A Dave By Any Other Name

I’ve been called a lot of different names in my lifetime, sometimes by people sincerely trying to get my name right; other times not so much.  Like a dog, I focus on the intonation, not the actual words.  “Sweetheart” can sound really hostile, and “Hey, Buttbrain” can warm my heart.

Not that anybody’s ever called me Buttbrain.  This week.

Some people seem to accumulate nicknames more easily than others, but I suspect there are a couple of factors that influence the process.  The truly cool nicknames usually get applied to people who’ve either done something truly cool, or truly dumb.  Besides that (dubious) qualification, it seems to me the quality of one’s nickname says more about the creativity of one’s friends than anything else.

I wasn’t overly popular in school.

Wait, gotta run.  Minions of the Society for the Eradication of Ridiculous Understatement are breaking down my door to drag me away…

Okay, I’m back.  Phew.  Lucky I learned those ninja skills while the cool kids were attending all their cool parties.

I didn’t do anything particularly dumb in school, and I missed “truly cool” by an embarrassingly wide margin.  My nickname in school was “Fender Bender”, which sounds kinda cool now, but in fact had nothing to do with my driving skills and everything to do with the fact that those are the first two words in alphabetical order that rhyme with “Henders”.

Those who knew me in university might consider “Fender Bender” appropriate, but that wasn’t related to my driving, either.  Suffice it to say that you don’t want to narrowly miss running over me in a crosswalk.  I get irate when I’m scared shitless.

Later, I acquired some more predictable nicknames:  “Di”, and, while Charles and Diana were an item, “Lady Di”, which caused considerable amusement to those who knew me well.  Ain’t no ladies here.

Oh, and I was briefly nicknamed “Garbage Gut”, “Mongo”, and “Anklebiter” in university, but those were just passing phases.

My all-time favourite nickname was “Dave”.  Back when I was a geek…  Oh, never mind.

Back when I was being paid to be a geek, the vendors apparently decided a mere woman couldn’t possibly deal with the intricacies of building computers and networks, so they christened me “Dave”.  For the last several years I held that job, most of my outside correspondence arrived addressed to “Dave Henders”.

I didn’t really mind.  I figured Dave was probably a pretty cool guy.  In fact, I developed a fondness for Dave, so I named a character in my fourth book after him.

The rest of my handles were either insults or endearments, none of them particularly interesting or creative.  Though Hubby does call me Gorgeous on occasion, which is just one of the many reasons why I love him.

So, to quote the old chestnut:  Call me anything you like; just don’t call me late for dinner.

Or you can call me Dave.  That works, too.

What are (were) your nicknames?

19 thoughts on “A Dave By Any Other Name

  1. Pingback: They’re Watching Me | Diane Henders

  2. My maths teacher (year 7) gave everyone in the class a nickname,so the boy next to me was Britney, because of his hair and various other names for other people. When he got to me, he just looked at me, and he could see that we really wouldn’t get on if he called me something stupid like the rest of the class. So I was just ‘Zoë’ while the rest of the class had to put up with the horrid nicknames. It was quite funny, but I have never had a nickname. 😦 apart from my older brother, who calls me Zozo. I like that, but it doesn’t count.


    • When my parents named each of their children, they intentionally tried to choose names that were hard to twist into embarrassing nicknames. Maybe your parents did, too – if so, it seems to be working! 🙂


  3. I really would like to see you order a coffee at starbucks with the name Dave. I am willing to brave immigration and the great white north winter to see that

    PS: You can tell that I am already on my fifth coffee for the day


    • That would be fun! Maybe I should give it a try and report back. It’d probably be anti-climactic, though. I think I’d need to use a more outrageous name to get a good reaction. Suggestions welcome…


  4. Well, I was called “pumpkin” in school and it wasn’t really a term of endearment either..it was more of a descriptive name. My usually nicknames come from my actual name abreviated: JeyJey is one. Jey is the person’s a little lazy. Ani (short for Anita)…hmm..I was once called a “black dog”..by someone with a darker skin tone than I..go figure.


    • The abbreviations are always fun. One of my friends once asked me if it bothered me to be called “Di”… when it could be a proper noun or a verb command.

      I’d never thought of it quite like that, but I’m pretty sure I can tell the difference between “Di” and “Die!”


  5. Dear Dave,

    I have to admit to baiting on this topic a while ago; it came up at work with four of us, all guys, standing around. (When you hang with a guy named Kosmo, the subject comes up a lot.) Anyway, I was silent until the other three had mentioned their recent or soi-distant past nicknames. I waited. They all looked at me, and with a perfectly straight face I said, “They called me Eddie.”
    And with a perfectly straight face I said, “No.” You probably had to be there, but it was great.

    So, not Eddie. To this day there are two people on the planet who get away with calling me Dougie, and one of them is my 94-yr-old grandmother. The other one is not my wife.

    Working at the post office, a million years ago, one of the managers paged me over the loudspeaker: “I need Lang to the high-side manager’s desk, I need Doo-Lang to the high-side manager’s desk.” With one voice, most of the guys and many of the girls started, as if on cue: “Doo-Lang / Doo-Laaang / Doo-Lang!” (Sing it with me now!) To this day (more than 20 years later), some of them still remember me as, “Hey, you were Doo-Lang!”

    Yes, yes I was.


  6. Hmm. I didn’t so much have nicknames as variations on my given name. People who knew me at different phases in my life call me different things. Still. I feel a little like Sybil. My newest one, though, is Heather, from the Idiot Speaketh. He was tired of writing out whatimeant2say every time he responded to my comments!


  7. Love it. And am enjoying your first book, by the way! Terrific characters and lots of action!
    My nicknames were “Helma” and “Hella” since my name is Helen…..oh and a favourite Aunt called me “Babydoll” LOVED that one.


  8. “Twiggy” (ah, those were the days…*sigh*) back in high school. My mom to this day calls me “Little Lin,” even though I’m half a foot taller than her. Hubs usually calls me “kiddo,” or sometimes “beautiful” (when he thinks he might get lucky). *grin*


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