beginnings

The artist formerly known as Jen Montes

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I’ve been called ‘Jen Montes’ for almost a decade, but it has never been my real name. My reason for using a pseudonym was pretty simple: when I first looked to buy a URL with my own name, I learned that it was currently being used by fledgeling porn star.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was taken. According to Social Security records, my first name was the second most popular girl’s name in the 1980s and my surname is the 8th most popular in the United States (and 1st among Hispanic surnames).

Clearly, I needed an alternative.

My then-husband was gracious enough to let me borrow his surname, so that’s what I’ve been using since. I even registered ‘Jen Montes LLC’ so that people could write checks to this ‘Jen Montes’ without their banks raising a fit. It was legit.

Things change though. I haven’t been married for about 3 years now, so continuing to use the name feels… odd. I think it’s time to move on.


I still can’t use my ‘real’ name though. People have been squatting on that domain since 2001 and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. To remedy this, I’ve decided to go with the nickname I’ve been using privately for a few years now: cuibonobo.

I’m proud of ‘cuibonobo’. It’s a portmanteau of cui bono and bonobo:

  • Cui bono (kwee-bow-no) roughly means, “Who benefits?” It’s a useful tool for figuring out motive.
  • Bonobos are a species of ape closely related to the chimpanzee and best known for living in matriarchal societies and resolving disputes with casual sex.

Fitting, I think.

Starting today, I will join the ranks of the mononymous. Hopefully I can live up to it.