Why, Why, Why do people feel the need to assign nicknames to each other?
It might surprise you to know that people you call by some bizarre version of their actual name grind their teeth every time you say it?
Granted, our parents chose our birth moniker and most of us hated our given names as kids. We either complained that our handles made us different and got us teased, or the flip side, our names were boring. Nobody ever loved being called Griselda I am sure. But even worse some jackass kid starting to call her Grizzly in grade two and it stuck. For all eternity.
There are a few varieties of nicknames. There is the bastardization of your name, which is most common, like Barbie for Barbara, Mike for Michael, or Dick for Richard (or Richard might just be a dick… there is always that possibility).
The other type is more often assigned by your family or friends early in your life. Thus there are full grown adults still called “Pooper”, “Snotball” or “Shorty” at family reunions. Has anybody ever asked Pooper if she appreciates being reminded of the unfortunate corn incident of 1983?
The most common one however is people changing your name to shorten or make it cute. I wonder if my friend Elizabeth chooses to go by Becky or if it was foisted on her by her friends? Last I checked, she signs her name Elizabeth and doesn’t wear a headband that says “Sure, call me Becky”.
You can understand a nickname more when your name is Friedlplatz and you are from lower Bavaria so nobody in North America can pronounce it. Freddy it is.
I have been called Maggie, Mags, your Magesty, whatever. Hate them all. I don’t mind endearments though. Sweetie, Honey, Love, they are all fine. I also kind of like it when store clerks call me M’am. I earned every wrinkle and fat roll befitting my age so I feel that calling me “Miss” is kind of disingenuous. I clearly passed “Miss” 30 years ago and am now full on “M’am”. The first 20 year old that calls me “Dearie” though is going to get a punch in the throat.
I think that most people might not be as enamored with what ever nickname you use for them. Maybe “Big Cheese” isn’t what your fat friend appreciates being called. If you address your best friend by a loving nickname that they approve, then do it. Call them Binky or Poopsie and they will still love you.
I have also heard that Doctors really don’t like being addressed as “Doc”. They spent 7 to 10 years in post graduate school, they earned the full title o use it.
So I am thinking maybe we can add a new line to the book of etiquette that deals with this sort of thing. If you are going to call somebody by ANYTHING else other than how they introduce themselves, ask them permission.
May I call you Bae? (Beyonce says fuck you)