tales of a girl in the city

décembre 21, 2005

The Pressure Of A (Nick)Name

Guys do nicknames.

They give them to one another at work, on sports teams, between friends. And they also give them to girls. I'm told they do this--at least partially--to keep track of one another's love lives. This is hilarious because the majority of guys I know only date one girl at a time, and I hardly see how remembering one additional name per friend could be difficult. But, they claim it is, and they've found nicknames to be the perfect solution.

How they go about it seems to vary. One circle of my guy friends use a girl's profession and interests to create her nickname. As a result, they talk about "The Attorney," or about me, "The Blogging Opera Singer." (Though I neither blog nor sing for a living, I was glad they chose that nickname because if I was known as "The Real Estate Agent," I don't think I could sleep at night.)

Other nicknames I've heard guys use over the years: "Haley-Bop," "Hair Donut," "Deceptacon" (the name for a girl who looks cute from far away but is actually ugly up close), and "Stumpy the Go-Go Cow" (the guy responsible for this one would kill me if I elaborated). There's also, of course, the ever-popular reduction of a girl's name to initials, which I think is often used as a way to instantly de-feminize her for the purposes of work and/or delivery of a clear "I don't want to sleep with you, you're one of the guys now" message.

This brings us to Harvard. Harvard himself has given me several nicknames. When we had only gone out on one or two dates, I was known as "Kathryn-with-a-'y'." This because he has always loved the name "Kathryn" spelled the way I spell it. (Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not naming me "Helga.")

Later, as we got comfortable around one another and started to tease, whenever I call him "Harvard," he returned the favor by calling me "Bunny," as in: "Bunny, let's go to the Club later for a tennis lesson and a gin and tonic," said in a Thurston-Howell-From-Gilligan's-Island Voice.

Now, as he is getting to know me better, he also uses the nickname that all of my close friends and family use--he calls me "Kate." And, finally, in what I consider to be a stroke of genius on his part, he has also started referring to me as just plain old "Gorgeous." It's hard, but I've learned to deal.

His friends are a different matter. I knew they were nickname kind of guys the moment I met them. They've got nicknames for ex-es, for friends, for current girlfriends, you name it. So I was certain that there was one circulating about me. And, as anyone would, I hoped it was a good one--more "Kathryn The Great" than "Stumpy the Go-Go Cow."

Well, it is a good one. It is, in fact, a fantastic one. Ready for it?

It's " wit' ." It even functions on multiple levels! Joy! Rapture! I feel like Sally Field when she won her Oscar! They like me! They REALLY like me!

Level One: It's shortened version of "Kathryn with a 'y.'"

Level Two: They think I'm witty. They went to Harvard where no one is funny, so they are easily fooled.

Level Three: Harvard's friend from Pennsylvania shortened it as such because, in Philly, when you order a sandwich that has everything, you ask for it "wit'."

I have tried to argue that this also means that they think I'm stacked, but Harvard says I shouldn't push my luck.