My name is Laurence which in French is a girl’s name. My mother didn’t realize that here in the U.S. it’s generally a boy’s name. Needless to say, my first day’s of school all went like this. Larry Jones, please stand up and introduce yourself to the class, now the teacher would say this while reading the student list. Upon looking up, they would realize that a young girl was standing. Inevitably, the question would be “why do you have a boy’s name?” I would then explain year after year, that my mother didn’t speak English when I was born and in France, Laurence is a girl’s name. My mother, realizing her mistake, called me Laurie trying to rectify the situation.
Upon an origin of names search, I discovered that Laurence is derived from the name of Laurentius, a town in Italy dating from Roman times. It is also the name of a deacon who became a martyr at the hands of the Romans. This deacon then became St. Laurence as a result of his sacrifice. I know that he is not the reason my mother chose Laurence. I have asked her repeatedly over the years, why Laurence, why? She said that in France it’s a very pretty name and she liked it. It was that simple for her.
When I became a mother I thought long and hard and made sure that the names I picked were equally nice in English and in French. I wasn’t going to torture my 2 kids with the ridicule I went through in school. And to this day, no complaints from either of them. Mission accomplished.