LOS ANGELES — Hello, Caitlyn! It is my pleasure indeed to #callyouCaitlyn, as everyone #callsmeCaitlin. Yes, I, too, am a Caitli(y)n, and I’m so pleased to welcome you to the sisterhood. You’re in excellent company! Like Caitlin Lowe, another American Olympian, Caitlin FitzGerald, a talented actress currently on “Masters of Sex,” and Caitlin Macnamara, who became Caitlin Thomas when she married the poet Dylan Thomas.
When I was a child, my mom told me that I was named after Caitlin Thomas, which gave me a lifelong passion for the poetry of language one must use to pretend to know anything about Caitlin or Dylan Thomas.
The world met you, the current most-famous Caitlyn, this week on the cover of Vanity Fair. Most of the attention has been on your womanhood, and your transition, and your introduction into that special club: Famous women whose physical appearance is dissected on national television. But you join another club, too. Mine. One for women named Caitlin.
First, let’s put the whole spelling question to bed. A Caitlin is a Caitlyn is a Kaitlyn is a Katelyn. People seem to be focusing a bit on the spelling you chose — specifically the first letter “C” rather than the alternative popular among your famous family. But it’s all the same name. One of the many derivatives of Katherine, which is said to mean “pure.”
And we are pure, no matter how we spell it. I couldn’t think of a way to please everyone with the spelling — the only thing that came close was C(K)ait(ate)li(y)n(n), and that is ridiculous, so from here on out I will cede to your preferred spelling, and just call us Caitlyn when referring to us generally.
I am Caitlin Gill, and we actually have more in common than just a name. At six-foot-one, I am just shy of your height. I am just over half your age, but with my complete lack of fitness and your past as the World’s Greatest Athlete, I think we close that gap. For example, I can hear both of us saying, “Gee, I feel 50 today!” We are also both entertainers. You, at the peak of celebrity with your reality television fame and upcoming E! documentary series, and me, a stand-up comic who was in that commercial for Credit Karma.
I feel certain that there is a significant crossover between the audience for your reality show, which chronicles opulence, and my ad, which was targeted at people who are concerned about their credit score. As an entertainer, I want to thank you for breaking down barriers with your magazine cover. You have been on this planet longer than any other woman to grace the cover page on her own (that’s the nicest way I could think to say that you’re the oldest). This gives me, a Caitlyn for whom fame is taking its time, great hope for my own future.
Caitlin has served me very well as a name, I hope it does the same for you. It’s a beautiful name, and it’s fun to say excitedly. CAITlyn! It just pops! Shout it from the rooftops! Or to your millions of followers on the fastest-growing Twitter account ever created!
It is not only fun to say Caitlyn, it is fun to be a Caitlyn. Especially as an adult. The name Caitlyn on a child fits sort of like a mom’s business suit. It’s cute, but we can’t fully own it until we’re grown.
You are never alone as a Caitlyn. Certainly not since what appears to be thePeak Caitlyn Saturation of 1998. We share a very popular name. By the time I was in high school, every elementary school in the country was brimming with Caitlyns. It was not as big when I was born in 1981, early in the trend (way to be ahead of the curve, Jill and Alan). But I have known other Caitlyns for most of my life. Though there appear to have been fewer than five Caitlyns born in your birth year, I’m sure you are comfortable with sharing a name with other people. You were known for most of your life as Bruce, and 1949, the year you were born, was very near Peak Bruce Saturation. I’m sure you’ll have no problem sharing Caitlyn with the rest of us.
The only trouble I run into as a Caitlyn is the aforementioned problem of spelling. Our name is a word that most people are perfectly comfortable saying, but almost no one is confident in writing down. For someone tasked with penning our name, it hits the ear like “entrepreneur” or “bureau.” Their hands freeze and begin to sweat as the swirl of possible spellings floods their mind. You’ve sidestepped this issue, I imagine, with worldwide fame.
So I think you’ll enjoy Caitlyn very much. If you ever want to talk Caitlyn to Caitlin, we both live in the Los Angeles area, and I’m always available to help out another Caitlyn. Especially one that just changed the world.