How Legally Changing My Name To ‘Spider Mann’ Ruined My Life

"Hi, my name is Spider Mann."

That's how Mr. Mann introduces himself. Yes, it is his legal name (we checked his ID). No, his parents did not give it to him.

"They weren't that creative or cool," Spider says. "I was almost named Elijah Blue" -- after Gregg Allman and Cher's son, because they were, in fact, a little cool -- "but instead was saddled with a severe amount of hand-me-down family names, none of which fit me in any way. As I went through life, I garnered the nickname 'Spider,' and when I graduated high school, that is who everyone knew me as. Eventually, I decided to make it official."

Spider found out that it is possibly too easy to legally change your name.

"$114.95, two pages filed, a judge signed off, posted it at the courthouse for two weeks, and boom, new name. I changed the whole thing, thinking to myself 'I'm gonna have some fun with this. Why NOT go full bore Spider-Man? This is gonna be great!'"

Spoiler: It wasn't great.

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The first bump in the road: online dating. To Spider's surprise, once he got to real-life introductions, not many dates were down to get it on with a Spider.

"The ones that didn't immediately block me ... wouldn't believe me no matter what I said," he says. "The ones who decided it might be a fun little game I was playing would go on a date where I would get to show them both my driver's license and my employee ID from the branch of state government I worked for. Many still didn't believe it."

And one just plain wouldn't accept it: "They were not having it, yet went all the way to a third date," Mann says. "We chatted through OK Cupid, texted, met up for coffee. I showed them my IDs, they seemed to accept it and we went about learning about each other, having a nice time. Second date was more of the same. Third date was where it went off the rails ... Before we even got to put our order in, they started in on my name and asking why would I continually lie to them. They told me that they were thinking up reasons -- that I was in witness protection, was cheating on a spouse, didn't trust them, was grooming them to take money, was a serial killer or human trafficker that would get rid of them after I'd had my fun. They let loose with a barrage of reasons and each new one that escaped raised the volume of their voice until they were screaming at me."

"So ... 'no' to coffee and dessert?"

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That's not the only hiccup:

"Online registrations are canceled within minutes, tables at restaurants are canceled and given to others (makes surprise dates for partners a hassle), and renting a car is even worse," Mann says. One time, "I reserved and rented a car through Enterprise online. Confirmation email and everything in hand. I thought going through Costco Travel would eliminate the usual rigmarole, but I was wrong. A few days before [my trip], I called Enterprise to verify the reservation. The woman on the other side was nice about it, but those familiar words stating that they had canceled the reservation because they thought it was a joke came."

Even after confirming that it was not, "she stated she had remade the reservation but that I had to be on time otherwise it would get canceled again. It was a tentative reservation because they still didn't believe I existed."

And flying? Flying is hard enough for John America. For Spider Mann:

"I'm ALWAYS 'randomly selected' when I fly alone," he says. "I've been patted down aggressively, wanded, had my carry-ons searched extensively, been questioned about why I'm traveling, where I'm traveling, and even randomly selected after passing the first randomly selected pat-down procedure because a different TSA agent felt like it. This has never not happened since I've changed my name, whereas with my old name I was never selected."

Marvel Comics
"We've read what the papers write about you, menace. Full pat down."

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But that's just the price one pays to live awesome, right?

It's not over yet:

"Most of the time, my resumes/applications are thrown away or disregarded because of my name," Mann says. When he does get called in for an interview, it's usually just a joke. "The interviewers want to see if that is my real name or who the person behind the name is, although usually with no intent to actually hire me. I have gotten jobs that started [that way], but only after going over the top to prove my qualifications."

Even then ...

"I have been told that I cannot be given a promotion or a new position because of the perception of someone with my name being in that position, even though I was completely qualified."

To be fair, there's no better way to get hung up on than starting a call with: "Hello, this is Spider Mann ..."

So wait, why on Prince's purple Earth does he not just change it back, or at least to something less outlandish?

"Just saying, 'Peter Parker' is an option ..."

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"I've had discussions about this with my current girlfriend, but I am vehemently against changing it to anything else, despite all the issues that arise," he says. "I truly believe that a name is an identity ... I am strong in my feeling that this is the name that fits me and that embodies the type of person I am."

And besides, there are upsides:

"It also brightens a lot of people's days. Every day, no matter what I do, when I meet someone, there is an interaction. I can tell it makes their day that they met someone named Spider Mann."

And you know what? We admire the hell out of that. This guy made an impulsive, ridiculous, life-ruining decision, but by god, he's sticking with it -- because every once in a while, it's hilarious.

Manna is a dumber made-up name than Spider Mann and also has a Twitter.

Also check out The 9 Manliest Names In The World and The 5 Greatest Accomplishments By Men With Stupid Names.

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