Not having a Christian name that’s easily given to diminution, other than by a childhood friend’s Mexican mother who stuck ‘ita’ on the end of everything, I’ve never really been one for the nicknames. The closest I’ve come was Long Term Ex insisting on chopping my name in half, but he was the only person ever to have got away with it; and Old Friend calling me “Miss Blonde” when he answers my calls, which is oddly intimate in a formal sort of way.
But over the past couple of years, there does seem to have been a vast increase amongst my friends in the use of diminutive terms of endearment for each other.
For my part, I’ve clearly been swallowed wholeheartedly into the PR bubble.
“Did you just call me love?” Best Mate said on the phone the other day, her tone the one reserved specially for unreliable workmen and her horse when he’s being daft.
“Yikes. Sorry about that. Clearly talking to too many fashion journos these days.” (Who, just as an aside, come in two flavours: the sweetest people on the planet vs. those with such an over-inflated sense of their own self-importance you want to bash them over the head with a sandal boot and tell them it’s a bloody fashion spread, not a Pulitzer-winning piece of prose that’ll change the face of investigative journalism. Both types also constitute the only people in the world who sign off their professional emails with kisses.)
And I'm not the only one who's adopted shorthand rather than actually using names.
Speckled Lad often addresses me as “lovely”, whether verbally or in writing; although sweet, it isn’t really accurate.
When I'm not trying to piss her off, I call Best Mate by her first initial - something I picked up from spending an inordinate amount of time with her family (to her father, I’m “the other daughter”).
Long Term Ex’s mother is, and always has been, fond of “Blonde, darling”, but that’s what hailing from very grand families and finishing school in Switzerland will do for you.
Minor Celeb was a "babe" man - yuck.
Sports Nut was a fan of “trouble”, which is probably accurate, and “treacle”, which literally isn't.
Game Boy is the only person I've ever known to call me "lass", but only in writing, which is probably wise: given his decidedly un-Northern accent, I don't know that he'd be able to pull it off in speech.
And Guards Man, in his bizarre and inimitable way, calls everyone - male, female, old friend, new acquaintance (though hopefully not his commanding officer) - “Big Man”. Weird, but it works for him.
I'm not sure what sort of person all these monikers, taken together, suggest that I am. It's probably best not to think about it too deeply. But so long as it's not the type of person who ends all their emails with multiple kisses, I'm probably not too bothered.
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