Anybody hear abandon their given name? Is doing so a slap to your parents?

I don’t think this rises to the level of a great debate, but I’m not wedded to the notion of it being in IMHO either. Mods, if you want to move it, that’s cool.

My RL given name, while fairly common now, was fairly uncommon when I was in kindergarten, and I got teased because of it. Perhaps because of that, or perhaps for simple reasons of aesthetics, I’ve never cared for the sound of it. Consequently, when I moved out of the house for college, attending a school where none of my high school friends were going, I made a semi-deliberate decision to go by a diminuative of my last name. (“Semi-deliberate” because I didn’t actually make it up; I intended to just go by my last name, but the first time I sold a story and had a byline, my editor told me I was not the Pope and needed a first name, and thus she made one up.) At this point in my life, if I hear my given name I know it must be coming from (a) someone who knew me before age 18, or (b) someone trying to sell me a time-share.

My little sister, whose given name was consistenly butchered from kindergarten to 12th grade, made the same decision when she attended a (different) college, and as a result when we meet each other’s friends, we often get incredulous responses: “Your mama gave y’all the SAME NAME? Weird.”

Anyway … the fact that lil sis and I have abandoned our Christian names bothers one of our older sisters. She feels that our parents CHOSE to name us what they did, and consequently that we’re slapping Mom & Dad in the face by using nicknames. Moreoever, whenever someone realizes what my real first name is, they generally react with “But that’s a pretty name!” (To which I respond “Feel free to give it to your son. I personally can’t stand it.”)

All of which leads me to the dual points of this post:

  1. How many of you dopers have abandoned your given names for a nickname, and why?

  2. Would you be offended if one of your children made it clear that he or she simply couldn’t stand the name you gave him or her?


Of course, I meant to type “Anybody HERE,” not “hear.” :smack:

I got nothin’, but I’m dying to know the abandoned name.

Hell, I want to know the new name that is a twist on a last name that still goes with a last name and is suitable for boys and girls.

If it’s a nickname that is derived from your given name, I doubt they would care. Many parents don’t use the birth name of their child (unless they’re in trouble of course). My mother still calls me the nickname I grew up with, and I’m 30.

The only way I could see it bothering a parent is if the child changes their name legally and comes up and says, “I really hated the name you decided to give me and had it changed, so there!”.

Oh, and as a follow up…I went back to using my given name. It’s been harder to get my family to use that then I would have imagined. :slight_smile:

A friend of mine changed her first name. The one she changed it to suits her beautifully, while her given name did not.

For her, the decision was symbolic as well as aesthetic. She had overcome a childhood of abuse and part of her name change was to signigy to herself and everyone that she had left that identity behind and embracing her life as it now stands. She is very close with her mother, and her mom fully supported her decision and likes the new name.

I have a couple of friends who legally changed their names. One to better suit his personality and another did it because she hated her abusive dad so much that she wanted nothing to do with his family name and her given name. I think they are both happier for it.

Personally I would have no problem with my child changing his/her given name. I don’t think it’s a big deal. Who would better know what name is best reflective of who they are than the self? The worry that it might be an insult to the parents seems neurotic to me. If said parents are upset or offended, then it’s probably because they are self-centered, insecure, or place more importance on appearances and what others might think over their children’s sense of self or a combination of the above, IMHO. Basically a name is an identifier, not the identity. However a self-chosen name can be better reflective of that identity. For example our user names say more about who we are than Mary, Joe or Bob.

I go by a nickname almost exclusively now–I have a French given name, which a) makes it hard to pronounce properly, b) makes it hard to spell properly, and c) sounds like a bread spread when pronounced right. B hasn’t changed–my nick is Marj, but since many people now know me better by my nickname than my given, it almost invariably gets spelt Marge at least once by each of them.

Another thing is that I’m very contrarian–I have never quite subscribed to the idea of being a delicate little flower, and I hate being called cute, despite being a small-framed girl who likes certian shades of pink. My name often elicts the “That’s a pretty name” remark, and it’s not something I care to hear. It just doesn’t fit very well with my self-image, but Marj does (when spelt properly).

I wouldn’t get offended if my child started going by a nickname–I’d view it as a piece of individuality. Heck, my parents call me by my nickname now, why should i do anything other than the same?

My wife always hated her first name. From early on, she insisted on being called by her middle name. When we got married, she had it changed to <Middle Name> <Last Name> <My Last Name>. She’s glad to be rid of the old name. She said it reminded her of the kind of people who live in trailer parks.

The preferred name (I’ve been using it since 1988, so it’s hardly new :dubious: is in my signature. The given name rhymes with mile.

Yes. I spent my whole life with my “baby” name as the predominant one. Wanna know what it was? Reluctantly, I will tell you it was “Minni”. No, I don’t want to hear any stupid Minnie-ha-ha jokes nor any “Minnie? Where’s Mickey?” crap, nor anything about being tiny. Please. I’ve heard it all, a thousand times or more, and I am sick to death of it.

Which is why I no longer go by it. My family still calls me it, I will never get them to nor ask them to change. But “Minni” isn’t really even a dimunitive of my full name, and the name I changed it to is more appropriately a dimunitive.

My brother changed the spelling of his name from Markes to Marcus. I found it a little insulting because he was named after someone, plus the first spelling is more unusual and I like that (which is probably what he hated about it).

But he’s always been a brat so I still spell it the old way. :smiley:

I was named after my paternal grandmother, who died when my dad was in his teens. This is the same mother who practically abandoned him in his youth to his grandparents (his parents felt that having a boy–in combination of their two daughters–was too difficult), only to wisk him back in the household when she found out she was dying of breast cancer and needed someone to take care of her. Throughout my childhood I never, repeat NEVER, heard a nice word about the woman, and that includes from my father. Why I was chosen to bear the name of a woman who obviously the only thing she did worthwhile in her life was to die, is beyond me.

Yes, I would change it in a heartbeat.

I’m just not sure what I’d change it to.

When I married, I took on a rather common last name. This is after growing up with the last name of Pitts. (Imagine what a fellow 7th grader can do with that last name!) When I divorced my dad actually asked if I’d be taking back my maiden name. Hah.

I had a perfectly good (I guess) first name, but years of being taunted as a child made me hate the sound of it. Actually, people called me by the nickname. Everyone with this name gets called the nickname by everyone - it’s a rule or something.

In my 20’s, I tried going by my initials. Since that’s largely associated more with men than women, it did make a few things difficult for me. Anyway, it didn’t really feel like a proper name. I wanted a feminine sounding name.

When I started to get serious with Mr. Wanna, he suggested a more feminine sounding version of my middle name. He said it was one of his favorite female names ever since his first crush as a boy. I decided I like the way it sounded, and have gone by it since.

It was difficult to get my family to change, but they have. Sometimes they slip up. Sometimes the way they say it sounds like you can almost hear the quotation marks around it, if you know what I mean. But at least it’s not that horrible, horrible sound I grew up with…

First question:

For most things, the names I go by in no way resemble my given names. My first, last, and rather fluid middle names are entirely of my own creation. What’s my reason? Several:

  1. I don’t like my real first name (too common), middle name (confusingly similar to a common name), or last name (which is just plain ugly).

  2. My legal name is written first initial, middle name, last name, suffix, and very few forms have a name line that can handle that arrangement.

  3. The “sound” of the name doesn’t match me much at all.

  4. When I write, I write through the persona of a fictional character I created. Over time, I started adopting more and more of his traits into my own life until eventually there was very little separating us. It was then that I started going by his name in the real world.

  5. His name is nice, I like the sound of it. It’s not too common, but not very odd either, and it has a regular first name, last name format.

That’s now my primary name for all non-legal matters. Maybe one day I’ll actually change my legal name to it and make it “real”, but right now, I’m fine having two and keeping them separate.
Second question:

I don’t have any kids, but pretending I did for a moment, I wouldn’t care at all. Even if they broke the news starting with “You know the loathsomely vile name you gave me, you son of a bitch?..”

My sister changed her first and last names, behind everyone’s back (we found out quite by accident). I asked her why, and she gave me some lame excuse that I still don’t quite understand.

This was over 20 years ago. My parents were very hurt (and still are). She wasn’t abused or mistreated in any way. She was seeing a boy who hated his abusive parents and he changed HIS name, and I almost think she did it out of some bizarre form of sympathy.

I think it’s fine if you have a good reason. If you don’t like your name, that’s a good enough reason, but that’s not the reason she gave. I found it weird and nearly never call her by her new name, except when introducing her to people. I still use a nickname that we gave her when she was little.

To each his own, but from experience I can tell you that it can be painful for the parental units.

My real name is Melinda. My parents specifically picked this name for me because they liked the nickname that came along with it: Lindy. I hated being called Lindy with the firey passion of a thousand suns throughout my childhood, and in the 8th grade I shortened it to Lynne, which I have gone by ever since. I recall my mom being a little bummed, but I was thrilled that I’d found a loophole, as Lynne was still a nickname for Melinda.

Now that I’m nearly 30, I kinda like the name Lindy actually, but I’ve been Lynne for so long I could never go back.

I’ve never ever gone by Melinda and never would, it doesn’t suit me at all, way too classy. My mom only calls me that when she’s mad at me. :smiley:


You know that’s how lastnames were born, right? Someone got a name. His kids inherited it. A few generations later, nobody remembered where the name came from, only that “everybody in that family is called that”

My firstname, in its full legal glory, is María de la Luz, Mary-Lou in English, Maria according to those pesky guys at US customs who also insist that I have a middle initial (L). In Spanish we like to use “the names of our Lady” to name girls, so that every Delores is actually María de los Dolores and every Lupita is María de Guadalupe and so forth. My own name should be translated as something like “Mary (mother/bringer/queen) Of The Light”, or Lightbringer if you want. But please, if you like my name, don’t call your daughter Lightbringer :slight_smile: just call her Mary-Lou and tell her what it means.

I normally answer to Mariluz. It’s not my legal name, but it’s recognizable as an abbreviation of María de la Luz; therefore, in Hispanic countries it wouldn’t even be listed as an “aka”.

My grandmother is a María de los Dolores; Lola. My aunt, also María de los Dolores: Lolita (li’l Lola). My cousin, again María de los Dolores: Dolors (in Catalan). Again, Lola and Lolita are common enough for Dolores that it’s not considered an aka.

My grandfather on the other side was Ignacio. Aka Ignacio, thank you very much. My uncle is an Ignacio as well: Iñaki. My cousin: Iñaki or, to distinguish from his father and used only by relatives, Cucho (from Iñacucho, li’l Iñaki). Iñaki and Íñigo again, etc etc.

Pepe, for José (Joseph); Paco for Francisco.

In school we were grouped and seated by lastname. It was very common to use people’s first lastname and not firstnames, specially since you could have 8 Jorges in a class of 78 (my 2nd year of college) or 5 Javier in a class of 40 (8 years through JHS and HS).

One of my brothers (but not the other) has about a dozen different nicknames. Some are obvious nicknames (Crazy Wolf), others aren’t so obvious so many people think it’s his lastname or something like that. People will call home asking for him by any of those names; we call him by those names. The same brother got two Christian names, but only one of them is listed in his birth certificate; we call him by the 2nd when we want to irk him (bro’s firstname is the same as my maternal gramps’, who isn’t exactly anybody’s favorite relative; Dad insisted on a second name to “neutralize” that one).
I have quite a few friends who met me online first. My online names tend to be easier to pronounce for foreigners than “Mariluz”, so many of them call me by the online name all the time.
I believe Mom would find it very strange if I was getting married and the priest adressed me as anything other than “Mariluz” - or the judge as something other than “María de la Luz”. But other than that, I simply can’t see anything wrong with nicks, no.

I use “Chuck” instead of “Charles.” This was a conscious decision when I was writing for my high school newspaper. “Charles” was too stuffy; “Charlie,” too Rotarian; and “Chucky” (which some of my relatives still use) too childish (this was 20 years before Child’s Play was released). “Chuck” is just right.

My father made a comment on it when he first saw the byline, wondering which I’d choose, but didn’t really mind (I think he was wondering if I’d stick with Chucky or go to something more grown-up). My family generally uses “Chuck,” except for my cousins; one of them uses “Chuck,” too, so they use “Chucky” for me to differentiate from her.

As a bonus, by using is professionally, I’m the only “Chuck” in SFWA (not counting Chuq von Rossbach). It’s an unusual nickname these days, so I always know when they’re talking about me.