sometimes they can be a tricky business.

or maybe i just made it a little trickier! before i can remember i was baby bi (pronounced bee). the nickname has two origins. firstly, it is a kanji meaning beauty in japanese and beginning in chinese. secondly, it is in reference to a great dolphin film from the 70s. yes, you read that correctly, an amazing movie about dolphins. the female dolphin is called beta, or “b” and the male dolphin (alpha) cries for her in a dolphin voice “bbbbbb!” my parents would sometimes imitate that to me when i was tiny. i, thankfully, do not remember.

my entire family knows me as bi, as did teachers and friends. the first day of school i’d always let the teacher know that i went by bi. church friends however thought my name was robin and that created a lot of confusion at my 6th birthday party (the exact details of that memorable birthday will be saved for a later post.) although i mostly went by bi at school, that’s not to say that i wasn’t constantly called robin hood, asked where batman was, wanted to know if they could meet alf or any member of the full house family (all tanners) or reminded that i had a boy name. i knew no other girl robins. we kids only had robin williams and a famous baseball player robin to draw from… both boys. in third grade during recess what seemed like the entire school made a super size nest from all the freshly cut soccer field grass. they forced me to sit in it and said i had to lay an egg or my name wasn’t robin. no eggs were laid.

the other pronunciation of my nickname didn’t become a problem until high school. teenage boys would crack themselves up asking if i were “bi.” those same boys gave birth to my ongoing moniker. it was after my brother accompanied me to a north high jv basketball game one afternoon that they commented on how we looked exactly alike except i had longer hair. from that moment on they called james “tanner” and me “tannerbabe.”

the past 10 years friends have called me robs, robby, rt, bibs, bidee or just tanner… and i have always been able to keep straight who calls me which. but not just anyone could call me bi. poor john from delta, utah learned that the hard way my sophomore year of college. he was trying to woo me i guess and i thought he was cute… but let’s face it. i was a complete freak when it came to boys. i was almost 20 and i had never been kissed. let alone held a boy’s hand. john left a message for me one night and made the fatal mistake of calling me bi. what right did he have to use that name!? i was so outraged. i don’t think he ever quite knew why i dropped off the face of the planet…

i’m not as touchy about being called bi now. and i’m not as squeamish when it comes to boys either. but christian’s name has opened up a whole other can of worms. who knew such a straight forward name would instantly lend itself to a self-made nickname by everyone he casually meets?? he says, “hi i’m christian.” they say, “oh, nice to meet you chris.” we wait for the -tian… but it doesn’t usually come. he’ll even correct people in the same conversation, but without fail the ending is the same. does anyone have an explanation for this? or have you had similar experiences with the un-warranted shortening of your name?


5 thoughts on “nicknames…

  1. >Oh Robin! Your blogs never cease to be intertaining!As for nicknames, the natural one that comes to mind for my name is “Nat”. I normally don’t mind when folks choose to call me that, although I do find it funny when I first meet someone, introduce myself as Natalie, and the next time we talk they’re calling me Nat. I feel like Nat is usually reserved for good friends. Neither Will nor my family calls me Nat. And I can only remember one time, in college, when I was annoyed beyond measure that some guy in my ward insisted on calling me Nat. Oh well…As for Christian and the Chris thing, I’m baffled. I’m big on calling people by their given names. That’s why none of my kids will have longer type names, ie, Matthew, but be called a nickname – Matt.Speaking of, do you think Macallister has any obvious nicknames?

  2. >oh great! now i feel like a real jerk for all of those times i called you g-nat without permission!!!! as for macallister.. the only nicknames that come to mind are callie, mickey or mac.

  3. >does that mean if i call you bi then we’re through?ah well.the whole nickname thing for me became clearly defined when, years after my mother passed away, my aunt put together her history, including letters that she had sent. one talks about me and what they named me: richard, or richie, but never rick, dick or dickie. something like older sister (and her kids) still call me richie, but i decided on rik in high school. didn’t know about the letter then. but hey, it’s not rick!

  4. >what if i called you richie rich? and you can basically call me whatever you want… i think my reaction to john calling me bi was reflective of me being 19 years old!

  5. Well a robin’s song is described as ‘cheerily’ and that would be descriptive of you too. Maybe insightful as the number one word but cheery is up there. Or interesting. How do you manage to fit so much living into so few years?

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