The Name Game

Naming your child is like a game of Craps…you roll the dice and pray that your kid doesn’t put you in assisted living because of it.

I’m sure when my parents named me, they thought they’d found a nice, normal name.  How were they supposed to know that Prince Rogers Nelson was looking thru the Big Book of Baby Names trying to find a nice title for his ode to masturbation???  Prince was probably perusing through the book saying, “Darling Annie?  Nope…she has a musical named after her and was rescued by rich folks.  I need something more street…Darling Shantae?  Nope, too ethnic, there needs to be a name that all races can identify with.  Oh, here we go…Nikki.”

Yeah, it was great growing up with my own theme song.  Growing up is hard enough without having your own parental advisory soundtrack.

Kids will claim to know about everything…they are just big perpetrators.  Kind of like Sarah Palin.  Have you ever tried to tell a kid something only to hear, “I KNOW!  GOD!  I’M NOT A BABY!”?  But they don’t know and come off looking like a complete idiot.  I was one of those idiots…absolutely refusing to ask the meaning of something because I thought that it would weaken my “cool” rep (which, let’s be honest…I had no rep) at school.

When I was in 3rd grade, a boy came up to me on the playground and said “Darling Nikki, do you masturbate to magazines?”  My response?  “Yeah, all the time!”  No way was I going to act like I didn’t know what the word “masturbate” meant. I had a rep to protect.  I’d figure that out when I got home.

After school, I went home and asked my Dad “What does masturbate mean?”  His response?  He just walked away from me.  Like I was a crazy homeless person who had offended his delicate sensibilities.  My Dad doesn’t respond well to those types of questions.

For example, one day, my Mom gave me a book titled, “So, You Got Your Period?”  I guess it was a self-help book to young girls who suddenly find themselves bleeding and can’t find a big enough band-aid for their vagina.  And, really?  A book, Mom?  We couldn’t have just had “the talk”?  I have one of those mothers who thinks books provide the answers to everything.  If I have an issue, she will find a book about it on Amazon and send it to me with a note that says, “I think you will find this helpful.”  Ten-year old Nikki was mortified by “So, You Got Your Period?”  There were pictures of a woman’s uterus and chapters on the wonders of menstruating and exploring the exciting changes in your body.  Seriously.  My Mom told me to read it then we would discuss.  Like it’s book club.  Anyway, my brother saw the book and at the dinner table (where all the crazy happens) he looks at my Dad and asks, “What’s a period?”  I knew that question was a non-starter based on the look of incredulity on my father’s face.  He responds “A dot at the end of a sentence.  Now eat your peas.”  Then he gets up from the table and walks away.

Anyway, I was determined to find out what masturbate meant.  My rep was everything!  So, I followed my Dad around and pestered him until I got a response.  And, finally, he told me that masturbate meant coloring in a book.  He should know me better than that.  I grew up with a mother that made us use new words in a sentence all the time!  I spent the next couple of months thinking masturbation was a cool new way to color.  At a family reunion, I walked up to my aunt and said, “Hey, I just masturbated all over this coloring book.  Do you like it?”  My Dad happened to be standing next to me…he walked away.  Once my Mom explained what the word meant (she probably gave me a book titled, “So, You Want to Know About Masturbation?”), I was mortified.  And pissed that I had gotten caught slipping at school.

Darling Nikki was a turning point in my life.  That song put me on the map at Richards Elementary and introduced me to the greatest artist…Prince.  I had to go to my friend’s house to listen to him because my parents refused to buy his “nastiness” (to quote my Dad).  I had no idea what he was singing about or the fact that most of the songs were sexually explicit.  He just seemed really cool with the lace & ruffled blouses he’d wear while riding a motorcycle.  Prince was my boo (well, my boo on the side because I still considered myself Mrs. Michael Jackson).  I wanted my parents to take me to a Prince concert so bad.  For some reason, my father felt it was inappropriate to take a 9-year-old to see a man gyrate around stage wearing buttless pants.

So, my parents compromised and took me to a New Edition concert instead.  Bet they rethought that after watching Being Bobby Brown.  Butless pants don’t seem so bad next to a crackhead.

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