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Wifegrit picked up a substitute teaching day at Calfgrit9’s school, for CG9’s own class. She ran the idea by him before accepting it, and he OKed it with one condition: She can’t use his nickname or his full name. Actually, what he considers his name is a nickname, itself – a shortened form of his full name. But Wifegrit also occasionally uses her own “sweet” name for him – basically his shortened name with a y on the end. (Compare to “Timothy,” “Tim,” and “Timmy.”)

He doesn’t like attention, and is easily embarrassed. He’s much like both his parents in that regard. So, he doesn’t want his classmates to know – or heaven forbid, use — any name for him other than the one he’s always gone by.

When Wifegrit and I were picking names for our boys, we wanted to avoid giving them nicknames. Unfortunately, we goofed on Calfgrit9’s name. Wifegrit wanted to name him what he considers his name, but I really liked the sound of the full-length name. So we compromised: his official/full name would be what I liked, but we would call him the shortened form. I mildly regret that, now. Although, his shortened/nick name is obvious from his full name, so it shouldn’t cause any confusion for anyone that deals with him and his name. (And it shouldn’t be embarrassing for him, but he’s so sensitive about any attention.)

Wifegrit and I both have nicknames we dislike. They both sound like names for 9 year old children, and we both tried to shake them during college. Hers at least is based off her full name, so few would be confused hearing it. She managed to transition from her childish nickname to her mature full name after college, and now only her close family, (including mine, her in-laws), ever use her nickname. I use it at home, but I use her full name when outside our home or around non-family people.

My name, though, is more complicated. I tried to drop my nickname during college, but I had three complications. One, my nickname had too-deep roots in my life; I was so used to it. Two, my nickname was completely unrelated to my real name, so no one would ever connect to the two names to the same person. Three, my full name is unusual, (both first and middle names), so I wanted to shorten it to something more common.

Basically, because I disliked both my unusual full name and my childish nickname, I had to pick a shortened form of my full name to serve as a better nickname. So. Damn. Complicated. I tried a transition during college, but it got weird. Some people knew one nickname, and other people knew the other nickname, and all people were confused when they heard my full name. I never really managed to make the change stick in my life. Too many people knew me by the old nickname, and explaining to them why I wanted to change was too aggravating. No one who knew my old nickname knew my full name, so the new nickname made no sense unless I explained it all. After a couple of years, I just gave up and stuck with my old nickname.

When I left college and started into my professional life, I should have attempted the change in names again. But having struggled with it previously, I just kind of didn’t bother. I dearly wish I had, though. In recent years, I’ve dabbled with using my shortened full name, but again, my nickname has too deep roots in my life. I’ve considered making the change when changing jobs, but that complicates résumés and references – no coworkers or even supervisors would recognize my shortened or full name. (Only HR departments usually know my full name.)

I’ve used my shortened full name in some situations and places. For instance, I’ve used my shortened full name at restaurants or other places where they call out to you.

I’ve used it when going to a new hair stylist, but then that got complicated and embarrassing: I slipped and used my nickname with one stylist and later had another stylist in the same salon call me by the other name. There was some confusion over why I’d give a completely different name, as if I was being secretive. *sigh* No, I just hate this name.

Yeah, my name is a mess. I really, really dislike my old nickname because it just sounds so childish. And I really dislike my full name because it’s so unusual. If I had a definite break in my life, (like moving to a different state, with all new people), I’d definitely make the change at that point. But that’s not going to happen, so I just have to accept that I’m a middle-age man with a child’s nickname, and also a 21st century man with a 19th century full name.


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