Thursday, April 07, 2011

Call me what you like

I love nicknames.

I can’t really explain exactly why I love nicknames as much as I do. I just know that I love them. I love getting them. I love getting them. I love being called by a nickname. I love calling others by their nicknames.

There’s just something about a good nickname – one with a good story behind it or one that is said with a certain intimacy behind it – that makes me happy. Nicknames are a verbal display of affection that is so subtle and so accepted and so awesome. Give me a good nickname and I’m on your team. Get a nickname from me and you’ll know to count me among your biggest fans.

I’ve always adored it when a boy elects to call me Aly – generally used exclusively by my family, Lucy and Colleen – instead of Alyson. Or when a soccer teammate calls me Al. Or when my boss comes up with something new and random to call me. Which usually happens twice per day (see: Alistair, Average Al and, my personal favorite, Rhonda.)

At my workplace – which full of jocks – nicknames are very commonplace. Nearly everyone has one standard nickname that is used by nearly everyone in the company. I like it. Except when I saw a customer’s eyes bug out when she heard my coworker call me by my nickname, which she misheard as “asshole.” Awkward.

It probably comes as no surprise that I’ve given far more nicknames to my sister, Meg, than to anyone else in my life. From Meg to Meggles to Monkey to Bubba and My Little Pony – she’s easy to nickname because I know her so well. Maybe that’s the reason that I like nicknames. They’re verbal proof of closeness to anyone who may overhear. I don’t call just anyone “Ladybug,” but that’s what I’ll call Colleen or Lucy or one of my cousins when the time is right.

A note to young lovers everywhere: nicknames are different from pet names. The difference being that pet names are overused and obnoxious and generally lacking in any sort of creativity. Pet names are the ones that make other people want to vomit. Nicknames do not. (If you are not sure whether you’re using a pet name or a nickname, please leave a comment and I will happily serve as judge, juror and executioner on this matter.)

Anybody else have a passionate love affair with something so tiny and insignificant and intangible? Tell me. Help a girl feel a little less crazy.


Anonymous said...

Oh my word, I LOVE nicknames and at the job before my last I had nicknames for everyone. I didn't do it at my last job and I think it was because I never really connected with anyone there. Anyway...yes, Rob and I have a pet name but we also have nicknames..Roberto, Robair. Luke: Lukeybear, Lu. Bff: Bubba (inside joke) My brother: Brit..we call each other this and I do know why but it's really hard to explain so I won't. Rob thinks it's weird and doesn't get it.

Love this post!!

Theo said...

Oh my gosh I love nicknames! My online name is a nickname my Gentleman Caller gave me early in our relationship. And I love it when people call me a shortened version of my name, but that seems to happen pretty rarely. When it does, I totally get all warm and fuzzy.

Teagan B. Sawyer said...

I totally agree. I love nicknames and I remember awaiting a prized nickname in highschool as a part of cheerleading team. To be given a nickname on our team was to be bestowed an honour. So it always seems special to be given a nickname by those you are closest too :)

Thisisme said...

I LOVE NICKNAMES! My mom always jokes that if I ever fall over running on the street and the EMTs pick up my phone, they'll have no idea who to call b/c all the names in my phone are wacked! (:

I also accidently introduced my sister to a potential job as her really really nickname. They hired her as that name and she was wicked embarassed! oops

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