Nicknames are weird things. They’re not your name, but people use them to refer to you.

Qua Frege, we might think of this in terms of Sinn und Bedeutung (Sense and Reference). Basically, the idea that the ‘meaning’ of a naming word isn’t necessarily just the thing it points to – thus showing how “Bruce Wayne” and “Batman” can mean different things yet refer to the same man (otherwise “Bruce Wayne IS Batman!” wouldn’t be a significant proposition duh).

But what I’m interested in mostly is the fact that we hardly ever get to choose our nicknames. There’s that one time on the first day of class when the teacher goes down the register and you get to declare what name you want to go by. But if you miss that chance, you’re pretty much screwed.

And anyway, you’re more likely to be christened with a nickname by others, as a result of something out of your control. Lost your shoes one time? Congrats, you are no No Shoes for the remainder of your days. Or, if you’ve been through a grammar school education, your last name just IS your full name, unless there’s a shorter version knocking around somewhere.

As a result, I’ve picked up lots of nicknames over the years. I’d like to take this opportunity to explain which ones I liked and which ones I don’t. Please refer to this guide at any time if you think you have a new nickname for me. It probably has been done before.

  1. Richard
    Ok, this one is just my normal name. But I guess it could be a nickname if you were a very literal kind of version. This is OK.
  2. Ricky
    Sometimes pronounced “Rickayyy!” in the style of Eastenders. But no, I am not down with this. NOT OK.
  3. Rickster (the trickster)
    I like this one if it has the attached coda, but often it isn’t. And I don’t like just “Rickster” – it sounds unpleasant. NOT OK.
  4. Rick
    This is a common abbreviation for Richards apparently, so I get it quite a lot. But I don’t like it. It’s nasty, short, and brutish. Please don’t use it. NOT OK.
  5. Dick
    Every Richard everywhere gets called this all the time. It’s not new or clever. It’s hurtful. Please don’t. NEVER OK.
  6. Dicky
    Look, what did I just say? NOT EVEN ONCE.
  7. R
    This isn’t really a name so only works if we’re in a secret society or something together (in which case, our next meeting takes place under the soonest full moon). SOMETIMES OK.
  8. RC
    A clever attempt at initialisation. I’m OK with this.
  9. RAC
    Only used by those who know of my middle name. Since it’s also the name of the Royal Automobile Club, I’m a bit uncomfortable with the driving association. NOT OK.
  10. Cook
    My favourite nickname! I enjoyed this throughout school and was disappointed that it didn’t carry over into uni. But please, do go ahead. I’m proud of my name and love it. VERY OK.
  11. Cookman
    An alias I used for a while online when making usernames. It didn’t really catch on like I thought it would and now just causes me occasional embarrassment. NOT OK.
  12. Cookie Monster
    I get this quite a bit as well. And I get it. But it’s kind of annoying. I’m not a monster. I’D RATHER YOU DIDN’T.
  13. cookywook
    My nickname of choice at the moment. It’s fun, unique, full of character, and only partially ripped off from Russell Brand. VERY OK.
  14. cookmantang
    I’ve never been called this but I think it sounds cool. MAYBE I DUNNO.
  15. HRH Queen Elizabeth II
    Again, I haven’t had this one yet. But since I’m setting the record straight now seems like a good time to put into writing the fact that I don’t want to be called HRH Queen Elizabeth II. PLEASE NO.
  16. The People’s Republic of Uzcookistan
    YEAH OK.
  17. Fat face
    What. Why would you-that’s not very nice. 🙁
  18. Frog lips
    I don’t have frog lips????
  19. Clean Shirt
    yes I like a good clean shirt but I don’t see what that has to do wit-
  20. {voiceless howling that echoes across the infiniteness of eternity}
    I’m actually ok with this one too.