What's in a name?

From birth until kindergarten I was Maggie — Maggie being the closest real name to Mei+Gil, my parents’ names, and deemed more appropriate for a baby than Kristan. (Thank you for not naming me Magel!)

When I started elementary school, I decided a big girl needed a big girl name, so I politely requested (read: brattily insisted) that everyone start using my real name. Then for about two weeks after Disney’s Beauty and the Beast came out, I insisted on being called Belle. Needless to say, that didn’t stick.

In high school I became Hoffy. I also received my first and only relationship nicknames, none of which I will inflict upon your innocent ears.

Finally, in college I was dubbed Stan, and I hated it. (Why couldn’t I be Kris? I love the nickname Kris!) I resisted Stan for a long long time — like, at least a month — until finally a friend was talking about a stand-up comedian, and I turned and said, “Huh? Me?”


Now I love Stan, and actually that’s what my boyfriend (who I met in college) calls me as if it were my real name. To him it is!

I also love when friends tell me they met someone named Stan (usually 40-year-old car salesmen or such) and thought for a minute, “Man, that poor guy has a girl’s name!”

When people ask me what I like to be called, I never really know how to answer. I still get Maggie, Kristan, Hoffy, and Stan — and Pantsface, don’t ask — and I love each of them for different reasons.

So really, what’s in a name? More importantly, what’s in your name? Where’d it come from? Do you like it, hate it, plan to change it? (You can also answer about your online name, if you don’t go by your real one.)

Like this:



Shut up! (and other writing advice)


Foto Friday: Winter games


  1. Les

    Oh boy I have lots of names.

    My actual name, Lesley, I don’t like. I was adopted, and was originally named Nicole Marie, and I like that one better. My middle name is Kathleen.

    My nickname is Kitty, which actually comes from the character I play in a videogame, but I suppose could be derived from Kathleen if someone chose to see it that way.

    Probably a little over half the people I know call me Kitty. I like it.

    • Les’s recent blog post: Warning!

  2. Rebecca is my middle name and the name by which my father called me (he was the only one who called me by that name). Like you, I am biracial – Spanish mother, English father, so not only was I called by my first name (Tanya) by my mother all of her life, but by my second name (Rebecca) by my father all of his life! And, yeah, add to that that they both raised me in their respective religions *sigh* So, call me whatever you want, just don’t call me late for dinner….sorry, old joke :)

    • rebecca’s recent blog post: The Rains of Despair – Part II

  3. Katie

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! My nickname in high school was “ween”. It has to do with a strange evolution of my unique last name. A couple of my high school friends still call me that.

    • Katie’s recent blog post: Happy Humpday

  4. Sy

    My name is Syden – which was actually made up by my parents. They put their names together (SIlas and DENnea).

    Full name is Syden Therese Alcantara Abrenica. My first full name is the first two names, then middle, then last.

    I’ve been called Sy, Sysy, Sypie, Tiedye, ugh. The nicknames are endless.

    I’ve never had the urge to change my name – I love it too muc. It’s unique and it’s really me.


    • Sy’s recent blog post: Can’t Live Withouts.

  5. Trisha

    I always wondered why they just didn’t name you Maggie in the first place.

    They wanted to call me Trisha, but decided a nickname wasn’t a proper name. Hence, I am Patricia. Which no one except my maternal grandfather ever called me and he only did that to annoy me. Oh yeah, and my teachers the first day of school every year until I vowed upon my 18th birthday I would legally change it. I forgot about it, I got credit, moot point. Dreadfully, as a chubby baby, my nickname was Fatty-Patty and if you ever call me that I will henceforth only refer to you as my former half-sister Pantsface. Alison, my middle name, is from Ally McGraw. The Love Story was popular about that time. I don’t know which one of them came up with that one.

    As for nicknames, I suffered a spell in grade school (no pun intended) as Witchiepoo from a boy who had a crush on me. H.R. Pufnstuf was a popular Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday morning program. As an adult, I now know what stuff they were puffing.

  6. I refuse all nicknames, as I’m sure I’ve told you on more than one occasion. :)

    I’m named after roughly 5 different people, and have resolved that no child of mine will share a first name with a living relative (because one of my aunts and I are both called Mary).

    I decided, when I was about 8, that Mary was way too boring a name and I’d rather be called by my middle name instead. That idea lasted a week, during which nobody remembered to use my middle name and I forgot to answer to it. So I gave up on that one.

    What’s funny is that my boyfriend rarely uses my given name to refer to me. It’s always “M’Dear” or “sweetheart” or “honey” or something like that. Yes, we are sugary-shocky sweet. :)

    • Mary’s recent blog post: Random Music Thoughts

  7. Jen

    my parents can never remember to call you kristan, even though we always remind them. i just remember when we were younger how upset you were once when they called you “maggie” still!

    my name came from the movie “love story”, the reason so many jennifer’s came about in the 1970s. i had a chinese nickname, but nobody ever called me anything else until i got to college and needed to pick a user ID for email. my first choice, jlin, was out, so i went with my 2nd choice. ever since then, people have called me “jen”. except my family of course.

  8. I made Pseudo up for blogging. I actually have a story similar to your own of how I came by the name people call me though….

    • phhhst’s recent blog post: Spin Cycle: What if?

  9. najla

    I have so much to say about this whole name thing… So much, in fact, that I think that I’ll make it a journal entry of my own. :] Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Les-
    Kitty’s cute! It’s funny, though, ’cause you sign your comments “Les”! (Granted, I like that name too.)

    Yay halfies! Sometimes it’s the best of both worlds, and sometimes it’s just an identity crisis, eh? ;P

    Lol “ween” is pretty cute though!

    Don’t ask me! (Although I think Maggie was an afterthought? I’m not sure how big I was when that developed…)

    “…and if you ever call me that I will henceforth only refer to you as my former half-sister Pantsface.”

    That seriously cracked me up! Andy had to ask if I was okay.

    I like your middle name! But your first name is very classy too.

    Haha, it’s okay. I’m sure I DID get on their case about it before, but now I’d be SO sad if no one called me Maggie!

    Speaking of names, I couldn’t remember your husband’s and had to ask Geo because I mainly know of him as Baka!!

    Actually, I’ve always wondered… Why so many H’s in phhhst? I used to only type two, haha.

    Sweet! I look forward to it! And actually I think I was originally inspired by a blog post I read too, but now I’ve forgotten… -_- Oops.

  11. Adam

    He calls you Stan?

    Hopefully he doesn’t know or work with anyone named Stan. It makes me wonder about him…

  12. everyone calls me kris. my dad calls me krissy, which drives me insane. my middle name, lynette, was taken from his first name – lyndon.

    • Krista’s recent blog post: can’t wind down

  13. Originally,the blog was an experiment. Pseudo Hawaii High School Teacher. Blogger wouldn’t take it with just 2 h’s, so I threw in a third. I never pictured sticking with the blog past summer, so I didn’t worry about it. Now it’s just plain weird.

    • phhhst’s recent blog post: Friday Foto: Dive On In

  14. Aisha

    Haha Mila always refers to you as “Chrisma” even though I’ve told her your name I don’t know how many times.

  15. sam

    my name is samantha, but only like, professionals call me that. heh.

    family calls me sammie, which sounds little-kiddish to me, but it’s their thing, so whatever.

    friends and everyone else call me sam. except when they are SERIOUS and then they call me samantha. especially j when he is trying to be mad at me or talk sense to me. SAMANTHA, SERIOUSLY?! yeah, it sucks. heh.

    • sam’s recent blog post: hai. no longer mad.

  16. sarah

    My name used to really piss me off, because it’s so common. There were four Sarahs in my grade freshman year of high school (out of 80 people) and two of them were my best friends (and one of them was me).

    Mogin used to piss me off because it seemed so masculine… I don’t know.

    Then for some reason I turned a corner and realized that while Sarah and Mogin might not be so great on their own, Sarah Mogin is a pretty bangin’ combination.

  17. Adam-
    You knew that! Didn’t you? I mean it makes sense: he met me at the same time y’all did.

    Yeah, I never wanted to be Krissy, but ooo you’re lucky you’re a Kris! That’s so tomboy-cool.

    LOL! I’m sure I’d answer to that too…

    Aw, Sammie is so cute. :)

    There’s always the h or no h factor, though! Although having a best friend with the same name must get confusing… o_O

    I think Mogin is cute!

  18. The first name is Erin, middle Faye. I’ve always been “Erin,” which annoyed me growing up. I appreciate it now because I’ve actually come to dislike names that sound too bouncy or too feminine. When I was ten I decided I’d go as “E. F. Danehy” if I ever wrote a book. I like it. It makes people ask what the “F” stands for, which is my sneaky way of getting to enjoy my middle name.

    Most people don’t actually say my name the way my parents and I say it. They use the more Gaelic/Irish pronunciation of “Air-in” whereas we all say “Err-in.” Subtle and strange, yes. Does it make a difference? No, so long as I’m not called “Aaron” which really pisses me off. (It hasn’t happened as often as me getting asked if I’m any relation to actor Brian Dennehy. I was asked that yesterday.)

    I claimed, when I was thirteen, that I was “unnicknameable” and so my friend started calling me “Er” which she actually kept up for a number of years. My mother has called me “Rin,” “Rinsky,” “Erinsk,” and other things, none of which make sense and I don’t even remember how they got started.

    Bryan never calls me by “Erin” unless we’re in the company of other people. He creates a new nonsense name for me mostly every other day.

    • Erin’s recent blog post: More

  19. Faye is SUCH a pretty name! My middle name is Liu, which is cool because it’s the only official hint of my Asian heritage, but in elementary school there was another Kristin so I couldn’t be Cristina in Spanish class (and god forbid there be two) so Señora Henry said I had to be Lulu. I hated it/her.

    I’ve debated the publication name too… No conclusions yet. I like how many possibilities I have though, lol, in case I want to do really disparate genres.

  20. hahaha awesome! i think its cool that you’ve gone by so many names in your life. i’ve gone by jay tenaj, janet, floreta (online) etc. etc. your names are so different from eachother though! very interesting..

    • floreta’s recent blog post: Archive Monday: Mother Earth

  21. Tenaj, hehe. I did Natsirk for a while (like online stuff) but, uh, it sounds very alien. Cartoon alien. Tenaj just sounds… Indian? :P

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