The name game redux


It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.

– Errol Flynn


I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.

-Truman Capote


One thing people used to whisper about me?

A name, which I learned after the fact when the person who gave me the name  met me, liked me,  and apologized. Since I didn’t exactly dress to impress in those days (college) it didn’t surprise me that there would be whispered comments about how I looked. I looked eccentric. Sometimes eccentrically slutty. I went out a lot, and with exotic looking guys. It did surprise me how mean the name was, and how many people used it.

The whispered name was “I Dream of Jeannie the Whore of Babylon.”

It’s definitely one of the more creative insults ever used against me.

This is what I looked like at the time, so it’s not like it was entirely inaccurate, at least superficially:


I’m the one in the middle, with the fetching side-ponytail and torn fishnets. The “I Dream of Jeannie” part of the nickname came from my fondness for the ponytail,often worn on the top of my head. One college friend used to call me Pebbles because of the ‘tail.

Note the Babylonian next to me. I was not, for the record, his whore. We never even dated. Technically, he was not Babylonian, but Libyan. But I did go out a lot, and never with American guys.  It might have been a Lebanese, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Egyptian, Iranian, Italian or any other slightly brown skinned male with an accent.


Well partially because I have a thing for dark hair, skin and eyes. But that is not why I dated them all but exclusively for years.

It is definitely not because I’m not as fond of pale skinned, blue or green eyed American men as any other flavor. I’m a 31 flavors girl when it comes to …never mind. Any way.  I like American men as much as any other kind. Except Northern Italians.  That’s another story though. It has nothing to do with disliking Americans, either.

The biggest reason I didn’t hang out with American guys is because not one single one ever asked me out.  In fact, after High School, it wasn’t until I was well into my 30’s that an American asked me out. I even ended up marrying one. I’m not sure what it was about me that was so off-putting to my fellow Americans. One classmate, who seemed to have a pretty major crush on me, said I was scary,  and refused to clarify his comment.

I am the most un-terrifying person on the planet,  or at least I think so. I think he was kidding. Right?

I’ve always wondered what caused the utter lack of interest. Guys from other places never had any trouble asking me out. I was cute, in a wacky way. Not dumb. Funny, if shyness didn’t keep me from opening my mouth.

Not at all popular with my fellow Americans though.

Maybe they thought my attire was a sign of Communism.

That must be it.