the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Her Real Name


I was IMing with — let’s call her BlogGirl. We were talking about nothing in particular.

“Blogging… Crocs… my husband snores… Sophia… blah blah blah.”

“OK, I’m going to sleep, BlogGirl,” I said. “Or is it Vivian?” I added as I looked at the profile name on her blog.

“Actually, my real name is Beth.”

“Oh… hi, Beth. Nice to meet you.”

In the past year, I’ve emailed and IMed with bloggers around the world. I’ve discussed topics as diverse as death and dildos. But this was the single-most intimate moment with another blogger that I’ve ever had.

I had been blogging with BlogGirl for a year and I didn’t know her name.

Does anyone else want to tell me their real name?   If you email me it, I promise to delete it immediately and completely forget it by tomorrow.

Oh, and my real name is Neil.


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Hip and Unhip Cartoon Icons


  1. V-Grrrl

    Oh sure, like we’re supposed to believe that someone would name their kid something weird like NEIL? Ha! I think you’re really an Arthur (after your dad) or a Herbert or a Harvey or a Joel ; )

    My real name is on my blog–and all over the Internet..,

  2. Neil

    Now that I think about it, other than Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Neil Simon, Neil Armstrong, and Cornelius in ‘Planet of the Apes’ (Neil is derived from Cornelius), I can’t think of another Neil. I’ve never met another Neil. What were my parents thinking?

  3. Ash

    My real name is errr… Ash…. Maybe Neil is really a Hubert or a Neville.

  4. Wendy

    My real name is Delilah..i’ve been lying to you all along – such is the life of a secret porn star..

  5. Neil

    Delilah/Wendy — When are you going to write some posts about your nights with Samson?

  6. Jack Yan

    I know a few Niels and Nils, and I don’t even live in Europe!

  7. justrun

    When I’m ready, you’ll be the first to know. Deal?

  8. scott

    My real name is Salman Rushdie.

    PLEASE don’t tell anyone.

    Hello, Neil.

  9. Neil

    Justrun — Dammit! This whole post was a gimmick to learn your name. The mystery is driving me crazy.

  10. Hart

    Once you get online, you get so wrapped up in the world there, you forget whom you are – or at least that the people you start calling friends have never actually seen you, nor do know any identificative things about you: name, where you work, where you went to school… it’s amazing, really, how good friends you can become with someone without knowing them. But then again, you get to know the essential things – their hopes and dreams and true feelings about anything – and what does a name matter at that point?

    Aparently, quite a lot… 🙂

  11. The Retropolitan

    Only four bloggers know my real name (not including people I was friends with before blogging), and you’re one of them. But my Catholic confirmation name shall forever remain under wraps.

    Wait, what’s your middle name, Neil?

  12. fringes

    I already emailed you my real name last week. After “knowing” you only a day or so. Was I supposed to wait a year? I’m such a slut sometimes. Crap.

  13. Caryn

    My name is Neil, too.

  14. Kevin

    My name is Sophia. Nice to make your acquaintance.

  15. Pearl

    Could a Pearl be anything other than a Pearl?
    My Hebrew name is what keeps people guessing, though…

  16. Charming, but single

    Uh, you have my PERSONAL messenger name (not the one I publish on my blog) and you’re one of three or four bloggers who has seen my sexy hotness of a picture. And you know my real name, I just think that you forgot it …

    Sigh. Men!

  17. Lou P.

    It seems a bit silly to me when people blog under fake names. But to each his own, I suppose…

  18. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Actually, the nature of my life and what I would blog about would require me to keep it anonymous. But since all of my secrets are still secret and I am a loser without a blog, I can openly go by Heather.

  19. Denise

    I’m not original or creative enough to create a fake name to blog under, so what you see is what it is.

  20. the Yearning Heart

    I like you use my real name in my e-mail address, and like you I add my little nickname, the one my uncle-who- doesn’t-have- a-computer secretly called me.
    I would have my mom’s nickname for me, which was Pattycake, but it was taken.

  21. The Retropolitan

    Lou: Some of us would hate to have our family or prospective employers find our blogs.

    Plus, it makes me feel like a superhero.


    Now that you speak of the intamacy of learning someone’s real name, I wish I’d saved mine for a big reveal.

  23. TWM

    My real name is David, Neil. Unfortunately, now that I have told you, I must kill you.

  24. V-Grrrl

    What? You mentioned Neil Diamond and Neil Sedaka and not NEIL YOUNG!

    “Tell Me Why”

  25. Tara

    My name is Beth Neil. Just kidding. I use my real name on comments and sometimes even in my blog. It does make me nervous to think that employers and certain extended family members might stumble across it. For comments, I use my real name. Since I live in Iowa, it’s not like I have to worry about creepy stalkers coming here to find me – no one is that crazy.

  26. ms. sizzle

    You know my real name already. Our intimate moment has come and gone my friend.

  27. Karl

    OK, I’m trusting you, dude. You’re gonna delete this comment, right? My real name is Gwendolyn.

  28. Michael

    Make Mine Murgatroid

  29. tiff

    call me….loretta.

  30. Celina

    I DO read day-old blogs. See, I think Sophia looked great in that pic (Darn, I missed the show). I HATE crocs (I believe they are only appropriate for gardening in the rain). And, my name really is Celina. 🙂

  31. femme_despoir

    You mean that the time I questioned your masculinity was not the most intimate moment? I’m crushed I tell you, just crushed.

    Hi, Neil. My name is XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX.

  32. Neil

    Ms. Sizzle — yes, you did tell me your real name already. So, our intimate moment HAS passed, like a one night stand at a cheap motel. But it was fun, right?

    The funny thing is that once you learn someone’s name, you’re so used to the alias, you continue to use it.  I still say and think Ms. Sizzle.  I wonder if two bloggers got married — like make believe we got married — whether I would still feel more comfortable calling you Ms. Sizzle for the rest of our lives.

  33. Brooke

    I don’t even know Ms. Sizzle’s real name!!

    Also, my name is Ed. Sorry bout that.

  34. egan

    My real name is Eganopher.


  35. AWE

    I am with The Retropolitan, I get to be a superhero in blogland.

    Just call me A for short.

  36. Alissa

    My real name is Alissa – now my blog loses some of it’s mystery doesn’t it?

  37. laurie

    Janet. Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.

  38. eeekat

    I second the Neil YOUNG glitch–how COULD you???!!!

  39. Neil

    Dear Mr. Neil Young,

    My sincerest apologies. Rock-n-Roll will Never Die!


  40. Melissa

    I dated a guy once for three months and he never got my name right. I put it down to his being really deep and profound. It’s bullshit, but I’m sticking with it.


  41. chantel

    I go by my real name. Chantel is such a stripper name so no one beleives me anyway.

  42. Wendy

    My name is Wendy. But I’m still considering changing it to Blanche.

  43. Danny

    I tried being anonymous for about a day on my blog but I am far too narcissistic.

    I’m waiting for someone to say “Bond. James Bond” but your readers are more clever than that. My favorite so far is “Janet. Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.”

    Do you really IM with some of your readers, Neil? I’ve never IMed in my life and the whole concept creeps me out. I find it difficult enough to end a phone call, how on earth do you get out of these IM chats once they’ve begun? I worry that if I ever IMed someone I’d lose all track of time and end up like Mark Harmon on “St. Elsewhere” when that woman he met cut his face with a razor blade between her teeth. Am I showing my age again with these references?

  44. justrun

    That’s what’s driving you crazy? Yeah, sure it is.

  45. Lynn

    I have a job to protect!

  46. Neil

    Danny — I hate IM, too. I never did it until I started blogging. I’m anal about spelling mistakes and I cringe at all the spelling errors I make while IM-ing.

    And there is no easy way of ending a conversation…

    Lynn — If Lynn is not your real name, why didn’t you pick a more exotic name for your fake one, something that sounds more like a stripper, like Chantel.

    Retropolitan — I forgot your real name already!  I bet you Sophia remembers.  Women remember those things.  And my middle name is Scott.

  47. The Retropolitan

    Aha! My secret is once again safe!

  48. mckay

    all these names are confusing me.

  49. egan


  50. V-Grrrl

    Keep blogging–Rust never sleeps….

  51. Blonde Vigilante

    My name is Mackenzie. Damn, that was liberating. Okay, not really…but, now you know. If anybody tries to tell me how they just named their kid Mackenzie or how their grandkid (who am I kidding, do grandma’s blog?) Mackenzie, I will scream. I get that at least once a week. My name is so unoriginal that it’s not even funny.

    Sorry, I had to vent.

  52. Heather B.

    This post makes me wish I were anonymous. But really, I have the most unexciting name ever on the face of the planet. EVER.
    The worst part? I am so not a Heather.
    Thanks for making me feel awesome about myself Neil!

  53. Sandra

    I’m actually Sandra — who knew?! Honestly, I might use a fake name if I had it to do over again but…nah. I’m really not all that 007.

  54. Non-Highlighted Heather

    I used to hate the name Heather. In fact, all through high school and a couple years after, I went by a completely different name. What is it that you think a Heather is, Heather B.? I wonder if it’s the same thing that I used to think.

  55. ashbloem

    You know my real name, but you haven’t IM’d with me! I feel sadness and misery over this. All the times we could have shared…

  56. egan

    I won’t be ignored Neil.

  57. eeekat

    that’s better! thank you.

  58. ChickyBabe

    My name is Jacinta Harris.

  59. Miss Syl

    My name is Earl.

  60. Miss Syl

    Oh, and Neil, if you use a Mac (and everyone should), you can use Adium, which spell checks as you type in IM (it’s also cross-client, so you can put all your IM IDs, accounts, and contacts together into this one program, which is nice and tidy).

  61. Fitena

    You know my real name. Fitèna is not really a nickname since that’s how all my namesakes are called in Sudan. Also Fatooma (pronounced Fat – oo- ma). In Cote d’Ivoire they call me Fati, Fatou, Fatmata, Fanta. In Niger they called me Fatiti. Neil, you call call me whatever.
    A friend just adviced me to rename my blog after my name and that it’s going to increase my stats. I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about.

  62. Neil

    Thanks to those who told me their real names. I’ve forgotten them already.

  63. velma

    learned too late I shouldn’t have used my real name – so now I have ‘edna’ heheh lounge-sitting. Only because I acquaint with short-attention spanners like myslef who wouldn’t read the whole page anyway. At least no one knows my last name is Mi …wait a minute…

  64. BA

    Not yet…but maybe someday…

  65. Rabbit

    I told you my real name once. You said it didn’t suit me. Then I’m sure you promptly forgot it.

  66. party girl

    Those moments when I IM, email, with someone from the blogworld and something slips out, or you have a ‘real’ moment. Yeah. Wow.

    By accident (my own accident) a few weeks ago a fellow blogger found out my real name. Suddenly, there were no more walls.

  67. Sarah

    You already know my real name(yes the name on my emails to you is my real name)…I am far too honest for my own good, typically, but so far nothing creepy has happened.

  68. Sarah

    Oh, and are you on Yahoo IM?

  69. Anomie-Atlanta

    My screen name actually suits me much better than my given name. 🙂

  70. Dating Dummy

    I think you just might be the modern day equivalent of Oscar Wilde.

  71. introspectre

    I do believe you are one of the very few who know my real name. And who’ve seen actual pictures of me.

    If I’m ever out that way, I wouldn’t miss meeting you for the world. Just so you know.

    I recently met one of the readers of the sex blog. It was…nerve racking and wonderful fun.

  72. Priss

    What do you call a guy with no legs at your front door?


  73. Geeky Tai-Tai

    I’ve never really hidden my name as a blogger. Initially, my blog was for my family and friends, but as I got more involved with it, I developed an identity as Geeky Tai-Tai. I’m not really geeky per se because I don’t know a thing about coding, but I know a heck of a lot more about the internets than my family and friends. Tai-tai, yes, I am technically a tai-tai. It’s really a derogatory word for rich, lazy, Caucasian women. OK, I’m not rich, but I am Caucasian and kinda lazy. :0)

    My mom was quite young when she had me and named me after Paul Anka’s song, “Diana”. My middle name is Lynn, after an actress, Diana Lynn. I’m very grateful that she chose such a pretty name for me. I’ve always been happy with it, and I HATE IT when people call me DIANE! I am not Diane, I am DianUH! dorfwads!

  74. Michael

    Michael or usually just Mik, that be me.

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