What's in a name?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My given name is Christine Jean. You can't help but say it with a little twaaang. You have to remember it was 1966 and right around the Petticoat Junction era so lots of us have middle names like Jean and Jo.

Anyone with a name that can be shortened into a nickname knows that there are usually lots of variations given to you by friends and family.

I grew up being called Chrissy by my friends.

My sister called me Kickie because I had a propensity to kick people as a child. Really hard.

My grandfather called me Christy, in his broken English accent.

My father called me Kissy and my mother affectionately called me, you Little Bitch.

When I got my first job at 15, I decided it was time to use my grown up name of Christine, since Chrissy sounded too babyish to be entering the workforce. I worked at Woolworth's and I proudly bore my 'Christine' name tag on my mint green smock. I'm certain that my decision to forego my childhood nickname was the reason why Old Lady Evelyn, the crotchety keeper of the toy, pets and notions departments, chose me to tend to her fiefdom when she was away.

Most of my friends who have met me past the age of 25, call me Christine. Anyone who has known me since school or before or has met me through that group of friends calls me Chrissy.

I remember when I was 19, I worked with a girl whose mother's name was Susie and I thought to myself, What grown woman calls themselves by such a silly name? Well, I guess I do now.

I've had to endure the Chrissy Snow references from Three's Company. Is your real name Christmas? Nope.

Then, in 1983, the movie Christine came out about a possessed car named Christine. Christine? You mean like the car? Good one. Haven't heard that before.

I'm always surprised and annoyed when I meet people as Christine and they assume a nickname for me. Nice meeting you, Chris. You'll notice no one calls me Chris and there's a reason for that.

I had a 6th grade teacher named Mr. Kidd who was 6'4, skinny as a rail and ignorant as could be. Our classroom was at the rear of a hallway of about 8 rooms and the school office was at the opposite end. Back then, there weren't strategically placed copiers outside of classrooms for convenient mid-day copying. There was one mimeograph machine that the school secretary used to crank out duplicates in blue ink.

One spring morning, Mr. Dick, oops, I mean Mr. Kidd, needed someone to go to the office and have some copies made. I was 5'9 and chubby and tried to remain inconspicuous as my tiny people pleasing classmates raised their hands to volunteer. I was sure he was going to pick pretty petite Jennifer when I heard him say, Thank you for volunteering, Jennifer, but why don't we let Chris go? She needs the exercise.

To this day, I hear those words in my head every time someone makes the mistake of calling me Chris.

My professional name was going to be Blair Brennan when I became a supermodel but that didn't really pan out. My friend Debbie and I used to make up names and professions when we were in our early 20's and out at a bar. They were usually classy sounding like Bambi or Amber but then we never remembered them when someone would call out our names later in the night.

"Is he talking to you?"

"No, aren't you Bambi?"

"No, I'm Mitzy."

"Mitzy? Weren't you Mitzy last week?"

For now, I guess I'm just wannabe stripper chick, Chrissy Starr.


  1. That's funny. I have a definite aversion to shortened forms of my name. I even blogged about it last month.

  2. OMG, Christine...do you remember when Amelia was born? Nana and Michael's sister's all (and at separate times!) asked what I named the baby. "Amelia", I'd answer. "What are you going to call her...?", they'd ask.
    Excuse me? Didn't I JUST TELL you her name? A-M-E-L-I-A. Duh. No wonder they never got her middle name right either.....

  3. I never had a nickname of any sort. People have always called me just "Jeff." To my face, anyway. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there are nicknames for me that I am not aware of, be design. Good post, Chris-sy-tine.

  4. I'm a nickname giver myself.Anyone I meet I tend to give them a new name with my own personal flair.Now you've got me thinking I've offended the hell out of people...I sure hope not! I guess I need to call up a few whatsernames and see if I did. Thanks for bring my attention to this.

    Oh and BTW...great blog!

  5. I just read your post, Christina. That's so funny. I don't know how people just assume but it irks me, too. You tell 'em!

  6. Yes, Nancy, I do remember them all being so befuddled by her name. And I'm sure they all think her middle name is Morgan, like Morgan Fairchild.

  7. Really, Jeff? No nicknames at all? Not even J? Or Jeffy?

  8. Thinkinofyou,

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. Most people aren't as emotionally scarred by their 6th grade teachers as me.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Carlos, my name, is hard to shorten, and it sounds like shit in anything but Spanish. It also immediately identifies me as not white. You'd be surprised what people say when people think there aren't any beaners in the room. *sob*

  10. My mom used names for my brother and I that could not be shortened. Unfortunately, my brother was named Glenn Campbell before the entertainer became popular.

    Christine is a pretty name.

  11. Carlos! Sorry, I've been calling you by your middle name. Yes, hard to shorten but very sexy when the 'r' is rolled. I can't do that.

    Sorry for all the ignorant people. :-(

  12. Hi Reforming Geek,
    Lucky you, then, no nickname nightmares. I love Glenn Campbell! Now I'm going to have "Gentle on my mind" in my head all night...

    Thanks. I think I lucked out in the name category.

  13. This post brought back so many childhood memories for me, Chrissy Starr!

    Ronald, Ronnie, Ron...you name it, I've been called it. My father use to call me RASPUTIN!! Can you believe it??? RASPUTIN??? I mean, the man was an evil Russian possessed psychotic psychic!!!

    I was actually named after the old-time actor Ronald Coleman because my mother had the hots for him when she was younger. And I think it's ironic that I ended up going into show business when I got older. Destiny I suppose!?

    It's funny though how our names really do effect how we feel, isn't it?

    I like your given name Christine Jean. Oh...and Petticoat Junction!!! I loved that show. I use to watch it every single week. And I loved the opening with the girls inside the water tower, remember?

    Toot- Toot!...Petticoaaaaaat Junction!

    Anyway, Miss Starr...sorry to ramble, but your posts always turn me into a "Chatty Cathy!!"

    Hope you had a great weekend!


  14. Hi Chrissy! Your teacher needed to be taken out after school and gang raped by all the boys. Sorry but he was a dick. I think your name is very pretty and not because that is my niece's name either. People are cruel and even though my name is plain old Sue, I have heard it all . How would you like people calling sooooooeeeee every time you walked into a room, by family members! Sheesh

  15. I hadn't thought about that ditz Chrissy from Three's Company in years. So thanks for that. There was a great SNL skit about a couple trying to think of baby names and kept rejecting all of them because of how the kid would get teased. "Can't name him JOHN! Hey, I gotta go to the john! Hey, toilet-boy!" stuff like that. Kid's will make fun of everyone's name. Just ask my junior high classmate Clayton Chortie (pronounced, tragically, "shorty").

  16. People used to sing that 80's song to me all the time until one day I asked who sang it. No one could tell me so I told them they couldn't sing it until they knew the original artist. Then I moved away from the people and have been song free since. The only nicknames I ever had were Bear and Running Chicken. Yeah. No connection at all except that I answered to them.

  17. Hey Rasputin!

    That is the funniest thing I've ever heard. I had to look up Ronald Coleman. You turned out to be a much bigger star!

    Of course I had to go to youtube and look up the song. It was in my head all day yesterday...

  18. SOOOOOOOEEEEEE!! I'm sorry. You do understand you set yourself up there.

    A gang rape might be a little harsh but some innocent waterboarding might teach him a lesson.

    Thanks for the compliment and for stopping by~

  19. Hey Chris,

    SNL still comes up with some good stuff. Poor Mr. Chortie. Maybe he should have changed his name.

    I dated a guy when I was like 19 whose name was Marc Schnittlinger. He changed it to Linger, because that sounds so much better.

  20. Running chicken, Sarah? Running Bear, I can see...

    I can't remember who sang that. And lucky for you, neither could the people who sang it to you.

    My cousin named her daughter Sara, after the
    Hall & Oats song, Sara Smile.

    Good seeing you~


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