Combine Ethel and Ethan and the results are almost lethal, but not to worry because even though non-native speakers find them equally hard to pronounce, these two are never seen together.
In many things they are the inverse of each other. Ethel is, for example, tight as lips around a cigarette, tight as a perm at Saturday noon. Ethan, on the other hand, is loose, his shaggy hair uncombed. His taste tends to those baggy jeans that made boxer shorts a million.
While Ethan was the 2nd most popular boy’s name last year, Ethel was #7202 on the girls’ list. Reverse the clock by 92 years, and it’s the other way around.
Ethel and Ethan are like twins separated at birth, albeit about nine decades apart. A few years before Ethan’s popularity began its upward climb, Ethel, piece by piece, virtually dropped off the face of the earth.
Ethan is working hard to keep those pieces hidden.
Tomorrow: Nathan and Lilith.