Monday, June 8, 2009

The Nickname People

I was named after an Audrey Hepburn movie. For the most part I have always liked my name (other than the day in third grade when some fifth graders decided to call me submarine). There are people in the world who like to use nicknames, and those who don't. I come from nickname people-- from my family it is so rare for me to hear my full name that I tend to associate it with being in trouble. My dad calls me all of the nicknames that dads tend to call little girls-- Dolly and Princess and a hundred other names. My whole family mostly calls me Brie, and in fact my brother called me Sabrina a few years ago and it the sound was so jarring it was like he had slapped me because I have so rarely heard him say it. Likewise, in our nearly twelve years together, my husband only has called me Sabrina when referring to me to someone else. The nicknames between us have changed over the years. Among other things, he usually will call be Brini or B, or some ridiculous variation such as Breezle, or else he makes up strange names for me on the spot, often based on animal names (Kitty, Bunny etc.) I called him Marcky for a long time until my mom started calling him that too, but over the years he's been Ducky and Mo and Reggie (long story). Childhood friends mostly call me Brina. I once had a high school teacher call me Sab-ri which I hated, and a youth group leader call me Saby which I wasn't wild about either. I have a long name-- I get that shortening it is easier.

What I don't get is this: Not one person whom I have met after the age of 18 has called me by a nickname. Even when I tell people that lots of people call me Brie or Brina, or they hear Marc call me Brini, still people near and dear to me call me Sabrina and nothing else. Perhaps the adult version of myself suits my entire name? Or else there is something formal about myself that prevents people from calling me by a nickname?

Meanwhile, I continue to shorten names of those around me-- Laura being Lu, my brother Darren being D, Megan is Megs, and even the already ridiculous names for my chickens get shortened to nicknames, Miss Kitty and I are on a first name basis now and she is simply Kitty, while Muffin is Muffy and Liz Lemon is simply Lizzie.

Perhaps I can be like the artist formerly known as Prince and change my name to the nutritionist formerly known as Sabrina and just instead be a symbol-- perhaps a picture of asparagus?

1 comment:

CAROL said...

My husband is a nicknamer and has been given a million nicknames in his life. It's just his style and one way he relates to people and people relate to him.

I have a name that almost defies being shortened, but have been called CJ or Carol Jean (which is even longer, so go figure).

I tend to call people by the name they introduce themselves with, and have only nicknamed a few people in my life if they are very close to me. For some reason, I feel like it's presumptuous to mess with people's names, so I leave them alone.