I’m Karen, not ‘a’ Karen

A headshot of Karen Gottschall
Hi! I’m Karen. Not “a Karen.”

My name is Karen. It was the ’60s and Karen was a perfectly nice name. (My parents named my sister Sharon. Yes, Karen and Sharon, like I said, it was the ’60s.) It was such a nice name that there were three Karens in my first-grade class alone.

It served me well, easy to spell, no confusing nickname and things were good.

Fast forward 50 years…

I blame it on the internet. Suddenly, “you’re such a Karen” insults are viral! Wait, What?

I don’t even remember how it started, but I think there was a very specific hairstyle involved. And I never even had that haircut, not even once.

Sure, I occasionally ask to speak to the manager, but only on rare occasions and for very appropriate reasons. And when I do, I am always polite and smile. No spitting or yelling or finger pointing, not at all.

So here I am. Hesitant to give my name when I meet someone for fear that they will judge. “I’m Karen but not ‘a’ Karen.”

A church sign that reads "Yes, Jesus even loves 'Karen' maybe we should do the same."
A church sign in the South Hills.

When someone makes a snide comment or insult, calling someone a Karen, I want to protest! But then I’m afraid I’m falling into a trap. Isn’t that what a Karen would do? Oh look, the Karen is protesting and making a scene again. So, I stay quiet and suffer my fate in silence. I keep thinking that one day it will pass, just as quickly as it came. Maybe in five or 10 years another name will take its place and everyone will forget the whole Karen debacle of the late 20-teen’s.

Yes, there is hope! Then I think of all the poor Dicks out there, who paved the way for the Karens, and my hopes are dashed.

But despite everything, I like my name. It’s been a faithful companion my entire life, guiding me through every form I’ve ever had to fill out. From birth certificate, kindergarten enrollment, driver’s license, college applications, marriage license, library card and AARP membership, it has served me well and I must hold my head high!

I will forge ahead and show the world that Karens can be better, and good, and kind, and offer a smile instead of a complaint. I must be a trailblazer for all the nice, perfectly normal Karens out there. I’m Karen, not Karen!