Tuesday, April 29, 2008

would a blog by any other name smell so sweet?

Do you find that your blog name starts to define you?

I chose the blog name "Painted Maypole" quite on a whim (just as I started blogging on a whim). I tried several other names, and they were all taken. For some reason, my mind landed on the phrase "Painted Maypole." It was available. A blog was born.

The phrase comes from the third act of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, when the men have been charmed into loving Helena, Helena is convinced it's all cruel joke on her, and Hermia is rather ticked off. Hermia says this to Helena:

Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
Between our statures; she hath urged her height;
And with her personage, her tall personage,
Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him.
And are you grown so high in his esteem;
Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;
How low am I? I am not yet so low
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.

that's me, in the purple, as "Painted Maypole" Helena, summer 2000

Basically, Hermia is calling Helena an overly made up, tartish, skinny beanpole. And this is the name I've chosen to go by online. Hmmm... As I said, I didn't give it much thought at the outset, but now it's my moniker. I kind of like it, despite its insulting origins (besides, what's wrong with being tall?). (Because May Day is a celebration of spring and fertility, the Maypole is also a rather obvious phallic symbol, but I'll just breeze right by that...)

So once I've embraced the name Painted Maypole, it seems only appropriate that I adopt May Day (May 1st) as a special holiday. We've invited the neighbor girls over for a little party. Rather than going out into the woods and cutting down a tree to decorate for our maypole, I'll be braving the wilds of our garage for a broom handle. We'll decorate the pole with ribbons and dance around it, perhaps while singing some of these songs. We'll wear flower wreaths in our hair and keep an eye out for fairies. We'll make this maypole centerpiece. We'll make May Day Baskets, fill them with flowers, and hang them from doorknobs. We'll eat flower shaped sugar cookies. It should be fun.

And look, I just planned a May Day party for you. Have one! And don't forget to swing by here on the actual day. I'll be having my own little May Day giveaway, but you have to come by on May Day to leave a comment to enter the drawing.

If you're really dying for more May Day info you can look here, here or here.


Amy Y said...

I can't imagine you as anything but Painted Maypole... And I love that you are doing a contest ~ I hope I win :) :)

I'm down with any reason to celebrate!

thailandchani said...

It's always of interest to me how people choose the names for their blogs. (Mine was just.. what it is... not given any serious thought at all.. but it's about to change.)

Thanks for the explanation. I'd wondered about the origin of Painted Maypole and didn't recall the reference from the play. It's just pretty and unique. That's about as far as I went with it. :)

Candygirlflies said...

Promise me some Morris Dancing, and I'm in!

xo CGF

slouching mom said...

ooh, sounds like so much fun! and to me, choosing a blog name is rather like choosing a name for your unborn or just-born child. once it's done, you can't imagine him or her ever having a different name...

Beck said...

I've actually always regretted the name of my blog - but yours has one of the more memorable names I've come across, actually.
WE ARE having a May Day Party on Thursday!

nomotherearth said...

I knew exactly where you got the name the second I came across your blog - Midsummer is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays (particularly love that speech).

I do think it funny that your Google ads right now are for Lil Minx Stripper Poles, and Pole and lattice work. Apparently, Google doesn't read Shakespeare...

Chantal said...

I never even thought about a may day party. hmmm

Aunt Becky said...

I do find that my name does sort of define me to a greater or lesser degree. I mean, I blog under my real name, but my blog title is kind of who I've become.

E said...

You are the Maypole. And it goes with your posts which often have a magical sort of dreamy cache. And I am dying for a May Day party.....

jen said...

I love knowing how you got your name. And I definitely think you own May 1st.

flutter said...

that sounds like SO much fun!

Don Mills Diva said...

Painted Maypole definitely suits you...don't ever go changing...

Chrissy said...

I actually think of that as your name, which is weird...

How neat that you're having a party. I am considering doing a Cinco de Mayo thing, but yours sounds more fun.

Kathryn said...

I first stopped over to your blog because of your name. I love it!

Christine said...

ooooh! now I want a may day party, too!

imbeingheldhostage said...

I just dropped by to wish you a happy May Day tomorrow (I'll be moving house and I was afraid I'd forget, so I'm early).
So, Happy May Day to you and yours!!

Hey Teach! said...

I love the idea of your May Day Party. It sounds perfect for little girls. I hope they see lots of fairies.

Emily said...

It's only just occured to me that you might have another name besides Painted Maypole, or PM when I am being more casual. It's who you are. :) *Tartish, skinny beanpoles, phalic symbols, and insulting origins aside, you make PM look goooood.*

I love the new look. I am WOEFULLY behind on blog reading, so I just got my first look, this morning. It's so cheerful and warm in here! It's like bloggy prozac.

HRH said...

I love the name of your blog. It does seem to fit well. But it is a chicken and egg thing...did you fit to the name or vice versa?

As for me, I have some complaints, but minor one. I think my blog name implies a bit more domesticness then suits me, but I love how (like your blog name) you get a positive picture in your mind before you arrive.

LaskiGal said...

"overly made up, tartish, skinny beanpole" . . . No way!!! I only thought of that sweet may pole picture . . .

Yay for May!!!

KBL 2 ORD 2 SAN said...

Hi Painted Maypole!

I've been a longtime lurker, first time commentator. I've followed you through the 3 Sisters of the East (Mary Beth, Helen, and Amanda), and I've loved all of the daily blog themes you lead everyone in.

Big Guy is awesome, just FYI. May Queen is too cute. Your blog is different from blogs I usually run across, and I appreicate it. I knew what Painted Maypole was as soon as I saw one of your comments on Mary Beth's blog. Love Shakespeare. Great blog name!

My blog name is made up of airport codes. KBL is for Kabul International Airport, the city where I was born and spent my childhood.

ORD is for Chicago O'Hare Airport, the city we fled to after the Soviet invasion, where I grew up and spent my 20s.

SAN is for San Diego Lindbergh Field, the city I live in now with all of my "boys".


Although I've lived all over the world, these three places are where I've lived the longest and that have influenced me.

Great contest also! I'll have to keep up with the shenanigans. :-)

Sarcasta-Mom said...

All hail the Painted Maypole. We wouldn't have you any other way :)

When I was in boarding school my freshman year of high school, they had a tradition in bathing in the first dew of the morning on May Day. It was cold, and early, but I was told it had some kind of historical signifigance *shrugs*

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

As I said in my first response to your blog, I think, I LOVE Helena, and loved your name for the blog. And I love that scene. It's absolutely hysterical. Have a lovely May Day party!

womaninawindow said...

How can all of you possibly be so creative? And it's funny you talked about the origin of names of blogging as Rebecca of Frog and Toad talked about our names defining us. Actually, I like to create visuals of bloggers based solely on their names. When I see their pictures I ignore them (in my mind) and stick to what I imagine. Even my own name...I'm surprised when I see myself in the mirror. Not such a woman...

Alex Elliot said...

I love the name of your blog. I've been pleased with my blog name, but when I created it I did it with the intent of shortening it to Flexible Parenting when my boys get older. I think it's like a regular name though in that if you've always gone by Kathryn, it's hard to shorten it to Kate.

susiej said...

THank you, Painted Maypole... I think we'll have to pull something of this sort off tomorrow. Enchanting idea... and I did think about you with the approaching month of May, as what you would have to teach us... and you delivered well.

Julie Pippert said...

I knew the origin of the name, not the genesis, so very neat to know and I LOVE how you plan to celebrate!

niobe said...

I've always thought that you had one of the best blog-names ever.

(Though, I confess, since I'm tiny, I've always identified more with Hermia)

Cold Spaghetti said...

Love the celebration!!

Yesterday morning, our pianist friend on Oak Street commented that it was a "crazy day" -- the sun was shining and there was no chance of rain for Jazz Fest that day and the street was actually getting paved on Oak Street -- like nothing was (not) working the way it usually is.

And then we had the most fantastic, spectacular, memorable, fun, New Orleans days...

... I'm guessing it was all in the cards as May Day perfection!! Thanks for making me reflect on it in a special way. :-)

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