On having a nickname, or not

On Mom’s side, nobody really does nicknames.* I think it’s because Grandma didn’t like being called “Little Helen” when she was a girl. The aunt who raised her was named Helen as well. Then again, my grandfather, William, was never Will or Bill or Billy or any other variant. There was something utterly formal about them, and that trickled down through the generations. My mother and her siblings all got short names that would be hard to shorten. (Mary, Jane, Paul, and John. Why yes, they were Irish Catholic, for the most part.)

So I never took to nicknames myself, plus my name doesn’t necessarily lend itself to abbreviation. I’ve been more or less adamant that no, I don’t have a nickname, dammit!

But I have had two nicknames over the years.

My two very oldest friends both called me Laney, both came up with it independently some years apart. Stacy I first knew in 3rd grade, and we were very close then, less so later, but close enough that it was okay by me if she called me by a short name. Thao was my best friend in junior high, and very close in high school; since then we’ve been in touch intermittently but always very good friends. And besides, Thao’s the kind of person that if she’s decided that was my nickname, then that was my nickname. 🙂

C’s group of friends has known each other since elementary and junior high school, and they all have nicknames for each other, sometimes two or three of them. So there was no way, as I became part of the gang, that I was going to avoid a nickname. (B once called me “Mrs. Turbo,” using one of C’s nicknames, but that didn’t really count.)

Funnily enough, the one that stuck is the one that would’ve been absolutely impossible when I was living at home: E. Just the letter “E” all by itself; at home, I was the oldest of three “E” girls, and I never even just used two initials for anything, always all three to tell my initials apart from my sisters’.

But I find I like it, at least with that group. It’s a sign that I’ve been absorbed into the gang, and I appreciate it.

* Dad’s side, by contrast, is all shortened names: Jim, Mel, Susie/Beth, Bill, Billy, etc., etc. But I spent most of my childhood around Mom’s side of the family.