Paris plus Paris? Oh, please, spare us

Do matching names doom this marriage?

Commentary

June 01, 2005|By Abigail Tucker | Abigail Tucker,SUN STAFF

What a pair ... is.

Heiress Paris Hilton, 24, has announced her engagement to 27-year-old Paris Latsis. Any other girl could be forgiven for swooning over this Greek bachelor, whose family is collectively worth about $7.5 billion, but Hilton is playing with fire.

Famous people with the same name should never even date. Remember the sad history of Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz, whose courtship clearly left both traumatized -- how else to explain the Katie Holmes fiasco, or Penelope's flight into the arms of Matthew McConaughey? Or worse, consider the fate of Evelyn and Evelyn Waugh, who -- throughout their brief and unhappy union -- were reportedly known to friends as "Hevelyn and Shevelyn."

Similar questions of nomenclature now surround this latest twin set. Will she take his name, leaving high society doubly blessed with two Paris Latsises, but bereft of even a single Paris Hilton? Even if she keeps her name, what will we call them: Parisians? Parisi? Parisites? Will they share a password? Inquiring Sidekick hackers want to know.

More pressing than the marriage's semantics, though, are its sweeping implications for humanity. People named Paris have a long history of social irresponsibility, particularly those who hail from the Mediterranean region that Paris Latsis calls home. The fall of Troy is typically pinned on the beautiful Helen, but it was her lover, Paris, who stole her from the Spartan king, and then -- thousands of years later -- tormented classics scholars by taking the form of Orlando Bloom in the recent epic movie Troy.

It was a lesser-known Paris, too, who in Verona helped doom the most lauded love affair of all time -- that of Romeo and Juliet, paramours whose names, you will recall, were different enough to become a point of familial contention. In any case, Shakespeare's lustful Paris would not wait until Juliet hit 14 to woo and marry her, and in his haste triggered a tragic chain of events that ended in self-inflicted wounds and a clammy tomb.

In modern times, we've had to deal with Maryland's own Parris Glendening, who -- whatever his political skills -- reportedly had an extramarital affair while serving as governor. And less local but more worrisome is Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, daughter of the pajama-sporting pop star on trial accused of molesting an adolescent cancer patient. This little Paris' destiny has yet to play out. One can only imagine what the intersection of the Jackson legacy and the Paris curse portends -- the apocalypse, perhaps? And if young Paris Jackson doesn't succeed in wrecking the world, surely the spawn of Paris squared will do the trick. A table-dancing, sex-tape-starring, teacup-Chihuahua-toting beast is slouching toward Bethlehem. In stilettos. Now that's hot.

But wait. Though potentially ruinous for civilization, the Paris-and-Paris marriage deserves plaudits as a revolutionary marketing strategy. Ms. Hilton is, after all, a woman with her own perfume, television show, modeling gig, acting career, nightclub and jewelry brand, and she's expected to unveil signature handbags, boutique hotels and energy drinks as well. Paris-branded husbands are the obvious next step. And why not? Latsis is likely the earliest model in a long, long line.

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