What’s in a Name? (And What the Heck is a Stacy?)

Last night, my girlfriends and I went out to a movie and some much-needed post-holiday catch-up time. My friend Jenny and I ended the night like we often do, sitting in a minivan way later than when we intended to go home (so, like 10:00) talking about parenting and relationships and mindful living and Michael Jackson.

Jenny is a well-educated, well-spoken strong and determined woman. She moved her dreadlocks and herbal remedies and anatomy books to Michigan six years ago and opened up a studio for massage, yoga, and lactation consulting. The girl is a force.

A few years ago, in the midst of another transcendental minivan sesh, I told her I’ve never felt my name suited me. It’s a 1980s, poofy-bangs name.

“I’m Stacaaay! From the Vallaaay!”

“Jenny’s just as bad!” she chimed in. “Liiike, hiiii! I’m Jennaaay!”

Of course “Stacaaay” and “Jennaaay” stuck, and since then, whenever we have a good talk, we end it by thanking each other for another great session of “Actual Thoughts! With Jennaaay and Stacaaay!”

You have to read that with a lot of exclamation points.

I’ve thought about my name a good deal, but I’ve never researched it before. Honestly, I didn’t even know what it meant. It’s not a family name. My mom just liked it, and that was it. My older sister is Kristin. My younger brother is Mark. Neither of those names would appear on an episode of “Actual Thoughts!”

This morning, as I wondered about the origins of and associations with my name, I wound up doing some Googling scholarly research. And let me tell you, the findings were riveting…

I am a Stacy. I peaked in the 1970s, and tapered off in the 80s. My average age is 44 years old.

I am Zack Morris’s heart throb at the Malibu Sands Beach Club.

(That was a tough goodbye.)

I’m Lisa Simpson’s doll…

…with nothing relevant to say.

(Noticing a Malibu theme here — perhaps I have been displaced?)

I am a pita chip, available with Cinnamon and Sugar, or Simply Naked.


I am not genetically modified.

According to Urban Dictionary, I am:


The coolest person you will ever meet. 
An awesome friend. 
Very Gorgeous.

Phil: “Oh man. I got a new girlfriend. She is such a Stacy.”
Jon: “Sweet, I wish I could find a Stacy.”


Oh, wait…

Comments and insights on the name Stacy: 

Stacy was the quintessential name for a teen girl in the ’80s. Stacys on TV and in the movies were usually portrayed as being popular hand having permed blonde hair.

I know a Stacy and she’s fat and not very cute.


Okay, okay — but what does Stacy actually mean?

Stacy is a diminutive of Anastasia. In Greek, it means fruitful and productive. In Latin, dependable.

Really? When I think of fruitful, I think of Kate. Hannah.

Sarahs and Lauras are productive.

Erins are dependable. Or Susans. Susans will come through for you.

I am a Stacy, though. Was there a point in time when I resembled a Stacy? How far back in time must I travel to feel like a Stacy?

Ten years?





Not so much.



Too far. If that swimsuit had side-ties, though…



Ooo, we might be there. This girl has an Exposé cassette tape in her Walkman. She’s part of a trio of BFFs named Stacy, Traci, and Casey. (Is that a third of a friendship heart necklace she’s wearing?) She has a visible curling iron line in her bangs (although they’re in need of a good teasing and some White Rain). Her turtleneck has shoulder pads stitched in, and you don’t wanna know what she paid for those Z. Cavariccis.

That might be a Stacy. Or the closest thing to a Stacy I ever was.

(Well, except for that one day in 2014.)

Stacy10 (2)


Maybe I just need get back to that place — own my name. Dress like a Stacy. Feel like a Stacy. Resurrect some bangs. Chew more gum, maybe? I could spray myself with Designer Imposters and lip-sync with Debbie Gibson.

I do own leg warmers.

Or, I suppose I could always change my name. But what would I choose? Something solid and predictable, like Jane? Grace? Or maybe something nature-inspired, like Iris?

No Y’s. No trendy spellings. I am so far from trendy.

No last-syllable “ee” sound. I’m not perky enough for that.

A name change is so extreme, though. It would be a huge paperwork hassle. And I’d feel bad if I hurt my parents’ feelings — especially my mom, who seems so pleased with her choice.

Talk to me, friends. Help a Valley Girl out.

Are you a Stacy, or do you know one?

What’s your name? Does it suit you?

How would I look with bangs? And how’s the real estate market in Malibu?


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22 thoughts on “What’s in a Name? (And What the Heck is a Stacy?)

  1. My first name is Joni, rhymes with Baloney and Macaroni. No one is named Joni. I get called Johnny at least once a week. I think Stacy is a great name. Even though I have reconciled myself to never finding a cool license plate key ring with my name on it, there were definitely times in my life when I would’ve loved being a Stacy.


  2. Kathy….. One of the top names of the 60’s and 70”s. I didn’t mind it do much except that I thought that my proper name was so “stuffy” KATHLEEN…. learned to appreciate that too, as I got older though….. but my middle name, “Ann” I certainly gave my parents the business for. Long before I read or saw Ann of Green Gables I complained that they could have at least put an “E” at the end so it was more interesting! It helped knowing that the name that almost won out was VIVIAN…. thankful to be a Kathy! (No offense to those VIV’S out there) 🙂


    1. You are definitely more “Kathy” than “Kathleen” (or “Vivian” for that matter!) And yes, you and every other girl in America’s middle name seems to be Ann (or Mary!) Mine is Beth, but you can guess Beth’s middle name — Ann! 🙂


  3. oh that was a good laugh!

    I’m Julie. There are plenty of them. In the past (my great-great-grandmother’s name), nowadays, in the little ones (my neighbor’s daughter)… Too many? maybe.
    Sometimes, it just feels super odd to be called Julie. And sometimes, it feels great.

    What’s stranger still? I’d rather be called Julie – pronounced the English way – than Julie – pronounced the French way. I prefer my nickname in English “Jules” (even though it’s a guy’s name in French) than “Juju” in French.
    Funny how we are always “unhappy” about our names…

    But Stacy, you have songs in your name! That’s the best part of it all! 😉


  4. Actually, Stacy is one of the few names Dad and I could agree on. Go ahead and do a do-over if you’d like, but you must admit that Beth is a GREAT middle name. No “Bethie” there, although my grandma would call me Bethie on occasion. You may not love your name, but the girl who owns it is very unique, quite a “spirit”, and very loved.


    1. I will say, it is more unique than many of my friends’ names of the same generation. I can name many Heathers, Kristins, and Sarahs!

      And Kristin-roo doesn’t quite ring like Stace-a-roo, does it?


  5. I think that you and your name are just perfect the way they are! My name is Devona. Try going through your whole life explaining that one!

    First, you have to get people to pronounce it correctly. Some people try. There are a few renditions that are common. Deh voe na. Deh voh na. Dee voe nay. Dee va na. Dev o nee. You get the picture. So, here is what I’ve come up with over the years…

    Dev, rhymes with Bev. O, just like the letter in the alphabet, O. Nay, rhymes with Hay.

    OR, I can say, have you ever heard of Devonshire? That’s in England. Take off the Shire, and what’s left? Devon. Ok, now add an A on the end. That’s it, just the basic A, the first letter of the alphabet. OR, do you know a boy named Devon, rhymes with Kevin ? Now, you must review the whole thing again with people… boy’s name, and an A, and it sounds feminine, right?

    It is exhausting! Sometimes I just feel like I am having to be bossy, correcting folks, taking up a lot of people’s time explaining… Over time, I have come to appreciate that my name is unique. I have always wondered, can or does a name shape your personality? As a young adult, I did sport a bumper sticker on my car, “WHY BE NORMAL?”

    Now I’m going to call my Mom on the phone, and ask her one last time. How and why she named me Devona? I always thought Susie would be just fine. Here comes the last straw. Ready for an anticlimax? My parents last name is Brown. Smith just would not cut it, right?


    1. Oh, Devona, I just read all the mispronunciations of your name aloud and I have to admit, I giggled my way through.

      I DO remember having to stop and think about it when you introduced yourself to me, but now that I’m familiar with it, I find it unique and fitting for you!

      I also agree that a name could shape a personality. My mother, a school teacher, had a few names she begged me not to bestow on her grandchildren, and I have to agree that every boy I know who shares the number one name on her most-dreaded list is a, um, stinker.

      Thanks for reading, Devona. I appreciate this witty comment from a gal who has endured far more name struggles than I!


  6. There’s not much in Eric. At least you show up in fun songs. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Stacy. You’re mom named you Stacy just so she could say she had it goin’ on. 😀 What’s even funnier is that your friend, Jenny, appears in a good 80’s song, too. Please tell me her number 867-5309!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eric is one of those trusty, versatile names that you just can’t go wrong with! Every Eric I know is solid and smart. BUT you’re right — no Monster Ballads have ever been written about Erics :

      I cannot tell you how happy I am that you reminded me about 867-5309. Ha! This may become the concluding theme song of Actual Thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

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