My name is Patricia. It is what it is.
My father called me Patsy, but in school I was Patty. It’s a wonder I didn’t end up anorexic: think of the insults that rhyme. Of course, the bullies in our class teased Cathy with the same taunt—fatty Cathy? Perhaps they’re writing some of the lyrics we hear today.
I was Trisha (and other names, including Bubbles, which I will not explain!) in college. During studies in Russia, I used the patronymic, adding my father’s name: Patrizia Mauricovna. That was shortened to Patza by Russian students.
And I will never forget the German examiner who fixed me with her icy stare and said, “Guten Tag, Frau Mai!” I did not do well during her session.
Many years ago, as my career was just getting off the ground, I decided to use Patricia professionally and Patty for personal friends. It was a way of helping me more rapidly remember the context in which I had met someone.
Along the line, Mom, Mommy, Mo—ther!, and Mama were added to the list.
On the phone, “Patricia from Precision Language” was a mouthful. The company name change to Tembua had an unexpected benefit!
Vendors and clients alike sometimes shorten my name to Patty or even Pat, and I am always interested in how, when, and why they make that choice. Is it the depth of the relationship? Do they have an acquaintance with the same name? Or are they just moving from business formal to business casual? Perhaps someday I’ll mount a research project on nicknames.
Do you have a hated given name but a cherished nickname? Is it the other way around? I’d like to hear your name story!