I've always been interested in names. I like making up people and giving them cool names in my stories and just for fun, and I pay attention to naming trends and the like. First thing's first: I'm going to tell you how I got my online nickname, SwankiVY, since I always get asked about it.
"Swank" is a style of music. While listening to the song "Wakko's Two-Note Song" on the Animaniacs soundtrack, my high school friend Mia and I attempted to put a name to each style of music in which the melody was repeated. One that I especially liked was called "swank," or so Mia said. I kept getting that part of the song stuck in my head, and while I was online in chat rooms, I would just say "swank swank" whenever I had nothing to say. SWANK!!! I liked the word. It also means "cool," and it means a few other things that describe me, such as "full of life or energy," "active," "fashionably elegant," "smart," and, unfortunately but appropriately, "ostentatious," "show-offy," "arrogant," and "pretentious." (Thanks, Merriam-Webster dictionary!) Sometimes I am all of those things, except maybe "fashionably elegant." I can't really see myself being that.
"IVY" is not my given name, but I use it in almost all online communication and often in "real life." I received this name when I was in high school from my best friend Meghan. She liked the Xanth series by Piers Anthony, and there were twin princesses in that story named Ida and Ivy. (Guess who I got to be?) It stuck, and I really liked it, seemed a lot more "me" than my given name in many ways (though my given name isn't too far off--more about that later). It became a sometimes-used nickname, until later that year. . . .
I wanted to sign up to become a priestess in the Church of the Subgenius. (If you want to know about them, go to their website.) I had to come up with some sort of name to use, and since Subgenii often use rather strange-sounding names, I wanted one too. I combined "swank" and "ivy" and ended up with SwankiVY. I messed with the capitalization so that instead of a capital at the beginning, the "iVY" had a lowercase I and the OTHER letters capitalized. I added "Queen of Budgiland" after it as my title . . . "Budgiland" evolved because "budgi" was a word my friends and I used to mean "cute," and I figured I might as well be the queen of a land of cute people. So, I had another mutation of my name. Many years later, I named my first website "Budgiland" so I could be its queen.
Finally, it became my much used-and-known screenname. (I was once just SwankiVY, on my mother's AOL account, then became SwankiVY1 when my mother, being somewhat computer illiterate at the time, thought that her computer's hard drive failure meant that her AOL account was suddenly gone, and she made me a new name; when she found out she had been paying for two AOL accounts for a couple months she just deleted the older one. Then when I became an AOL host and got my own account separate from my mom's, I became SwankiVY2.) I have been called Swankie/Swanky, Swankstress, Vee, and all kinds of funny things.
I like the name Ivy because it is somewhat unusual (especially with younger people) and because it has an interesting connection to nature (being that, well, it's a plant). The only thing I don't like, obviously, is the stupid Poison Ivy jokes. Like I haven't heard that thirty thousand times, right?
The "meaning" of the name Ivy is basically just the plant or "clinging vine," though if it is taken to be a derivative of "Ivana" (some say it is), then it means "Gift of God." In the baby-name books by Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran, the actual image of the name is explained rather than the ancient meaning that no one thinks of upon their first hearing the name. In Beyond Jennifer and Jason, the name "Ivy" is cited as being a delicate floral name that's "due for a revival"; as a "creative power name"; and as an "upwardly mobile name." See? It describes me! In the book The Last Word on First Names by the same authors, the following entry is made:
I also looked it up in an online utility called What's in YOUR name?, and it said the following on the subject:
I'm not sure what's up with the assignment of physical problems based on a NAME, but I suppose that's their business.
Incidentally, my given first name is Julie, which is cited in The Last Word on First Names as a name that does not have "contemporary appeal," and should be pushed aside for the more elegant "Julia." In Beyond Jennifer and Jason it's a "high energy name" (ain't it the truth); a "no-frills name"; and a name from the 1950s. Yay. What's in YOUR name? says this:
Much further from the mark on this one--I'm not much of a leader, I'm not that into my material possessions, and I'm not a big partygoer or socializer, though I am into the arts. Anyway, while we're mucking about in this goofy stuff, why not look at my middle name?
Sondra is my middle name, spelled with an O so that people wouldn't mistake it for "sand-ra." According to Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran, Sondra is in fashion limbo and is a "feminine name," and not much else. The What's in YOUR name? utility has this:
|THE OTHER PAGES FROM THE "BASICS" SECTION:|
The Background Boutique: This page's background.