Monday, July 15, 2013


With a name like Shannon, I grew up pretty jealous that all my siblings could shorten their names to have legit nicknames. Shortening my name gave strange results...and my parents are the only ones who can get by calling me 'Shan,' and it leaves a sour tone hearing it from anyone else, unless of course it's family, and they have asked permission.

In junior high, a friend called me 'Nun'... high school, some friends called me Dils or Shannonbobana. At work we referenced each other by the order by which we were hired, so I didn't mind being called "#1." My college roommates started elongating my name to Sha-nay-nay or Shananigans or something. Those became too difficult and didn't stick (thankfully). My first job out of college, my coworkers had fitting nicknames for everyone, which is where 'Pickles' began. They questioned renaming me 'Fish' when they found out I swam in dirty Lake Michigan on my bike ride to work. Thankfully that didn't stick either. And when I switched jobs in Chicago, my coworkers were hesitant to tell me that since there was another Shannon in the office, they came up with an ingenious nickname for me that they hoped I wouldn't mind. What was it? Pickles, of course. Sure, just call me 'Pics' for short! Or if you're my coworkers daughter whom I babysit and who wasn't old enough to understand, call me 'Packles.'

Then came nicknames from boyfriends. It started with 'sweetie' and 'honey' from a southern gent which made me feel a bit old. I felt just as photogenic as the A&F model I was dating when he called me 'babe' until I realized he was that skinny from cocaine. My serious BF couldn't choose between 'crazy pants' or 'sleepy pants' depending on if I was flying a plane or taking my 2 hour train commute that day, so he eventually settled on just 'GF' (for girlfriend who was queen for acronyms). The next serious boyfriend called me 'babe' as well, which I decided to enjoy again...until he started calling all his friends 'babe' and the word was like a great song that was quickly overplayed on the radio.

Lately the nickname of the year seems to be 'baby'. I get it. It's like the Patrick Swayze line in 'Dirty Dancing': Nobody puts Baby in the corner. It was romantic in the movie, sure. But she's not a baby, nor is anyone who is of the age to date. Perhaps the nickname can be justified by the delivery...using a deep voice vs. a coo. No, nevermind. As a dude, how would you feel if I called you 'baby'? I might as well call you 'cute' too. Ew. Like I said, great for others, not for me.

'Hey' or 'Hey there' or 'Hey you' takes the cake for worst way to address someone though, in my opinion. Either they've forgotten my name or they are too lazy to say it. Let's get personal.

One of my couple friends call each other 'Love'. Though the word is a little overrated, I appreciate this for a nickname. As a couple you (should) know more about the person than anyone else, so I think a great nickname reflects that special connection. After going through a painful breakup with the 'babe' and having a new guy call me that...I challenged him to come up with a better one and it's probably my favorite yet: Honeysuckle. There was a lot of thought and meaning involved and I felt like one of a kind.

They say it's the small things in life that mean the most. Maybe this is one of those for me. So some rules of thumb: if we just started working together, or if we date...let's just stick with first names.

Turns out I'm actually quite fond of the name Shannon. 

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