We gave our daughter a perfectly lovely name. One my husband and I both agreed on — agreement being something that eludes us at times — and that looks attractive and sounds attractive.
And yet, most of the time, we call her Bug.
I’ve been thinking about nicknames today. Not the obvious ones where Cynthia is shortened to Cindy or Anthony becomes Tony. No, I’ve been thinking about handles folks get stuck with for no apparent reason (usually). My mom’s family is loaded with nicknames: Pudge (the skinniest man I’ve ever met), Choppy, and Seah are a few. A dear friend of mine is known by her family as Snookie and one of our son’s good friends in high school was Frog.
Why do we give people nicknames? In our daughter’s case, it’s actually a form of endearment, short for Love Bug. But try telling that to the lady who looked at me in horror one time when said daughter was 3 or 4 and I called her “Bug” in public.
What are your thoughts about nicknames? Are you gifted/burdened with any of your own? What about your characters? Do they have nicknames?
When I was a teenager, I lived on an island in the Caribbean where everyone had nicknames. Here are a few of the ones who peopled my world: Stringbean, Rummy George, Papa Morgan, Painter, Shorty, Watchy, Lord Composer, Master Stevie and Chickenback. I love nicknames.
My nieces and nephews could not say ‘Kathy’ so I became Aunt Sassy. Kathy is what my parents called me but I’ve been ‘Kate’ since I moved out.
Now I am Aunt Sassy to my grand nieces and nephews on my husbands side of our family too.
My father was called ‘Biff’, his given name was Irving. In grade school his nick name was ‘Punch’ but a favorite uncle couldn’t remember it. However the uncle knew it some name you saw in a comic book fight…like Pow! Punch! Biff! Bang!. Obviously ‘Biff’ stuck.
We gave our daughter several beautiful names–Leah Corrina Katy Shoshana Starshine Cushman (it was the early seventies, okay?) but mostly we call her Beans.