I remember growing up jealous of people who went by nicknames. It seemed like it was a way you could still keep your parents happy (they got to name you after all) and yet carve out a little personal identity for yourself. My girlfriend was named Melissa but you called her Missy; Pamela was Pam, Katherine was Kathy, and the boy next door named Juan Ismael Rolando was called Pepino. Go figure.
My sisters and I had short names that did not lend to shortening further with a nickname. Although we fantasized about having other names altogether. We practiced with our Barbie dolls. Mine was always named Joanna. Sometimes when mom got really mad we were called by our first, middle and last names at once; that’s when you knew you were in for it. Occasionally I’d experiment with calling myself by my middle name and see if it would catch on. No dice.
I envied the guys with names so long, they had serious options. Leonardo. Leonard. Leo. Lenny. Len. What about all of my Hispanic friends? They had so many names to choose from! Sometimes even Maria Yolanda Leticia Mendez Rodriguez couldn’t tell me which ones were middles and which ones were last names.
My girlfriends came to the rescue. I made the mistake of whining out loud about it once and was instantly granted two nicknames for whenever I was feeling un-special.
Jolie Frijole. And also, Jolie Guacamole. Oh yeah. That’s special, all right.
Fast forward to naming my own children and I realize I deliberately chose names that would not be nicknamed! I distinctly recall feeling horrified that if I named my son James, he would instantly be called Jim by the world and there was no way to stop them. I love the name James. I can’t stand the name Jim. No offense to all you Jims out there, but if I name a kid James, then James it has to be. The one son I went out on a limb with lets himself be called by both his birth name and a nickname interchangeably and doesn’t seem to have a preference.
Deciding on which name to use on forms is always a question. Too many name options can get confusing fast and the last thing you want to do to your teacher, the IRS or immigration (but perhaps not the police?) is confuse them. Is your nickname an alias? Maybe a nom de plume? Do you have different groups of friends that call you different names, depending on who you’re with?
This was a fun idea as a kid. Sounds exhausting from an adult point of view.
I was Jolie before Angelina Jolie was. I have to give credit where credit is due. Once she became a household name, the barista at Starbucks began spelling my name correctly. Even more times than she could spell Joanna.
Why not just tell them your name is Nachooooooooooo…. and be done with it?