Whenever I introduce myself to anyone, the other person always says, “like Lex Luthor!” And it’s not because I am follicle-less, or always station myself next to a spinny globe, or have a plan to set off all the world’s volcanoes simultaneously. It’s because I’m named Lex, and sometimes it seems that I’m the only non-fictional person in the world with that moniker. Freddys, Chuckies and Jasons everywhere can’t begin to understand what I go through; there are just too many of them. It’s just so lonely being the only person forever linked to one of the most evil people in history. I would do anything for a chance to meet a kid named Ebenezer.
I wasn’t always quite this diabolical though — and up until college, I went by the name Lexie. There were seven Alexes in my first grade class, so I changed my name to Lexie, which was my mom’s nickname for me at the time. I did it just so I could stand out a little.
But as I got a little older, I soon realized that I was the only Lexie not to own a pair of sparkly Sketchers or have good handwriting. It was tough for me, especially during adolescence, when only sweatpants and Proactiv protected me from some very hurtful comments. The abuse wasn’t just from kids though; in fact, in one of my report cards, I was actually referred to as “she” several times. I later realized that it couldn’t have just been a typo on the part of the teacher, since Ms. Boehm deliberately had to make the extra effort pressing the S button over and over again. So I began overcompensating, and I limited my yogurt intake and started taking dodge ball in gym a little too seriously. For my whole life I had let my name affect me and change the way I presented myself. I really allowed Lexie to shape me.
At Northwestern though, I haven’t encountered any such problems. On a college campus, the land of the meet and greet, names take on a whole new level of importance. If you’re able to remember 30 percent of the names of people you meet, you’re a legend. It does get tiring hearing the same thing over and over again, and especially right after that, hearing “but you probably get that all the time.” But, with such a unique name, I also feel blessed. Not only do people generally remember my name after being introduced, but also they are probably slightly intimidated because of the name’s connotation. People often tell me how cool they think it is too. Here, where there are so many new people to meet each and every day — I’m able to stand out, so I’ve made peace with my name. Comparisons between Superman’s arch-nemesis and I are inevitable, but it’s a conversation starter. As long as I own it, and embrace my inner Lex, I’ve been golden. If only I had accepted it in high school, rather than running from my name and identity, then maybe I would have been comfortable enough with my masculinity to read all of Jane Austen novels ever assigned to me.
Recently though, my newfound confidence was tested. I was in Norris, eating my standard buffalo chicken wrap, when I could swear I heard someone say “Lexie!” Could it be me, I thought? How could this person know? I thought I was covered with buffalo chicken wrap, since it’s about as manly as wraps get. But then I realized, it’s still not quite a sandwich. So, I frantically looked around me for any pre-teen girls who could be the real Lexies here, but there was not a single potential iCarly fan in sight. Weirdly enough, there wasn’t even a girl within a four-table radius. Now, I had decided it had to be me, so I turned my head and asked “ how did you know to call me that?” The girl, who I thought somehow knew my deepest secret, calmly said, “oh,
I’m sorry. I was just saying ‘Let’s see’ because I was trying to find my flashcards from my bag.” I explained that I used to go by Lexie and that it was my mistake. She told me not to be so paranoid, but thought it was very funny that that used to be my name. After that, we hit it off and talked for about an hour. Eventually, I went back to my man-wrap, with a new friend and a renewed appreciation for the I and the E at the end of my name that I’d thrown by the wayside a couple of years ago.