Monday, July 30, 2007

Thoughts from a nickname rebel

Patty here…

I've been given a lot of nicknames over the years. Here are a few:

Little Pitter Patter
Runt (Don’t ask)

Some people don’t like nicknames but I love mine, because a friend or family member has crafted each one with loving care. Nicknames seem to be popular in a lot of families.

However, there’s one nickname I don’t like. It’s Pat. Dunno why, but there it is. I have nothing against the name. I have several family members named Patricia who prefer to be called Pat. Fine by me. Just don’t call me that if you value your kneecaps.

In the small town where I grew up, tradition dictated that a woman could no longer wear her hair long or be called Patty when she reached a certain age. Patty was a child’s name not something you called an adult. Maybe I was just a nickname rebel, but I rejected those stodgy notions.

When I sold my first book, I worried about using the name Patricia on the cover because I feared people would be tempted to call me Pat. Sure enough, during one of my first convention panels the moderator started calling me Pat in the Green Room before the event began. I politely asked her to either call me Patricia or Patty. She ignored my request and continued calling me Pat throughout the entire panel discussion. I finally corrected her in front of the audience, which was bad form on my part, but I was mad as hell and couldn’t take it any more.

Just so you know, you have my permission to call me any nickname on the above list or make up one of your own. Just don’t call me Pat.

What are your feelings about nicknames? Got any good ones you want to reveal?

ON ANOTHER NOTE: Once again, congrats to nude dude Miss C!!! A Field of Darkness has been nominated for an Anthony award for Best First Novel by attendees of the Bouchercon mystery-fan convention. I'll be in the audience cheering her on. Yaaaaaaaay!

To forward this post to nickname rebels or people named Pat, click on the envelope icon below.


  1. Yayyy for Miss C.!!

    Patty, I could never imagine you as a dour 'Pat': your vivaciousness always makes me smile, and you will always be 'Patty' to me.

    NOt sure about 'Termite' though...


  2. Ditto the congrats to Miss C....yay!

    As to nicknames, there's not much you can do with Rae, but a number of people know me by my first name, Tracy. I get Tray and Trace every once in awhile - that doesn't bug me much, but I don't like Terry, because it says to me that someone has simply not been listening. And I hate when Tracy, a nice simple name, gets misspelled as Tracey or Tracie or, worst of all, Traci. Gak.


  3. Marianne, my dad always called me Termite. Don't know why. Maybe it's because they're pests who literary eat you out of house and home :o)

    Rae, I have a friend named Rae. Instead of shorting her name, we lengthen it. We call her Rae-Rae. Yeow! How do people get Terry from Tracy? Very presumptious. I love "Gak." Can I steal it?

  4. Patty, 'gak' is all yours. I stole it from the old Cathy cartoon, and from Robert Crais - he used it in describing a character's cough as a sound "like a cat gakking up a hairball", or words to that effect.

    And, now that I think of it, I have on occasion been called Rae-Rae.


  5. Rae, watch for "gak" sightings from now on. I also love "sheesh," "blech" and "yecchh." I used to used EEUU or E-yew but that's become so yesterday.

  6. I've had a slew of nicknames over the years - Winnie, Windbag, Win, Jack, Jacks, Suzi (I know ...), and my Dad's nickname for me, which I can't tell you because only he calls me by that name and I use it as my password for everything. But I can understand you bristling at "Pat' because some nicknames are a no-go and others are just for family and close friends. I remember, in the dark ages when I was a flight attendant, we had to wear name badges, and mine obviously said, "Jacqueline." On one flight there was a passenger who just kept calling me "Jack" every time I passed him. I asked him to (please) call me by my full name, and when he persisted in calling me Jack, I told him that if he didn't want to be detained on the 'plane at the end of the flight, he'd better stop the name-calling, ditto if he wanted another drink. He stopped, I'm happy to say.

    And many congrats to our Cornelia!

  7. Windbag? Oh puhleeeeeze. To us, you'll always be Our-J. Maybe that passenger had one too many drinks to manage three actual syllables.

  8. Just consider yourself lucky. A friend in high school (and now an actor in your general neighboorhood) carried the surname of Belche. His first name made it something of an unfortunate pairing--unless you like potty humor.

    All right, Patty? I promise never to trot out the peppermint.

  9. I'm a Louise-not-Lou-or-Louie person. I've ended friendships over a person's inability to recognize that. They're lucky I haven't ended lives.

  10. Jeff, feel free to trot out Peppermint Patty, just not Peppermint Pat.

    And--gak! (I warned you Rae. The theft begins.) Lou?????? Louie?????? What were those people thinking? You need to expose them to protect the rest of us from their unwanted nicknames.

  11. Aw Patty, thank you! And I love "nude dude"!

    Here are nicknames I've been called over the years:

    "Cleaner" (best friend when I was four couldn't say Cornelia. The irony still amuses me, considering my lack of talent for cleaning)
    Maize-y (when my seventh-grade language arts classmates discovered that corn is called maize in England, which gave rise to people saying "she's a-MAIZE-ing" and snickering when I walked by in the hallways).

    I finally got so sick of corn permutations that I introduced myself as "Nicky" when I went to boarding school. That lasted through college, then everyone somehow reverted to Cornelia.

    Nicky gave rise to:

    St. Nick
    and occasionally "Nuke"

    Now my sister calls me Cone, because she says I have a pointy head.

    My husband calls me Bunny.

    My daughter Grace is trying to think up a nickname for herself for boarding school. She suggested "Trip" the other day. "Because I am truly the opposite of graceful, in real life." I thought that sounded great and very funny.

  12. You never seemed like a Pat to me. I think Patty fits you.

  13. Omigod, Miss C. You have more nicknames than I do. Amazing. But Trip? I dunno.

    Congrats again on your spectacular names and noms.

  14. Pat is a definite and emphatic no for me as well. I was never a Patty, probably because the family called me Tish, which turned out to be very bad in my Jewish neighborhood, and when someone just had to point out that backwards, it was 'shit.' "Only phonetically," was, and remains my clever response. Mimsie you know about.

  15. Well...I know about Mimsie but I don't know the background story. Some things are just too personal to ask about. Know what I mean?

  16. I will call you whatever name you use to introduce Patty, if when we first met, you said,"Hi, my name is Goldie Locks." I'd be calling you Goldie Locks------ not a bad name. Patty is a great name too, though.


  17. Hey, Jon, what about Go-Lo? Doesn't that sound more hip?

  18. Patty, if you want me from heretofore to refer to you as the One and Only Go-Lo,or Go-Lo, or even G-L, then please indicate your preference.
    Also, please keep in mind my previous "disclaimer" ......
    I can resubmit the disclaimer if necessary.


  19. Jon, what if I introduced myself as Angelina Jolie? Ooops. Better not. It might evoke a GAK.

  20. As a college freshman, I was called "Big Green," which was the nickname of my high school's athletic teams. However, I was pretty damn green, too.

  21. I so hate "pat", (and "patty" - just for me, not for people like the host of this board) and the huffy why-are-you-making-things-difficult response I get when I say, "No one calls me Pat, I go by Trish", that I had my name legally changed. (and even with that, the dentist office I was using acted all baffled & put out when I brought the documentation for the legal name change) Really - a one-syllable name in your native language is too freaking much for you?

    This week, I encountered two people who thought it was hilarious to call me "Patty" & when I told them Trish is my Legal Name, declared that "pattee" is a pronunciation of Trish.

    After all the aggravation/expense/tedium of the legal name change, to be subjected to another episode of forced patification was so frustrating.

    It made me think that not ditching Trish & going for a non-patricia-based name was a tactical error, but it seemed a lot to ask of the kind people who had been calling me Trish for years/decades.

  22. im a Patricia who has always gone by either Trish or Tricia... I do too hate it when people call me Pat or Patty... as the above user said, thats just for me, its okay if thats your name, but because my parents never called me these things, those things are simple not MY name.. I like to be called Trish or Tricia.. Patricia is okay on occasion (although it sounds really Formal to me).. Pat is simple not me..and patty is even more so not me...why wont people just call others by the name they say they want to be called? Its not rocket should always call people by what they ask to be called! and then theres the ones that think im rebelling against what my parents named me.. I am NOT.. Tricia is what my parents have always called me.. they would NEVER in a million years call me Pat or Patty..(like i said, im talking about for me, its okay if thats your name, it just isn't mine)..

  23. Trish, above, we should talk.. I have been dealing with this all my life....I Cringe when someone calls me "Pat" or "Patty" and too get people acting like "Why are you making things so difficult"...and yeah I agree.. "Trish" is a simple one syllable name (ive gone by Both Tricia and Trish at different times)..its just as easy to say as "Pat" is...I was named after Tricia Nixson...(I wonder if Poor Tricia Nixson had to d
    eal with this problem too?? im assuming she did)

  24. how Discouraging to hear that even after legally changed your name, people still wanted to call you Pat or Patty.. i've considered legally changing mine as does one legally change their name anyways?? i wouldn't even know how to go about it..and the people that assume I go by Trish or Tricia because I "Don't like my name".. that IS my name..yes, its legally Patricia (something I probably didn't even know until I was about 12 years old), but it is NOT legally Pat"....Heck, Tricia is a larger part of the name then Pat is...Trish above, we seriously need to talk... I know tons of Other Trish and Tricia with the same Complaint.. one of my best friends Growing up was "Tricia" (also legally Patricia) and she always had the same issue.. her Mothers name was also Patricia, who went by Pat, so in her case, she would assume people were talking to her mother...

  25. I cant even get over that someone would actually say "Pattee is a pronunciation of Trish".. those two names sound nothing alike,, I think sometimes strangers will try to call me "Pat" or "patty" because they think they are being familiar to me, but what they don't get, is they are doing the exact opposite..In my high school year book, in one year, they actually listed me as Patty, and I had this conversion with a friend from high school recent, who said "I wouldn't even know who they were talking about if they called you Patty".. and i said "me either!!"

  26. Trish, let me know, how does one legally Change their name? im still thinking about it.. ive considered it for years.. and it seems the older I get, the more difficult is is to get people to not call me "Pat",, and no matter how old I get, "Pat" will always make me Parents never intended me for me to be called "Pat" when they named my Patricia (and honestly I don't think it even occurred to them that this would happen.)

  27. what is this Obsession people have with wanting to call all Patricia's "Pat"? its truly a mystery to me... I mean really don't understand it at all.. I'd prefer someone stick to the full name then to guess as a Nick name and be wrong...