Even before they were called Latinos, I knew I wanted a Latino name. Those names were just so much, you know, cooler than the Anglo ones. (I also wanted the long, straight, shiny hair common to many Asians. I may have had some identity problems.)
Rodrigo, for example. That does not sound like the name of a kid you whip dodge balls at in gym class. Nor does Pedro or even Esteban. “Dan”, well, Dan is a fair target.
I didn’t start as Dan, of course. I was Danny until the semester break my first year of college. And never Daniel. In those days, no one was using Daniel unless you were super pretentious or opening your own salon. Or both.
There are adult guys named Danny. I know two. One of them is literally a bar owner and he is universally loved. This may not be a coincidence.
The other is a guy who is always, “up for anything!”. I am not up for anything. I’m only up for a certain amount of things. Cautious people, people who wear a life vest on a pontoon boat, are not getting away with being called Danny.
I couldn’t ever pull off the last-name-only thing either. You know who did that remarkably well? The guy who played the Commander in The Unit. Of course, he was The Commander. In The Unit. The character’s last name was Blaine and he’d answer the phone, “Go for Blaine.” How badass it that? Too badass for me to even say out loud, is how much. I’m nervous that I just wrote “badass” twice. Three times.
So it looks like it’s going to be Dan forever. The name doesn’t tell you a lot. It doesn’t hurt anything. It’s not really a leg up, but it’s not a name that sets up un-live-up-to-able expectations, either. You have to get to know me and then make up your own mind. And that’s OK with me.
Dan out! (Which, clearly, also does not work.)
For almost 30 years, Dan Taylor has created humor cards for Hallmark. He's also written books, mugs, t-shirts, pretty much anything that would hold still to get words put on it. He has been outrageously successful and is universally loved. He has recently taken up writing biographical information in the third person.