I've been waiting for a few quiet moments to tap this out... maybe this is my opportunity! I can relate to Bean's husband - my first name is Dagny (one of the female counterparts to the man's name, Dag). As Bean mentions, Dag means "day" in Norwegian. The "ny" suffix is actually an adjective, meaning "new". As this is a traditional Norsk name, I'm imagining that Scandinavia got a head start on the hippy movement.

My last name is Haug - "hill" in Norwegian. The northern European convention (and I'm speaking broadly here...) is the whole "-son" and "-datter" suffix thing. If your father's name is Peter and you caught the y chromosome ferry, voila! Your last name is "Peterson" ("Petersen", "Pederson", "Pedersen", ad infinitum...)! Well, on that day in 1901 that my dad's parents went through US Immigration, the official felt he had seen his quota of Pedersons. "Pick a new name. Now." So my grandparents chose Haug at random, primarily because the farm they had just left in Norway was located on a hill.

And here I am.

My middle name is Pernille, but I have no idea on the origin of that one, other than it was my dad's sister's name and my mom liked the traditional sound of it. And you've got to admit, it would blow the euphony to smithereens if they had chosen to name me something like "Dagny Sue Haug".

When I was growing up, I wasn't really fond of my name, predominantly due to the mispronunciations. For a brief period in the 80s, my junior high and high school classmates got a real kick out of handing me flatware... so that I was "Dagny with a spoon" (let me know if that requires further explanation). I would imagine I was around 15 or 16 when it occurred to me that I had a unique enough name that I was almost guaranteed tabula rasa when it comes to making a first impression... I've observed a social tendency to make certain assumptions about people if you already know someone by the same name. (This seems to be less an issue for people of extraordinarily common names like John, Mike, Tom...) To wit: I have a friend by the name of Ian. There aren't a whole lot of Ians running around, but it's not inconceivable that one might run across another one. And when I do, there are aspects of Ian's personality that I automatically assign to the newfound Ian, be they right or wrong. But with a name like Dagny, I rarely meet anyone who has ever heard the name before, much less having known another Dagny. Of course, if my new friend has read any Ayn Rand, I'm pretty much screwed... that Dagny is not very nice! But I've found that it works to my advantage the majority of the time. And certain friends were keeping me apprised of my performance on the Norwegian women's Olympic soccer team last summer!

So now I'm grateful for the uniqueness of my name. Anyone else have similar observations regarding the potential baggage carried by a familiar name?