Having a name like "Damara" means people are always pronouncing it incorrectly. I've become accustomed to hearing the variety of words used in place of the name my mother gave me.
In case anyone doesn't know, my name is said like "duh-mare-uh." It rhymes with mascara and there are no big "A" sounds like you'd find in the word "age."
Some people have called me "dam-air-ah," stressing the first three letters so it sounds like I am being sent to the most unholy of places imaginable. Others say "duh-meer-a" actually adding an "e" sound where no "e" is represented. That's nothing. It gets more bizarre.
I often get called Dharma thanks to that show, "Dharma and Greg," that ran at the end of the 1990s. I have nothing against Jenna Elfman so it doesn't bother me much.
The latest and my favorite mispronunciation of my name has got to be "De-more-ah." My coworkers have latched onto this one and frequently use it to get my attention when I'm talking to myself or harassing one of them. For some reason, picking on each other makes the day go by a little faster.
Being called another name is one thing, but being mistaken for a different sex is something completely different.
Anyone who meets me in person can probably ascertain that I'm female. Yes, I'm a big girl. I'm not a blue whale in an aquarium full of dolphins, but I'm not petite either. My friend Tonya is small. You know the type; she can shop in that section where you don't have to worry about the buttons staying together on the shirt. In fact, she even shops in the single digits. Yes, she's that small; cute as a button.
I will never be that little because my bone structure would get in the way. Even in high school, the smallest size I wore was a 9 and I wouldn't want to be that skinny again. It wouldn't look right on me. Saying that, I don't necessarily want to be the size I am now, but I'm straying off topic.
The issue here is femininity. Tonya is little and I am not so little. We both look like girls. Period. That's all.
Now, do I sound like a girl?
Apparently I sound like a man because I often get called "sir" when a person can only hear my voice. Mostly this happens on the phone or in a drive-thru, but every now and then I get the "sir" treatment face-to-face.
Do I take offense to this? I flub the ma'am/sir bit every now and then, but when you are the target as often as me, you can't help but wonder what it all means.
I am losing my hair. Maybe I need a wig. Maybe my posture is getting worse. Maybe I need a better bra.
The other day, the poor guy in the Starbucks drive-thru called me "sir" and immediately knew he messed up. He then called me "ma'am" four times before I left the window. Seriously? Like that was going to make up for my bruised ego.
Yes, I still tipped him. It isn't his fault I'm so mannish.
In the five days since that incident, I was called "sir" two more times; once in person. Yes, I have a complex now.
Now that I've been getting this unwanted gender assignment, I've been longing for the days that people would only mispronounce my name. I didn't know how good I had it.