when the sound of the name reached my ears. There’s a small, irrational part of me that thinks I might have some strange knack for attracting people named David, but that’s obviously not plausible. There’s also another part of me that is scared I might throw away an opportunity with another David because of the preconceived notions I have around this very simple, two syllabled name.
I probably have to come to terms with the fact that I’m almost certainly going to meet more people called David. Some of them may be great guys, and others probably not so much. In fact, the television quiz show I’m currently watching (Would I Lie To You, for those that are interested) has two British comedians on it that are both named David. One of them is David Mitchell, who is fast becoming one of my favourite comics – but that name also belongs to a fantastically imaginative writer, author of novels such as Cloud Atlas and Slade House. For someone who’s lucky to have another person say her name correctly the first time they meet, that genuinely threw me for a loop.
In any case, names matter – they’re important – far more important than we give them credit for. Our parents give us names for particular reasons (usually), and we also grow attached to them as we grow older. The trouble with Davids is – for me, for now – I’ve been with too many of them to form an unbiased opinion. I don’t yet know if that’s a positive or a negative, but give me another ten or fifteen years and I might be able to come back with an answer. The trouble with Davids is – I think I will always have trouble with a man named David.
This piece was first published in the print version of Semper Floreat, volume 1, 2016.