There are five Rebekah Cottons in the United States. I know because I googled “how many of me” and then found this site. Pretty cool, huh? Meanwhile, there are 219 Americans who share my husband’s name. Among them are a doting father, an economist, and a minor league baseball player. They’re all Christopher Cotton.
But what are the chances that I would share my name with a Playboy Bunny from Australia? A Playboy Bunny who even goes by Bekah, just like me? A Playboy Bunny with an enormous online presence (among other enormities).
But let’s back up. Before I discovered this like-named Bunny, I expected to find pretty much what I found the last time I googled my name: a few hits from ancestry.com, an old article I wrote, and 100% cotton T-shirts for sale. This time I found none of that. Sometime in the last two years, the Bunny has emerged from her rabbit hole and snuffed out every other Rebekah Cotton in cyberspace. No one else with that name stands a chance of showing up in a google search. Type in her name—my name—and you get dozens upon dozens of hits, and they’re all her. Not until page 15 do you discover that there are other people named Rebekah Cotton.
Can I just say I’ve always liked my name? It was my dad’s idea to put the K in there. Most people with my name spell it Rebecca. I like the K, and I like the last name too. (Thank you, Christopher.) I kept my birth name for several years after I was married, until I finally had to admit that Cotton was easier to go by than the cumbersome Greek name I grew up with. Granted, I still have that Greek name—it’s now my middle name—but I don’t use it much.
That is, I haven’t used it much. The Bunny has changed things. Do I now use my middle initial and go by Rebekah T. Cotton? Or just go for the full Rebekah Torges Cotton? Using the middle initial seems a bit pretentious, and Torges is hard to remember (unless you consider that it rhymes with gorgeous, which I hesitate to point out). How about Bekah Cotton? But that seems informal, and I don’t like strangers referring to me as Bekah. It’s like the boyfriend who meets his potential in-laws and immediately starts calling them “mom” and “dad.” Too much, too soon. Of course I could just stick with Rebekah Cotton and let the rabbit poo fall where it may.
In the end, I don’t think there’s much risk that Rebekah’s fans and my clients will confuse one of us for the other. Still, the main problem is that my potential clients may google my name to size me up in advance. If they do, they will come across nude photos and words with extra Xs—like xerotica and indexxxx.com—and they will likely think I’m underdressed and a terrible speller. No, I can’t afford to damage my reputation like that. Rebekah T. Cotton is winning by a hare.