I recently wrote a post called "What's in a name?" where I talked about how I named this blog. I also discussed how a name doesn't describe who you are, but rather reminds people of who you are when they hear your name. That got me thinking about whether the same holds true for a nickname. The fact that you are usually "assigned" a nickname by friends or family members, there is a good chance that the nickname actually describes you in some way. I decided to look at a few nicknames in my family to see if that holds true.
Starting with myself, the only nickname I ever recall being given is Zach. It's a name that I had throughout high school and the only real reason I got it is because a few people thought my last name was Zach rather than my correct last name of Zahrt. After a few people made the mistake, it just stuck. I wonder if that says something about me that I don't have a string of nicknames collected over the years. Maybe the title average jester is accurate and I'm just an average guy with nothing in particular that stood out enough to generate a nickname. Who knows? I know I certainly haven't worried about it too much over the years.
My wife is another story. She has a slew of nicknames from grade school through college, but only one "real" nickname that I have given her. It's not any great secret - or overly embarrassing to her, so I will share it here. My nickname for her is Pickles. It may seem like an odd name at first glance, but rest assured, I have good reasoning behind it. It started by me calling her my little hotty...like a jalapeno. Or as we called them in Dallas, a Texas pickle. Texas pickle just doesn't roll off the tongue that well, so it quickly turned into Pickles. I have a lot of other nickname ideas for her that I will get into in a minute, but most of them probably don't have a chance of entering my daily vocabulary.
My girls have both had a number of nicknames over their short lives so far, but only two have really stuck. At various points in time, I have called both of them Pumpkin and Peanut....along with all the usuals like sweetie, honey and the all time great, rug rats. I made a valiant effort last year to "brand" them each as peanuts. It made perfect sense for me to refer to my girls as pickles and peanuts, but they wouldn't have any of it. In true big sister fashion, Ziva laid down the rules for me in regards to assigning nicknames to my girls. She made a very convincing argument that basically comes down to size. Her rationale was that because she was the big sister, she should be called Pumpkin and her little sister should be called Peanut.
That now settles the nickname decision for the girls....but what about for my wife? Have I really given her nickname enough thought? Below are a few ideas I have to toss around...including the first one which I heard on the radio this morning and got me thinking about nicknames in the first place.
The Old Ball and Chain. This is an oldie but goody.... for someone with a sense of humor anyway. After only a few minutes of thought, I came up with a rationale for using this as a possible substitute nickname. I haven't really figured out how to explain away the "old" part. Since she's turning forty next year, that might be dangerous waters. The ball and chain part is easy though. My wife is a ball...a blast...a lot of fun to be around. As far as the chain, I would gladly be chained to her for the rest of my life. That was the exact reason I married her in the first place. That brings up another nickname...
My Bride. I had a co-worker in the past who always seemed to refer to my wife as my bride, as in, "Go ask your bride if she's ok with you working on Saturday." Something about that just appealed to me. It's a nice change of pace from referring to her as "my wife" all the time. There's just something that sounds a little more special about bride rather than wife. Maybe it's because it sounds more formal? Maybe it's because it reminds me of being younger and the early days we had together right after we were married?? After being married for close to a decade, the next name could have been a possibility if she was so amazing polite.
Old Nag. Anyone who knows my wife will tell you that she is anything but a nag. She is so concerned about not hurting someone's feelings or having a confrontation, that I don't think she could even pretend to be a nag. Then again, that's what would make it such a good nickname. It would be a fun joke because it couldn't be farther from the truth. Then again, there's that word "old" again. Don't wanna touch that this year. Speaking of old....
Old Lady. This one always seemed like the old ball and chain to me until recently. My wife and I both got hooked on watching the tv show Sons of Anarchy a while back. One thing we picked up on was that the girlfriend or wife of the biker was his "old lady." I don't typically look to outlaw bikers as an example of political correctness, etiquette or politeness, but this one actually had a little bit of twisted respect to it. That title meant you don't mess with her or you'll have to deal with the hubby. The twisted respect (in the show anyway) is that once you were his "old lady" you were his main lady. (I realize the idea of mongamous relationship was lost on the bikers in the show and I'm not condoning that.) I was focusing on the manly, protector side of it. OK, maybe this one is a stretch.
Maybe I will just stick to calling her Sarah, Mom (when our girls are present) and Pickles. (Although I can't remember the last time I actually called her Pickles.) I might start referring to her as my bride - the love of my life. I'll have to think of something once she sees some of the ideas I put in the post. I can almost hear the conversation now: "But Honey, I didn't mean anything bad with the nicknames. Sweetie... You know they're all jokes in fun. Come on Babe. You know I love you." Hopefully, it goes that well. Until next time.... (hopefully)