September 12, 2006

What’s in a Name?

For years I have use the names Dude and Chick to address people. Lately I have picked up Sista and Brotha, especially when I drive, e.g. “Let’s move along Brotha” or “Get off the phone Sista and pay attention to the road”. For some reason this keeps my road rage down.

When I ran a help desk at the Pentagon I got to know the people and I often called them Dude, unless I gave them a nickname. One man said I couldn’t call him “Dude”. When I asked why he said because he was too old to be referred to as Dude. So I started calling him “Mr. Dude”. I don’t think he liked this much either. Another guy called me so often for help and always sounded like he was whining so I named him “Waa waa”. It wasn’t long before he would call and say, “Red, this is Waa waa and I need your help.”

I realized it was rare that I used a person’s given name. So when a friend and I were discussing the fact that she never heard me say my ex’s name it hit me. If I said his name it would validate his existence. It must be a subconscious thing… go figure.

Maybe this was why I gave guys/dates nicknames. That when friends would say he was doomed since he would already have a nickname. There were the few rare cases I would mention a guy and he wouldn’t have a nickname. A few of the nicknames I gave were: The Cowboy, Boat Boy, The Brit, Hitt-Man, and Focker.

I started noticing how much I DIDN’T use people names. If I meet someone new I rarely use their name but once I do then I realize I’m comfortable with them and my psyche allows me to comfortably use their name.

I rarely use Mini Red’s friends’ names. I will call them things like Chiquita Banana or Little Mama. This has caused problems because it has become difficult for me to remember her classmate’s names let alone their parents’ names. I don’t think I can get away with calling other parents Dude, Chick, Brotha or even Sista.

Emails I tend to do a bit better but not always.

I’ve been working on using people’s names right off the bat and I’m making progress slowly but surely. So if I have given you a nickname, and you are not a possible date, this is a good thing. If I use your given name I’m comfortable with you and that means I validate your existence.

Now... If I've given you a nickname on the blog then that's a different story. I'm just protecting you and whatever silly thing you've done to warrant me writing about you. (just kidding)