Names identify things, they categorise and label them. They give possession and ownership. They have meaning.
I’ve always thought the American habit of calling one’s father ‘Sir’ an odd one. How, I ask, can you have a loving intimate relationship with someone you refer to in such a formal manner.
So it came as something of a shock to discover that I’m calling Perrin ‘Sir’ as something of a matter of course.
Although I have very occasionally found myself calling him ‘Master’ I tend to see that as something he is, rather than as a name, just as you wouldn’t usually call your father ‘Father’.
‘Sir’, however is a title which I feel very comfortable with. It seems to have the advantage of being relatively vanilla-safe if overheard. It is a word which for me, speaks of my love, respect and obedience. I also treasure it, knowing each time I use it how lucky I am to have a master to take care of me.
It is also special because I chose it. To name something is to own it, to shape it. Children are named by their parents, and are named in return; ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’ are much more than just words, they are marks of possession and love. ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ too imply love, closeness and permanence.
We all have so many names, especially when we create on-line identities. To choose a name is to redefine ourselves. To give someone else a name is to share our vision of them.
Some names are special. They’re special because of what they say about the person, how we perceive them, how we relate to them. Most of all they’re special because the people we love are special.