An aptronym is a name particularly suited to its owner.
Thus we have Usain Bolt (sprinter), Thomas Crapper (inventor of various lavatorial fixtures), Russell Brain (neurologist), Jules Angst (psychiatrist) and so forth.
I’ve personally known a tennis player named Service, two unrelated financiers named Banks and, alas, a haemorrhoidectomy surgeon named Butts (his hospital was in Houston’s Drexler Street, which is a slightly more obscure aptronym, but one nonetheless).
According to one theory, those blessed with occupational surnames feel their gravitational pull and are subconsciously yet irresistibly drawn to those occupations.
The unexplored power of aptronyms may explain, at least partly, why the 39-year-old teacher, mother of three Brigitte Trogneux fancied her 15-year-old pupil Manu Macron. You see, Brigitte’s family owns Chocolaterie Trogneux, an Amiens company celebrated for its macaroons.
The French for that delicacy is macaron, just one letter apart from the name of that sweet schoolboy instantly smitten by Brigitte’s tight leather trousers. The aptronym and nature simply had to take their course, eventually steering Brigitte to her present honorary title of France’s First Foster Mother .
However, one would think that those who come up with company names would avoid aptronyms that make people laugh at the brand. Well, one would think wrong.
The other day, waiting for my train at Earl’s Court, I indulged my old habit of looking at all the ads. One poster showed the picture of a smiling young man next to the headline BYE BYE ED.
His beaming grin dispelled my first impression that the eponymous Ed was dead, and the poster advertised an undertaker’s service. Perhaps such ambiguity was intentional, designed to draw the reader in.
Well, this reader was indeed drawn in.
Turned out ED wasn’t the young man’s name. It stood for Erectile Dysfunction, a pandemic of biblical proportions, if the copy was to be believed. The advertised service promised to solve that embarrassing problem in short order.
Now I don’t know to what extent their promise stands up to scrutiny, as it were. Nor am I sure that such intimate issues ought to be discussed on 24-sheet posters, but then we do live in the twenty-first century.
Still, one has to accept that, if millions of young chaps like the one depicted in the visual suffer from this problem, it’s no laughing matter. However, the advertiser’s name is.
The email address for the company promising deliverance was given as Manual.co/ed/treatment.
The decision to be made here is whether or not this is an intentional aptronym. If so, then the company’s name hints at the treatment it advertises, making one wonder if it’s going to be merely recommended or actually administered.
Another possibility is that the ad is just a spoof, but this possibility is remote, what with hoarding spaces as pricey as they are.
Most likely is that this is just an unintentional aptronym producing an undesirable effect: making people like me laugh.
Now wouldn’t it be fun if Corbyn were named Jewson? And please don’t tell me that my name compels me to put the boot in every chance I get.