The Name Game

My daughter, Clara, turned seven on Monday. Tomorrow we host a birthday party for friends and family. 

I was telling Clara stories about the day she was born, and this story came to mind, which I wrote about at the time (to Clara) and thought I would share here.

It's a testament to my wife's ability to remain cool under pressure.

During labor, many people were in and out of our room. Nurses and doctors surrounded the bed, constantly introducing themselves and stating their positions.

“Hi, I’m Doctor Smith, the attending on tonight.”

“Hello, I’m Doctor Jones. I’ll be administering your epidural.”

“I’m Doctor Andrews. I’m here to turn down your epidural.”

“I’m Doc Simpson. I’m here to look at your vagina.”

Most remarkably, your mom seemed to keep track of all these people amidst all the contractions and pushing. At one point a doctor introduced herself to us, consulted with another doctor, checked in with a couple nurses, and then turned to leave just as your mother began pushing again. But before she did, she took a moment to look up and say goodbye to the doctor, addressing her by her name.

Katherine, our nurse, turned to me and said, “How can she possibly remember all these people’s names?”

A few minutes later, Katherine asked a nurse to arrange for "Petey" to come down to our room. Considering every other person in the room had been introduced either with their title of doctor or by their first name in the case of the two female nurses, the thought of some guy named Pete, who apparently insisted on being called by his first name, coming to the room alarmed your mother.

“Wait a minute,” she said. “Whose Petey?”

“Not Petey, a person,” Katherine explained. “Pediatrics. They’ll need to be here at the delivery.”

Half naked, contracting and pushing, your mother was still on the top of her game.

Men are much more likely to use nicknames. Is this true, and if so, why?

Ever notice that men are much more likely to assign nicknames or use surnames when two or more people share the same first name, whereas women are not?

Why is this?

For example, there are three Matthews in one of my circles of friend. Myself, Matthew Shepard and Matthew Parker. Rather than relying on versions of of our first names, we simply became Shep, Parker, and Matty.

In another circle of friends, there are three Michaels. Each ended up being referred to by their surnames. Even with the possibility of using Michael,  Mike and even Mikey, no version of the first name was left standing.

In a third circle of friends, there are two Jeffs. Jeff Coger became Coog and Jeff Martin became Martin. Again, no first name variant was left standing. 

Yet I never see women do this. Though I refer to some of my female friends by their surnames from time to time, I can’t remember the last time I heard a woman do this. And I almost never see a woman going by a nickname of any kind. A Jennifer may become a Jen or a Jenny, but rarely does she  become a J.Lo. 

Am I just hanging out with the wrong kind of women or is this a thing?

And if so, why?