Batman jokes and adoring fans: What it's like to be called Christian Bale
‘Do you have a reservation?’ the restaurant host asked, politely.
It was Thanksgiving and I was studying abroad in Paris. I had invited my group of American friends to celebrate, having called around to find a restaurant that was serving the traditional turkey dinner.
‘It’s under Christian Bale.’
‘Oh!’ she said. Her face fell but she quickly tried to regain her professionalism.
It turned out some of the waitresses who weren’t on the schedule that night had stopped by in hopes of catching a glimpse of Christian Bale, the actor.
Instead, they got Christian Bale, the college student.
When I make reservations today, I usually don’t think twice about booking under my name. I enjoy the banter and the smiles it brings people. It’s never my intention, though, to dupe hopeful restaurant staff.
Most of my early life, I was unaware I shared my name with a celebrity. I was 13 when a teacher played the 1994 adaptation of Little Women.
After she told me that one of the leads was named Christian Bale (he played Laurie), I wrote him a letter to express what I thought would be shared excitement. I haven’t heard back – yet.
In college, a couple years after The Dark Knight was released, I couldn’t shake the Batman moniker. This was brand new to me since my high school friends never used the nickname.
I was amused the first few times I heard it, but to my dismay, I was becoming ‘Batman’ to many – even professors.
In retrospect, it’s not the worst nickname (no offense to any Ant-Mans out there).
I do refuse to say, ‘Where are they?’ in the Batman voice, though (I can, and it’s a great impression, but it has gotten old).
The real issues for me involve social media. In the days of MySpace, I was deluged with messages from adoring and misled fans.
Even worse, on some of my platforms, I had the username Christian ‘Danger’ Bale just to be silly. This was a mistake. Not because the name isn’t hilarious – it is, and I still use @ChristanDangerBale on Instagram – but because I was stuck with it.
As I prepared for college, I tried to drop ‘Danger’ from my Facebook profile to be a bit more professional. Facebook refused for months. After many entreaties, they relented only after I agreed to send in a copy of my birth certificate.
There are upsides too, though. After graduate school, I had the great honor to work for the Obama White House in the Office of Management and Budget.
While I was there, First Lady Michelle Obama organized a wellness week for the staff, which included a step challenge, using step counters to track our progress.
Screens with the leaderboard – about 400 competitors total – were posted all throughout the White House complex.
My famous name made me a favorite among the Secret Service. Every time I walked in for work, they’d say, ‘Let’s go, Batman,’ or ‘Keep it up, Batman!’
With the Secret Service spurring me on, I gave it my all. For five days I ran eight miles in the morning, three at lunch, and eight after work. It was exhausting, but I finished the week strong.
When my parents came for a West Wing tour at the end of the week, I was proud to show them my name at the top of the list (but only by a couple of miles!).
During the pandemic, the name drama has temporarily fallen by the wayside. I’ve stayed fairly isolated during Covid-19 with my girlfriend and our two dogs.
Although the repose from jokes has been a pleasant breather (aside from my girlfriend giving me Batman socks for Christmas), I’m looking forward to a future when bartenders once again do a double take when they check my I.D. card.
Hello, My Name Is…
It’s not easy having the same name as someone, or something, famous.
In Metro.co.uk’s weekly Hello, My Name Is… series, we’ll hear the funny, surprising and frankly mundane stories of people whose parents really didn’t know what they were getting their children into.
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