Bright Fame

The meaning of the name Roberta is "bright fame." It's also the title of Jerome Kern's 1933 musical -- known for the so...

The meaning of the name Roberta is "bright fame."

It's also the title of Jerome Kern's 1933 musical -- known for the song "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" -- later made into a movie with Fred Astaire, Irene Dunne, and Ginger Rogers
Roberta was also the robotic secretary for the Fab 4 (in comic strips).
Roberta Flack killed a bunch of people softly.
Billy Joel also wrote a song about a prostitute named Roberta.
There even was a band in DC called "Fat Roberta"

I call "Roberta" the international Fat Girl name because one too many times I'd watch a tv show or a movie and the fat girl (or the crazy girl) would be named Roberta.  She was the butt of the joke.

If you pronounce it with a hard American accent you get Ro-burr-duh.  It sounds heavy.  (It get sexier if you add a little roll Rrrrobearta.)

Sometime in middle school I had an aversion to my name as well as its many splendid nicknames such as Bert or (Big) Bertha.  Bertie and Bobbie were mildy annoying.  More annoying was when people would call me Rebecca, Robin, or Rob/Bob.

It wasn't until college when I was dating D, and he came up with the nickname Robby (after I added a "Mr" in front of his name because he was a bit older than I was).  We decided then and there that it would be Robby, with a "y" not an "ie."  One person is allowed to call me Bert, by special waiver.  My father even apologizes when he calls me Roberta.

I'm not the fat, frumpy, sometimes-crazy Roberta as tv/movies/lifetime specials would want me to believe, but a Robby of her own making.  I still sign my name Roberta, but that's because legally it is still my name. 

Everyone at work calls me Robby. I introduce myself as Robby.
It's who I've been ever since that first utterance of "yeah, that sounds like me."

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11 comments

  1. I like Robby- ALOT. That is a great name! I agree about the negative connotation of Roberta-to me it sounds older... Robby is sassy and young and sexy!

    Polar's Mom
    www.polarspage.blogspot.com

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  2. Roberta used to be a popular name before the 1960s and then its popularity dropped off steeply. I wonder what caused that.

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  3. Aw, I'm sorry for all that time I called you Berta (because I thought it was cute :) ) and didn't realize you didn't like the nicknames!

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  4. Awww crystal -- it's okay. It's better than "hey fuckface."

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  5. Oh, I agree that Roberta seems to be an internationally known fat girl name. Wonder why.

    I like Robby better! Have you looked into changing your name legally?

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  6. TFM: I'm named after my dad. I think it'd kinda be a slap in the face if I changed my name. My middle name is equally as impossible.

    i'm good with "robby" though -- it sounds fast, right?

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  7. Roberta was my Grandmother's middle name. She hated it, but some family had used it instead of her first name, Alma, all her life.

    She was funny about it in that she had an axe to grind if you did mis-pronounce it. She required it to be "Rooo-burr-tah"... Almost as if it should have been spelled Rueburtah. Say it like Row-burr-tah, and you'd be in for a lecture.

    Names are just words. They get their meaning from the person who bears the name. One person named Patrick gained fame for his murder of 5 people in South Carolina, another is an actor with some serious sex-appeal. Our commonality is just the name we were given, I am nothing like either, and they should be so lucky to know me.

    Just as those who know you, whether a little as I do or allot as some certainly do, are lucky to know you for who you are regardless of the name.

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  8. Patrick -- would you call me Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fana Bo Besca The Third?

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  9. You totally don't seem like a Roberta - that was the name of one of my college roommates, a skinny girl who complained when her dad got her a white porsche instead of a yellow one (didn't have much sympathy for her as a work-study student). So Robby, that for sharing your voice via this blog and your tweets. Enjoy hearing about your journey!

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  10. My name is Nell, I've never met anyone with it who wasn't related to me or who wasn't a farm animal. My name is very similar to Bessie, popular for cows. Also in Christmas carols about little kids who want dolls. So, I sympathize. However I don't really think about it anymore, at least people can spell it.

    I love this whole post and that you reclaimed your name for yourself! Love it, love following your journey.

    And my best friend's father is named Robert so her middle name is Roberta.

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  11. I'm named after my father (and mother) as well.
    As for the name Neil -- I've known many Neils, very lovely ones indeedy.

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<3 Robby