Jenny, Jennie, Jenni, and Jen

Being given a common name is a vicious cycle. My dad’s name is Darwin, but he goes by Jim because his middle name is James. He then went on to name his children, Catherine, David, and Jennifer. I named my son Bennett because it seemed unique at the time, only to find out I’d failed miserably, there was another one in his first daycare, along with an Emmett…which is close enough.

In school, I wasn’t a fan of there being so many of us in the same class.


We’re everywhere. We dominate in my age-range, sixth grade was the year it started bothering me though. I started out as a Jenny, but then I met Jenny and went to Jennie for a very short time. There was already a girl named Jennie Wagner and not only did I not want to share, I especially didn’t want to share with her. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but it was sixth grade and I thought she was prettier than me so, in true girl-fashion, there was a distaste for her. That’s how I became a Jenni.

My maiden name allowed my initials to be JLo… like the Jlo. That was one of the few reasons I felt a little sad changing my name. It wasn’t serious enough to hyphenate…but I do miss telling people not to be fooled by the rocks that I got, cause I’m still Jenni from the block.


As I got older I morphed into a Jen, even my mom calls me that. However, when I went back to waitressing after taking a decade off, there was already a Jen. So here we were again. I put Jenni on my name tag to differentiate between the two of us. I hadn’t been called Jenni on a regular basis in years. Now, as a thirty-something, the majority of people in my life would call me just that, Jenni.

Moving onto something else, am I supposed to pretend I’ve never been spoken to in Forrest Gump talk before, every single time? Not to mention I wait tables, making my exposure to strangers, more specifically, the jokesters to be borderline excessive.


I’ve been told that my Grandma had a say in my name, and to just throw this out there, I do not dislike my name. Do I wish it was something more unique? Yes, I’d take Juliette, Janessa, or Josephine (middle name Potter) over Jennifer all day… but I’ll take Jenny, Jennie, Jenni, and Jen… it could be worse.


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