Like a rock

Yesterday’s Dinosaur Comics, on remembering names:


The feminine counterpart to the name Peter is Petra, both ultimately from Greek πέτρος (petros) ‘stone, rock’, but there are also women called Pete — and some called Peter.

(Bonus: the verbing of the noun pop quiz.)

A famous (though fictional) Petra:


The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (German: Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant) is a 1972 German film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, based on his own play. This film has an all-female cast and is set in the home of the protagonist, Petra von Kant. It follows the changing dynamics in her relationships with the other women. (Wikipedia link)

Then there are girls called Pete as a nickname, for instance in the book A Girl Named Pete by Lori Perkins Karpe (2014):

[It’s] 1934 in Oklahoma, and Freeda June Washburn, a girl named Pete, and her four sisters are having the best summer ever down on the Deep Red. (Amazon books)

And in a Topeka Courier-Journal piece, “A Story of a Girl Named Pete”:

This is the story of a girl whose nickname was Pete. Her real name was Emily Gail but her father had started calling her Pete when she was a toddler and it stuck.

As for Peter as a girl’s name, there are a fair number of reports on the net of the name being given by parents to a girl, as part of a larger fashion for boy’s names for girls: Barry, Darryl, Garrett, Dylan, Gary, etc.

And I have known a woman called Peter, but as a nickname: the Romance philologist Angelina Pietrangeli, known as Peter. (Pietrangeli is a patronymic for Pietro, the Italian version of Peter.)

Now, on memory for names: people do differ considerably in their ability to take in and recall proper names. I am myself not very good with “ordinary” names, like Mary Anderson (for a woman) or Peter Smith (for a man). But the first time I met Ilse Lehiste, I got her name down perfectly. Same for Peter Pietrangeli. These are memorable names.

(Gay porn stars tend to choose stage names that are strongly masculine but otherwise bland: Tom Chase, Brad King, Ken Scott. I have a great deal of trouble recalling these guys’ names. So I’m thankful for Trenton Ducati, Aymeric DeVille, Reese Rideout, etc.)

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