Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Musings on Nicknames

When my cousin was about 10, he informed the family that he was now to be known as Charles. My response? "Oh, that's nice, Charlie." And at least I didn't still call him "Cha-Cha". :)

But now I have been thinking about nicknames recently. I've got an impossibly hard to pronounce first name that's Swedish and most Americans have never seen it before. My brother as a small child came up with a nickname for me which is the first three letters of my name. And friends and family call me that as a term of endearment. But, I don't introduce myself as that, I use my full first name. And it's very weird for me when people introduce me as my nickname because it makes it seem as if they are instantly elevated to the status of family member or close friend. It's as if they are calling me "honey" but not in a good way but in a creepy way. I instantly stick out my hand and sort of reintroduce myself with my longer real first name but people don't seem to get the hint, maybe it's too subtle since I don't want to hurt the feelings of the friend introducing me.

I got an email today addressed to my nickname by someone I don't know that well who must have been introduced to me this way. And, I don't think I have ever heard my in-laws call me by my actual name, probably because Ryan usually calls me "hon" and things so they don't get to hear it much.

What's funny is, I do have a work nickname that I don't mind a bit- "B". My office buddies talk to me and about me with just one letter and I'm fine with that. I even sign emails "-B". This worked out well in my old office but now it's confusing because my current boss and another co-worker share that initial. Now I've got newfound empathy for those Bobbys out there who just want to be called Robert.

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