Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Choosing a Nom de Plume



I can’t go around calling myself only SSW but I’m not willing to confess neither my, nor my children’s, names. Although my real name is common in Saudia (There’s a popular Saudi TV show presenter with my name) it was hard growing up in the states in a non-“ethnic” area with that name. I always dreaded the first day of school and knew when the teacher reached my name on the attendance list due to the long pause and contemplation over pronunciation. I didn’t meet anyone else with my name till I was 19 and bumped into a like-named Jordanian woman in a Masjid in America! My sister had a similar issue, she grew up in a white neighborhood with a ghetto name. This issue has since been resolved as she now lives in the projects:P

My Aunt Teddy (her nickname not her real name) tried to encourage me to choose an “American” nickname for myself when I was young. My name is too “foreign” and she thought that if I chose a more “American” sounding name to use, it would make people more comfortable. When I was a child, I cursed my name as it made me more different from my peers than I already was. I longed to be named Jenny or Amy. I now love my real name and hate the fact that there are so many others with that name here in Saudia.

Choosing a nickname is a kind of family tradition on my grandpa’s side of the family (my mom’s dad). The other branches of the family, both foreign and domestic, have normal names that reflect their paternal social/ethnic backgrounds and at best, shorten them to find a nickname. My grandpa was the only stick-in-the mud who didn’t choose a nickname out of his four siblings and the majority of that generation went by very imaginative nicknames. I feel like continuing the tradition in my efforts to blog-name myself and children. Seeing as how some of my grandpa’s family’s names (both real and nicknames) are very southern sounding, I went to the red-neck name generator on the internet. For some strange reason it was blocked! I didn’t know red-neck names were morally dangerous to Saudis! This strengthened my resolve to find redneck names for us. I want to pick a name that both Americans and non-English speakers could say seeing as how the name might just stick! For example, I thought of nick-naming my son “Cooter” until I pictured his Saudi cousins and my dad trying to say it! After doing a bit of research, recalling old family names and asking my children their opinion, I’ve narrowed it down to the following choices:

Myself: Daisy
My oldest daughter: Maryjo
My middle daughter: EttaMae
My son: Bud(dy) -must be said like Rudy Huxtable from"Cosby" or alternatively like Pauly Shore


My oldest daughter already has a nickname from soon after her birth that agrees with all ethnic aspects of my family. I had to change that for my blog because she’s only called by her nickname now so it may reveal her identity! I’ve been searching for one for my son since his birth and I think Buddy may stick. Anyone got any suggestions? Remember to try and pronounce it with a foreign accent and if it sounds way too weird, don’t bother.

8 comments:

hedoorientia said...

Thats really ironic - both you and your sister ends up in environments where your names are very common today :)

I'm of course very curious to what your real name is, but I won't bug you - of course I understand that you have to be anonymous.

As for a nickname for your son... Hmmm - we dont really use nicknames in Norway but I can throw in my suggestion anyway: ROBIN. I know it can be used for both males and females, and its a beautiful bird - I love it.

Sand Gets in My Eyes said...

Aren't nicknames funny? We never had any nicknames in our family - our names were just so ho-hum, but when we named our son in line with the six generations before him, my mother promptly announced that his official name was "too big for such a cute little boy" and started calling him Eddy. She's 5-0, he's 6-1 and she is still the only one allowed to call him by anything but his given name!

On a more serious note - remaining anonymous is no laughing matter. I know I self-edit a lot of things out of my blog and my husband has, on more than one occasion - asked me to "consider the consequences" of putting identifying bits on a site that contains what some might consider to be "dangerous" opinions!

saudi stepford wife said...

There's NOTHING ho-hum about the names in my family. Some branches can't even pronounce the names of other branches! Then you got the nicknames:
Bus (possibly short for Buster origanally..no one can remember),Dixie, Brother, Sister...

samsara said...

Now this post simply forces me to consider writing one about Somali nicknames.If it sticks, forget you have a name, toughen up and brace your self,that nickname is it, stuck to you, your children and probably their children'll carry it after them! the irony is sarcasm's a second, no le me correct that, sarcasm is FIRST nature with Somalis. so forget sweet or cute... They're both shocking and funny as hell. I'm still working out how your not supposed to be insulted! I'd probably cry like a baby.

saudi stepford wife said...

Oh, Americans have a mean streak sometimes too. Try nicknames like Bucky, Stretch, Twiggy. One of my Aunt's nicknamed her kid BooBoo because he was an unplanned pregnancy!

UmmAbdurRahman said...

this is hilarious. i grew up in Louisiana. My mom's parents are from Mississipp(grandma) and North Louisiana(grandpa).

I can talk for almost an hour about her aunt's names alone. my grandfather's name is James Gurley.
His sisters are: Tishy Joe, Dottie Dee, Bobbie Mac,and Lucia Ines. There's no need for nicknames with these kind of names.

My mom's side of the family is what we like to affectionately call "stump jumpers" basically means redneck.

Who really cares anyway. I'm proud of who i am and where I came from and even if I wasn't I couldnt change it anyway.

saudi stepford wife said...

You know what Jeff Foxworthy says about people from Louisiana?

"Rednecks with hotsauce":)

Thanks for intro'ing yourself and I love your post "Be Proud".

There's a link to "Nola.com" on your blog....that's my Aunt Teddy's real name! We joke that her name's a double negative, (No)(La)in Arabic.

Umm Adam said...

Love your blog and your humor.

My grandfather had 18 grandchildren and he gave all of us nicknames! I have so many different naes that I go by. My real name is Intisar but even my own father couldn't pronounce it (and still can't) and he pronounced it In-Tee-sa so his whole family calls me Teesa. My grandfather called 'lil ole Hattie Mae' cuz I reminded him of my grandmother (both of my grandmothers' names were Hattie Mae). I walked on my tippy toes when I was little so I was and to this day am called 'Tippi' by everybody except Muslims. Then there's my kunya...