Nicknames don’t come from lists they come from friends or colleagues
Most people don’t get to choose their own nickname. We are often surprised when we find out we even have a nickname. The first few times we hear it we have no idea someone is referring to us. It suddenly dawns on us that ‘they mean me when they say “Jessie”‘.
It’s difficult to predict
The choice of nicknames is difficult to predict. It can be as simple as a contraction of your given name. A mis-hearing of your name. An important or trivial facet of your life or even just some element of your initials.
What sticks, and what doesn’t, depends greatly on luck – who was around when the idea came up, how you reacted, how everyone else reacted.
By the time you get to the point of leaving a school, and wanting a hoodie to commemorate the milestone, you could well have been the proud (or not so proud) owner of your nickname for a couple of years. So why do people want to search nickname lists when they are thinking about leavers hoodies?
Big Bang Theory – ‘Rocket Man’
On the TV series, The Big Bang Theory engineer Howard was trying to influence the rest of the astronauts in his crew in their choice of his nickname. He fancied “Rocket Man”, and made sure that song was playing in the background when on the phone with them. They heard his mother mention the cereal “Fruit Loops” and his new nickname was chosen for him.
That’s how it goes for most of us. The far sighted try to influence the choice, mostly unsuccessfully. The rest of us just take what we are given and live with it for a few years or life depending on circumstances.
One of the benefits of political correctness is that really obnoxious nicknames are a thing of the past. And anyway, no one would put a truly awful one on their leavers hoodie.
No nickname – options
Picking your own nickname
If you don’t have a nickname or you have one you hate (and I did), you won’t really use a list to find yourself a suitable one to print or embroider onto your leavers hoodie. If you do your friends will ask why you have a name on your chest which you have never been called.
Don’t want, or need a nickname
Some people simply never get a nickname. They go through life without and don’t feel deprived. Your given name works perfectly well for you. And your name whatever it may be – or Sophie, Joshua, Isabelle, Jack (top 4 names from a 2010 list) – will go nicely on your hoodie.
So why publish a nickname list
Businesses like ours will probably continue to publish a nickname list every now and then. In reality, the lists make fun reading, mostly to see how many friends have a name on the list. But, the number of people who might choose the nickname to be on their garment from the list will almost certainly remain negligible.
In fact, Nicknames not obviously derived directly from the forename and / or surname account for only 8% in a recent sample we analysed.
The Forename in the place intended for a nickname was used 44% of the time by far the most popular designation. With another 14% being a very readily recognisable abbreviation or extension of the forename.
From a couple of recent orders for school hoodies we have done a little analysis. When offered the choice of Initials on the Front and Nickname on the back above a Year logo the Leavers opted for the following for the back of their hoodie:
- Forename 44% 44%
- Some abbreviation or variation on their forename 14% 14%
- Elected not to have a nickname printed 12% 12%
- Went with their surname 11% 11%
- Had a completely unrelated nickname 8% 8%
- Used a variation of their whole name 5% 5%
- Repeated their initials 4% 4%
- Used their surname 2% 2%
Nicknames that it might be fun to earn:
In the analysis we reported above there were, of the 8% of Completely Unrelated Nicknames, a few which stood out as possibly being fun to have earned.
Frazzles, Comrade, Slugsy, Puddin’, and my personal favourite Diva!
Hate your nickname?
If you are unlucky enough to have a nickname you hate – take heart. Mostly just ignore it.
When you move school, go to college or university, start in a job, or most major life changes you have the option of pleading ignorance if you are asked whether you are called by a nickname.
For most people a hated nickname fades into the background quickly and you forget all about it, until you write an article like this one, or get one you dislike even more!