A Case of Mistaken Identity

For some reason, the guy thought my name was Rose.

Mike and I attended the same college and he was the friend of a friend. Maybe he heard my name correctly the first time and forgot. Maybe he just heard wrong. Maybe he guessed.

But I didn’t correct Mike the first time he called me Rose. I smiled and said, “Yes?”

I kept it going remarkably for two years.

There was nothing romantic between us. We met randomly on campus and at parties. He became a friend’s roommate.

I was always Rose to him.

To everyone else I was Joan, a name I don’t particularly like but have grown to accept. (I’ve written about this before.) I am certain my mother was inspired by some movie star from her youth. I do feel some gratification there have been other famous Joans who are cool like Joan Baez. 

Did I think Rose would laugh more and be less critical than Joan? Would she be smarter and maybe prettier? Nah. I just found it amusing that someone believed I had a different name.

Then there’s that quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.”

But, alas, I was found out.

I happened to be standing with friends in the lobby of the college’s auditorium when Mike called, “Hey, Rose.” The friend of a friend turned around. “That’s not her name,” he said. “It’s Joan.” Of course, her name is Rose, his friend argued. 

It was time to fess up. 

Mike was dumbstruck when I confessed. After all, this charade went on for a while. Why didn’t I tell him my real name? The answer was easy. I liked it.

Postscript: We remained friends after that but he called me Joan instead. And, yes, that’s me above when I was Rose.