302: Names

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I'm always so happy that I successfully navigated the introduction that I completely forget to pay attention to the name the other person told me.
Title text: I'm always so happy that I successfully navigated the introduction that I completely forget to pay attention to the name the other person told me.


Everyone has had moments where they forget someone's name, even the name of someone pretty important. This doesn't often happen with one's own significant other, however, hence the joke.

Cueball has been in a relationship with someone but does not know his girlfriend's name. He knows that the relationship has progressed to the point where asking for her name would be awkward and impolite, and so he waits for someone to call her by name. Cueball is excited when one finally does, only to reveal that they are in the middle of a wedding ceremony. It is hard to be in a relationship with someone if you don't know their name, and for said relationship to progress to the point of a wedding is simply incredulous.[citation needed]

The title-text talks about how it's sometimes tricky to say the right things during an introduction, and while making sure you don't make an incorrect response (replying to the question "How're you doing?" with "Not much," for example, mishearing the question as "What are you doing?"), one can sometimes forget to pay attention to the actual important part of the introduction: the person's name. And it's awkward to ask someone for their name when you should, by all rights, already know it.

Forgetting people's names is a frequent symptom of various social anxiety disorders, but it can happen to anybody at any time.


[Next to Cueball's foot is an object, that cannot yet be identified.]
Cueball (thinking): I hate it when I don't know someone's name, but it's been long enough that it's too awkward to ask.
[The scene is revealed to be at the altar getting married by a minister to a woman in a bridal dress. The unknown object at Cueball's foot in the first panel turns out to have been the trailing hem of the woman's wedding gown.]
Minister: Do you, Rachel, take this man...
Cueball (thinking): Aha! Rachel!

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The explanation of the title text doesn't appear to be about the title text, more like the second paragraph seems to be the title-text-explanation (a very good one at that). Anybody thinks so too? 10:55, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Yes.-- 14:22, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree with this. I've removed the line explaining the title text. Codefreak5 (talk) 19:00, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

I think that the comic is a reference to the season 4 finale of the tv show Friends, where the groom accidentally calls his fiancé Rachel during the wedding, instead of her actual name, Emily. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Name "Rachel" could just be a coincidence. I myself was reminded of the plot line in "The Junior Mint" episode of Seinfeld where Jerry forgets his girlfriend's name (Mulva/Dolores) and tries to find it out without letting on he forgot it. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

This is perfect; I know exactly how he feels! To busy trying to think of what to say to actually catch the persons name, then by the time I realize, it's too late to ask without embarrassment! 05:38, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

I had sex for the first time with a regular at the Waffle House where I was cooking. I had just gotten off shift (thus syntactically avoiding a pun), and she was like "so, wanna have sex?" and I was like "hey sure, sounds fun". I knew her name started with a Pa-, so it was probably either Pam or Pat. I called her Pa[mumble] for some time. Turned out her name was Pam. So I would give her the label off the diner's non-stick spray when she stopped in for eating. — Kazvorpal (talk) 22:52, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

Just noticed that this SMBC from four years before the above comic has the same joke, albeit not executed quite as well. It seems possible that Randall had read this at some point and forgotten about it, but also fairly likely that they each arrived at the joke independently. 06:40, 16 April 2020 (UTC)

The Transcript says: "[Next to Cueball's foot is an unknown object.]", but looking at the last panel, I thin we can safely assume that it's the wedding dress, so I'll be changing it. -- R3TRI8UTI0N (talk) 01:51, 16 January 2024 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I modified it back a bit to how it was. Viewers (and therefore readers of the Transcript, by extension) are clearly not expected to know what will be revealed, before they properly focus upon the next panel('s Transcripted description). This seems a key part of the composition (otherwise, it could have been just not fractionally drawn in at this point), so it hurts the faithfulness of the Transcript to have too much information in such a case, ironically... It already is clarified in the continuing description, to reflect how the comic image clarifies it 'later' (and I have no reason to doubt that it is the dress, once retrospectively comprehending the scene), so it's not like there was even a lack of visuality-to-prose in this regard.
I would have been compelled to remove the blatant restating, to some degree, otherwise. e.g. "An object, that is a wedding gown, can be partly seen", say, then "...at the altar with the woman in the gown". It is a clumsy and repeating description, otherwise. 05:26, 16 January 2024 (UTC)