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What’s in a Nickname?

"The Boss"

We all know who that guy in the photo is – It’s Bruce Springsteen. If you’re talking about music and you say “The Boss” or  even just “Bruce”, chances are that people will know you’re referring to Springsteen. At one point, he got the nickname “The Boss” and it stuck. Like Bruce Springsteen, a lot of celebrities are better known by their nicknames than by their real names.

Quick, off the top of your head, what’s Sting’s real name? How ’bout Fergie? And of course there’s Bono.

The British tabloid press absolutely love nicknaming celebs; there’s Becks, The Hoff, Jacko, and of course the original Fergie (which is actually one of the kinder nicknames that Fleet Street has come up with for The Dutchess of York).

I’m a fan of nicknames, with the caveat that they’re given by someone else. I think it’s a sign of acceptance and endearment when someone bestows a nickname on you. An old boss of mine gave everyone nicknames; our Program Director, Steve Ardolina is known as “Ardo” around the office, our engineer, originally from the South is “Cowboy”, etc. Right around the time that Jennifer Lopez got really popular and the press ran with “J-Lo”, my co-workers realized that my name works that way too, I’ve been called “J-Lou” ever since.

Heck, my dog Sydney has about a dozen (Syd, Syddles, Sydling, Sydbot, Skittles, and Doodles among some of the most used), and she answers to, well, most of them.

I do have to say though, I’m not a huge fan of self-given nicknames (I knew a guy who insisted on calling himself “The Iceman”…I never quite got that one, big Val Kilmer fan maybe?). I feel like a nickname is something that should be bestowed upon you, not self declared.

And of course there are relationship nicknames, “honey”, “baby”, “sweetie”, “snoogie-woogie” (What? Don’t judge).

So what do you think? What’s your favorite nickname either for a friend, family member, or celebrity?

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