Born to a family that already had 2 girls, my parents were likely hoping for a boy, but not going to say so. Were I a boy, I'd be Steven Thomas, initials STP, and my mom would have sent a clever birth announcement that played on the motor oil theme. My father, a dedicated car guy, would have been off to a solid start, as he groomed a future garage companion.

Instead, my parents chose Lauren Elizabeth, which won out over Alicia Rae (thank you!), and, despite my father's best efforts, I never learned a damn thing about fixing cars. My parents picked something they liked, and my name has no special significance. As the youngest of three, I am highly doubtful that, even if I was a boy, there ever would have been a birth announcement. My parents really aren't announcement types, and there is little evidence that they were able to find their camera anytime before I started school and it became the education system's job to document their bad fashion choices on my behalf.

I knew no other Lauren growing up, and was irritated by the fact that with a different spelling, mine could have been a boys name. Also, I felt very wronged by the absence of a Mickey Mouse license plate bearing my name. For both reasons, sometime around age 9, I decided to re-name myself Laurie, written with a heart dotting the "i".

In choosing my name, my parents claim never to have considered the unfortunate coincidence that my two sisters, Chris and Lee, also had names that rhymed with synonyms for number one. The tedious and not-so-poetically gifted boys in the neighborhood were fond of referring to us as Piss, Pee, and Urine. Pointing out that Lauren and urine do not rhyme, I learned not to be helpful. I also learned to appreciate having a unique name, right around the time when suddenly there were six Lauren's in every pre-school class.

-Lauren, Bridgewater, NJ, USA