5. The power of names and nicknames

This episode of How to be Old is about the power of names and nicknames that we accumulate as we grow older. Do they influence us? Where do they come from? My own name has been Rachel McAlpine for decades now. But I’ve also been called Jigger, Robin, Fishface, Tosh and Pud. Each name or nickname summons a different aspect of my identity, which has continued to develop and change over the 79 years I have been alive. How about you?


Listen-on-Apple

Listen-on-Spotify

Listen-on-Stitcher

16 thoughts on “5. The power of names and nicknames

  1. Suzanne says:

    Tosh and Pud, a couple of very endearing names 🙂 I had a very irritating experience in Form 2 with a lad in my class calling me Yogi Bear with my friend having Bobo. Quiet whispers of “Yogi Bear” in school assemblies still haunt me 🙂

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      What a cheek

      1. Suzanne says:

        Exactly.

  2. Such an interesting post, Rachel! As for me, I started my life as Rebecca Lynn Ross, Becky to friends and siblings, Bec to my parents, Rebecca to teachers, and “Betsy Ross” to a few boys who teased me about sewing the original American flag. In my second marriage (notice how I skipped right over the first:) I became Becky Michael to most and “Sweetie Pie” to my husband. After my divorce (not sweet enough?), I added back in the Ross that I wished I had never ever changed! Luckily, I’m also now Grandma Becky, besides. I agree, that I am still all these people inside, and I like each and every one!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Becky Ross Michael. I’m in search of my inner Jigger and Robin and Tosh and Pud these days. My usernames include Aybrow and Wachel, and they also want to assert themselves.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Betsy Wetsy(ugh) BetsyLou Betsarooni.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Ow wow. That’s a poem.

  4. I started out as Michelle Louise Sinclair and then Shellie by my big brothers. My family are pretty much the only people that call me that. I’m also called Mich, Meechelle, and Aunty Shimmy by my Godson and his Mum (my best friend since the age of 16). I’m now 51 and are still called all of those names and I kind of like it 🙂Lovely post 🙏

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      When the names are given warmly, we can delight in them as extras to the self we build ourselves

  5. JOY journal says:

    In the American South, it is not uncommon to call someone Miss X, regardless of age or marital status. There are certain friends who have called me Miss Nora since I was a teen.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you for explaining this—I had no idea. Does this name still feel good?

  6. JOY journal says:

    Jigger is adorable, BTW! 🙂

  7. Nowhere near as many as you!
    the following will have to do:
    Peter, Pete, Polly, Prof, Pockets Pete
    Everyone a P!
    As you can see.

    https://pollymermaid.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/whats-in-a-name/

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Keep em coming, Peter P!

  8. Margy says:

    I blog under one of my childhood names, but some time in my early youth I chose the name ‘Midge’. It has stuck with me. The upside to the name is that when I meet someone new, they often don’t forget my name… though sometimes they hear it as ‘Mitch’. Close enough…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You were enterprising!

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: