Growing up, I never entirely warmed to my name. My friends had strong and interesting names: Patty, Gwen, Heidi, Gail. Mine was so easily confused with Christine, Kristy or Christian, that I hardly ever used Kristen.
I was called Kris as a kid and my family still call me that. Paired with my maiden name, Hill, I had the briefest of monikers. But as a challenge, Mom & Dad gave me a family surname as a middle name—8 letters with a 4 consonant cluster—that I could not spell reliably until I was nine years old.
My mother once admitted to a friend (she thought I was out of earshot) that she’d hoped her daughters would use their full names, Kristen and Jennifer, wear dresses and quietly read books.
Well, I did read books, but I didn’t become Kristen until I was in the workplace. Over the phone, “Kris Hill” sounded too much like Crystal and it confused people. And there were two other K/Chrises in my department, one of whom sat next to me. It wasn’t long before I was Kristen Hill, and shortly after that I married and dropped Hill for McQuillin (keeping the consonant clustered middle name).
But between Kris and Kristen, there were a number of nicknames. My favorites were Cricket and Kip.
When I was four, the older kids in the neighborhood, no doubt exasperated by my talkativeness, dubbed me Cricket. At the time, I recognised it for the put-down that it was, but later on, I adopted it as my own and was known to some as Cricket all the way through high school.
Kip I chose for myself in a fit of fashion. It was the preppy early 80s. I liked the plosive ending, and the fact that it incorporated a single letter of my middle name. Plus it was a boy’s name at a time when I was struggling to balance my tomboy nature with the torture of puberty and never having a date. I was not too happy being a girl that year.
These days, I’m most often called Kristen, but I answer to Kuri (Japanese for chestnut and an abbreviated form of my name in kana), and “media tinker.” If you should call me Cricket, I’ll probably respond.
What nicknames have you collected?Posted by kuri at April 25, 2004 08:42 AM