From monogramming our LVs to engraving names on iPhone cases, it seems we all have an obsession with personalisation. An economic transaction between buyer and seller doesn't define ownership anymore; for something to truly be 'ours', it must have our name on it.
Self-centered? Perhaps not.
This infatuation with slapping our names on an inanimate object is not a new concept. Instead we've been conditioned to do so from a young age. When I was three, my grandmother hand stitched my chinese name on my favourite teddy bear. Now, it's that one toy I will never give as a hand-me-down to my sister.
Back in primary school, I had to write my name on every single piece of uniform I owned to prevent my forest green plaid skirt from being confused with another identical to mine. Of course, nobody wants lice so personalizing hair scrunchies were a must too.
I even overheard this on the playground.
Girl 1: You can't sit here.
Girl 2: Why not?
Girl 1: It doesn't have your name on it!
Ouch. I didn't stick around to see how that turned out.
Now that we've grown a little older (maybe not a little wiser), there's still that childish habit within us that wants to leave our mark and call something 'ours'. It's not a case of preventing lost things but more the feeling of fulfillment that we're owning something customised ... unique. That somebody took the time (even though we paid for it) to permanently engrave or print our name on something. In this world of fast fashion and mass production, being special and different is definitely something lacking.
This idea is well and truly valid until I realised how many Sharon's there are in the world.
Maybe I should've engraved my Chinese name ...