How Do You Get A Nickname? Let’s Figure This Out.

Physically altering your appearence: Like, for instance, I’d quite like my nickname to be “Red.” I think one quick way to accomplish this would be to dye my hair red. Except I’m too afraid to do that, so I’m going to have to wear some sort of Lucy Ricardo wig all the time. It’s going to look like Orphan Annie, but fine. Fine. I’m dedicated to this.

I suppose her hair was legitimately red.

Become Katharine Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story: She goes by “Red.” I mean, ultimately, this is a bigger goal. I think pantsuits? I could wear a lot of pantuits. However, I think at best – at best – people would start calling me Tracy Lord, also, Tracy Lord almost certainly doesn’t care about nicknames. This is getting a bit too meta. Yeah, we have to scrap this. SCRAP THIS. THIS SHOULD NOT BE PART OF YOUR PLAN.

Adopt bizarre political preferences: I figure another way to make that “Red” thing work for me would be to become a Communist. You can pull this off in other ways, too! For instance, if you want to be called “Asshole,” you should become an objectivist.

Get a time machine: Look, unfortunately – or fortunately, if you believe in hope – this is the answer to absolutely everything. If you went back to Ancient Rome, however, they would almost certainly give you a nickname for having, say, any defining trait whatsoever. Brutus. Brutus means dull-witted. Caesar was essentially saying “And you, dumbo?”, which is not a great way to stop people from stabbing you, when you think about it.

Moving to a small town, maybe?: Chuck Klosterman’s Downtown Owl has lead me to believe that if you lived in a small town, everyone would call you “Elkface” or something, based on an obscure incident in your youth. The idea of being tied so closely to your past is really interesting, but, at the same time, horribly unappealing. Also, you really have to grow up in a small town for that to work effectively, Elkface.

Ask people: This never works. People will humor you for three days, tops. It has to be their idea.

Wear the face of an elk: I’m just trying to spitball, here.

Wear the face of an elk with a red wig: I think this is going to push me into Red territory.

Anyhow, I think what we’re come to, here, is “There is no good way to get a nickname.” Not really. But let’s pretend there was. What nickname would you want?

Yours sincerely,

Ellen “Red” Olenska.


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    • LaLa

      Or you could just have older siblings. Lazy older siblings. That’s how I got mine. They didn’t feel like saying my whole name. Because (surprise!) LaLa is not actually what’s written on my birth certificate.

      • Lala

        Oh look, there’s two of us! What’s your real first name? I’m Olivia (:

    • kjon

      I got my nickname (same as this username) in 7th grade from this kid who called himself “j-diddy”.

      My first name starts with a ‘K’ and is the same as a certain American Girl doll but no one seems to be able to pronounce it right. My last name is Nordic but very common. It’s a combo of the two.

    • JK

      All I can think of when I read this article is the Seinfeld episode where George wants to be called “T-Bone”.

    • Magda

      I have two nick-names. One is Buddha. I got this one in high school from my friends who would always come to me for advice and dubbed me the “wise one”.

      Second one is Lilo.

      I got this as a result of giving someone else a nickname (actually two people). I dubbed them Guano(His last name was Guanie and like a douche he prefered to go by his last name so I called him bat poop) and the other was Sherlock(he was the only sober one at the themed party and solved the mystery of where my friends Afro-wig was at… It was on top of the fridge). They collaborated and decided that they would call me Lilo, because apparently I look like Lilo from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch. The names stuck… so much so that after a year+ aquaintance, I have to work (really hard) to remember the names they were born with.

      I usually give people nicknames because I’m horrible with names… And faces. But by some strange twist of fate I remember nicknames… Even the ones I come up with when drunk. I must admit that some are uncreative, like “Shorts-girl” or “fanny-pack girl” or “burger boy”.

    • Sarah!

      True story, in high school I tried to get people to call me Tuesday. I met a woman named Tuesday Faust and I was SO PISSED IT WAS NOT MY NAME.

      Anyway, it’s hard to introduce yourself as a thing that’s not your name. It feels really weird.

    • Fabel

      “In case you hate watching things…” I love that you always (always, right?) do this, because I do hate watching things.

      I think you can make up your own nickname if you say “But everybody calls me” in front of it. Just don’t take anybody’s questions after!

    • porkchop

      I have had a lot of nicknames (Oggy, Daisy, Peep Trees…) but I got Porkchop because I saw someone called that on Ally McBeal, and I said, “I wish someone would call ME Porkchop!” It stuck. Because Porkchop is my true name. My real name sounds weird now and I only use it at work.

    • Lindsey

      Step one: join a group or club that gives you a nickname

      Step two: pray it doesn’t suck

      Step three: Everyone calls you Nymph now. Be perfectly fine with it.

    • anna

      i remember reading a book it kindergarten where the Dragon Queen is named Tiamat. (looks like it’s spelled)
      I told everyone my name was Tiamat for at least a year.