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Call me what you want - just don't call me late for dinner

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:49 PM

Do you have a nickname or some shortened version of your real name? Maybe it's something obvious, like Bob or Rob for Robert. Or maybe your name is Elizabeth and people call you Lisa, Liz or Beth. Sometimes the people closest to us give us cute little pet names like Princess or Tiger.

We often give nicknames to our friends and colleges. Many times these nicknames happen spontaneously, but if you need a little help, I have a few hints.

First, try altering the name by adding suffixes like "o," "man," and "meister." This seems to work best for guys. Example: Dan becomes Dan-o, Dan-man and Dan-meister. Now take a moment and apply this nicknaming method to your own name. Excellent. Next we'll apply the finishing touch. Simply add the word, "The" before your name. Example: The Dan-meister. There you go. If this sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of "The Donald" Trump.

Women often use one of the following nicknaming methods: rhyming or repetition and the use of the letter "y." Example: Mike becomes Mikey, Susie becomes Sue-Sue. June becomes Juney June. Kimberly becomes Kimmy or even Kimmy-Kim-Kim.

You can see how quickly this gets out of hand. Most of the time it's just easier to shorten the name. I have a sister named Catherine that we simply call Cathy, sometimes I just call her Cath. My other sister is named Maureen and we call her Reeny, which is sometimes shortened to Reen. Simple!

Some nicknames happen because of specific events or out of convenience. When my sister, Cathy, (real name Catherine), had a growth spurt around fifth or sixth grade, her friends started calling her Stretch. In high school, many of her friends called her Sam, but I don't know why. Anyway, she always had cool nicknames.

I had some nicknames too. My sister and I were both in band and our director sometimes called us by our last names. My sister was McCabe and I was Little McCabe. Not too bad, I suppose.

But back when I was six, I discovered I had a nickname and didn't even know it. Stretch was in second grade and I was in first. According to her, on my first day of school, my teacher came to her classroom and wanted to know why her little sister Claudia didn't answer to her name. To this my sister replied, "Because her name is Susy!"

Well, there's your problem right there! My parents named me Claudia, but "Wake Up Little Susie" by the Everly Brothers was popular that year, so they started calling me Susy. Everybody called me Susy. Needless to say, I got off on the wrong foot with my first grade teacher.

Now I even have nicknames for my nickname, like Sue, Susy-Q, or Sues. Then there are my Claudia nicknames: Clyde, Claude and the obvious, Clodhopper. The most creative, and my personal favorite, is Claude-Susia. When people realize my name is really Claudia, they often ask if my middle name is Sue. It isn't. I could go on, but I'll spare you.

Of course, as I got older I had to use my real name on my driver's license, high school diploma, marriage license, job applications and so forth. When I had to have a background check for my job, they asked if I had any nicknames or aliases. I hadn't thought of it that way before. Alias implies so much more intrigue than a simple nickname. I like it.

Obviously, nicknames can sometimes have a dark side and thus should be employed only after the proper forms have been submitted and a two week "cool down" period has been fulfilled. Then, if you still want to call that sweet little baby Bubba, Skeeter or Dweezle, no one will stand in your way. Just remember to tell him his real name before you send him off to school.

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