DR. WALLACE: I have a really ugly first name and my middle name isn't much better. I just turned 18 and I'm graduating from high school very soon. I'm legally changing my name so I can enter college as Holly instead of Helga. I also really want my high school diploma to have my name as Holly. My principal said he would make the change when I bring the legal change paper to him.
My only problem is that my mother and grandmother are both throwing a fit calling me stupid, crazy, selfish and inconsiderate for changing my name legally. Since they are both regular readers of your column, I would like your honest opinion about my name change. — Holly, Atlanta, Ga.
HOLLY: Names have always meant to be a form of identification. However, they now have taken on various meanings. Psychology professor Albert Mehrabian of UCLA has written a book, called "The Name Game: The Decision Lasts a Lifetime." In the book he rates 1,800 male and female first names based on the impression the names gave to strangers. The ratings were based on a survey of individuals who scored the names for their images of success, morality, cheerfulness, warmth, health and masculinity/femininity.
So you can see that names have become more than just identifying words. They now have their own personalities. I can understand the positions of your mom and Grandma Helga, but more importantly, I also understand your position. It's your name and you should be, and are free, to be called the name of your choice, Holly.
YOU ARE CLASSIFIED AS A BULLY
DR. WALLACE: I disagree with your answer to the 13-year-old boy who was overweight, and you told him he was a bully for hitting his sister for calling him "Lard-o." Instead of telling him his sister was wrong to call him names, you told him that he was a bully and that he needed to be on a healthy diet to lose weight!
I also am 13 years old and I'm a very large girl. Just the other day, my punk 10-year-old brother called me "Fatty," and I beat the tar out of him. What do you say about that? — Nameless, Naples, Fla.
NAMELESS: Your brother was cruel and inconsiderate when he called you "Fatty" and should have been disciplined by your parents. However, you, too, can be classified as a bully, and I would also suggest that you start a well-balanced diet prescribed by a nutritionist.
WHAT IS HE TRYING TO PROVE?
DR. WALLACE: My boyfriend and I are both 16. We've been dating for over three months and we enjoy being together. Everything is great when we're by ourselves, but he sometimes really irritates me when we are around other people. When we're out in public he makes a point of putting his arm around my shoulder and pulling me close, especially if other guys are present. I keep telling him to "cool it," but he still keeps doing it.
I think he is showing off and acting too possessive, but he knows I really like him and I don't understand why he acts like this. — Nameless, Detroit, Mich.
NAMELESS: It's obvious that this guy is overly possessive and has a tendency to control you. Don't allow him to continue his "grab and hold" tactics. Warn him again, and if he continues, end the relationship!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.