Stan the Man

I met my parents, Mike and Sally, in a Starbucks the other day. They had morphed into Chinese baristas. Starbucks is a great place to observe this phenomenon since all baristas wear nametags. One girl I met at the Xintiandi outlet had the name “Stan”.

Me: So, Stan, is that really your name or are you borrowing someone else’s name tag?

Stan: That’s my name.

Me: Oh, really? That’s unusual. Why did you give yourself this name?

Stan: Because I feel more like a boy inside.

Me: Well, then, that makes sense.

One woman in my bible study, Agnes*, was given her name by a bunch of foreign tourists in Nanjing when she was a young girl. Her father stopped them to make her practice English and they gave her moniker. I can’t remember, but either the father or the tourists decided she needed the name.

A lot of expats keep lists of their favorite Chinese/English names: Vanilla, Hill, Stone, Cherry, Linus, Angel, Lotus. I have yet to see “Earth”, “Wind” and “Fire” but obviously, names with a natural origin are popular. Given the Chinese’ feng shui focus on earthly elements, this is not surprising. Our favorite so far: Handicap. And then there is the ubiquitous nametag: Trainee, usually found in retail establishments. Nice, but I am desperately seeking the one that says Trained.

Q: if you were a Chinese barista, what would be your name? The Sky’s the limit.

*Not her real name but you get the idea.



Filed under Life

24 responses to “Stan the Man

  1. chickadee.

    I am out of bed by 8:15 today. It is 54 degrees in the shade.

  2. 425Heidi

    Cinnamon…because I am spicy hot 🙂

  3. warrop


  4. Comments, to all of the above:

    I have actually seen a Rain or two, and quite possibly a Cinnamon. Fang is a Chinese surname, although not so common in Shanghai. Fang, did you choose your name because you are long in the tooth? Is the aging process getting to you or is there something else you would like to reveal? Warrop, how did you get your moniker “warrop”??? I can’t figure it out backwards either even though I get your barista name.

  5. klab

    Oooh! MK! Just catching up on all thing blog. Love your new question-of-the-day. Fun. And sorry about bread. Does rye bread count? Pita bread? Tortillas? You should know that Kate gave up snuggling for lent. I put the kibash (sp?) on that — as we’re not even Catholic & isn’t the sacrifice supposed to bring you closer to God? And isn’t God all about love? And isn’t snuggling an expression of love? She wisely switched to giving up the computer.

    In any case, my Chinese Barista name would be… Fawn. [not Fern. A close second]

  6. Klab: Fawn = bringing out the inner Bambi? I am talking about the Hugh Hefner kind.

  7. Besides Handicap, one of my recent favorites is Funkle. However, this week I did meet a kid in our office named Trim. Interesting.

  8. mom43longs

    My favorite one has to be Yummy. Each time she answers the phone at my husbands office she states – “Hello, I am Yummy” I love it!

  9. warrop

    Ask Winnie which one of my brothers could not pronounce my name…….that is how it came out. I am trying to reach back in to my youthful past.

  10. Winnie

    It was Mr. Understanding of course!

  11. Oh, my, I am laughing over Yummy, Bea! I’d forgotten that one. My Starbucks run yesterday served up: Tonny (male), Ken (also male), Fish (female) and Fei (female).

    Where, oh where, is PAL on this subject? I am going to have to call and complain.

  12. PAL

    Where’s PAL? well, I was laying in bed, drinking coffee, watching RENO 911 on HBO, of course. I’ll have to consult with Mr. Nuts and Bolts and get back to you because nothing is coming to mind.

  13. Mood Ring Mama

    Yummy and Funkle – hilarious!!!

  14. maria

    I would keep mine.Maria would be unique in China ….

  15. PAL

    my chinese barista name would be “steamy”

  16. Note to all: today I went back to this Starbucks. I stan-d corrected – the barista’s name is Stanley. Spring was her co-worker.

    Maria: I have yet to see a Maria – you are correct!

    PAL: not “Foamy” or “Frothy”? Ask Mr. N&B his answer.

  17. KT

    I’m leaning toward Bubba…I have actually met two people here with that name…I thought it was a nickname, but it is for real. It is growing on me.

  18. Mr. Understanding

    Trip to Starbucks today:

    Echo and Key. This was the second Echo I’ve met in China. Kind of resonates.

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