Hello, my name is not Juan

The blogsphere collective consciousness is connected somehow, I have been thinking about the topic of names and psychology and I read two posts related to it almost back to back. One about how Becky got a chuckle after a dog naming choice and Will talking about the pronunciation of Sotomayor.

One of my grandparents abhorred nicknames, he felt that you gave a child a name so it would be used. That side of the family really gave neither my sister or I any nicknames. The other side of my family had nicknames for pretty much everyone, and they are ever changing. Its kind of weird sometimes because even though most of my sense of humor comes from one side of the family, you can guess which one, I have always felt like I belonged more with the other.

During my school years back in Colombia I had one nickname, that was “Gato” which means cat and it was given to me because of my eyes. They are a very unusual color and are an interesting combination of my Mother’s color and one of my Aunt’s. During college and thanks to being the third John to go into “the apartment” I got the nick name “Paco” but I only like it when people from that time period use it. People from the online world know me a Logtar, well some anyway, most people start calling me John after they get to know me since my online moniker is really not part of my personality in any way. Logtar is the first nickname I have ever chosen, but it is purely an online handle that is both short and available as a user name in most sites. I was actually very excited when I found out that I was “Chicago John” in the DeGuia household.

I love my name, including my middle name which is actually my Dad’s first name. My family has a tradition that all the males in the family inherit the first name of their father’s as a middle name. While I don’t mind Johnny or Johnathan here and there, I really like it when people use my name. My friend Brit always cracks me up when she says my full name including the middle one.

I never had a problem with the name Juan. One of my cousin’s that lived with us for a period of times is name Juan Carlos and he is pretty much an older brother to me. When I moved to the U.S. people started to try to call me Juan because they assumed I “translated” my name when I arrived.

The first one to challenge on this was my Spanish teacher in High School. I have a lot of respect for good teachers, but have also had my encounters escalate with some of the bad ones. Dr. Perez was someone that insisted on calling me Juan. For a PhD he is very ignorant when it came to many things. I finally won my battle the day I had to proved him wrong when he was making up a word in Spanish and had to come back the next day after looking it up in the ultimate dictionary from Spain he had at home and apologize for calling me a liar.

Ever since I dislike people that try to translate my name to Spanish when my parents chose to call me John. I guess I will never understand the need for Spanish teachers to use “translating” someone’s name as a teaching tool.

So what about you? Do you like your name? Do you like your nickname? Did you chose your own nickname?

21 comments on “Hello, my name is not Juan

  1. many people here try to suck up to your ethnicity thinking that it makes them look more accepting. it always annoys me. as far as class setting, I don’t see a problem with that. when I was in my English classes during my school years they called me Michael, I had no problem with it, it was a part of teaching process. I discourage people from using my Russian name- it really does nothing for me and no one can pronounce it right anyway.

  2. I have never liked my first name, but others do. The name you know me by is actually my middle name. I dropper my first name in jr. high. It starts with an R and is impossible to guess.

  3. XO,

    Starts with R, eh. Lemme guess… Rebecca?

    Anywho, I hated my name so much that I when I got into college I had it legally changed to “Throat Wobbler Mangrove”

  4. My name is fine and although it was teased in numerous ways as a kid (whose wasn’t though?) I like it. I don’t really have a nickname, but my wife likes to use my middle name and my daughter puts an “ie” on the end of my name when she uses it. One of my good friends in High School was also named Mark and me and some of my other friends always called him “ditto”. =)

    –> Meesha, I hear what you are saying about someone trying to “suck up” but in my life, I thought I was giving respect to someone by trying to use their actual name instead of their Anglicized name. For example, we have a Chinese couple that goes to our church who call themselves Joe and Lisa and I thought he might appreciate it if I actually took the time to learn his real name.

  5. My family has always called me Mindy, except for my sister when I was little, and she called me Lindi, which I kinda liked. The Mindy is hard to fend off with the fam, so I’ve let it lie, but recently, thanks to Facebook, an old chum from junior high times found me and called me Mindy. Nobody but family uses it now, and it irritated me for some reason, so I had to tell him that it was ok that he call me Melinda…which I know he doesn’t like, because he doesn’t know me as Melinda, but I’m not Mindy anymore. An ex called me Mel, which was fine for the time. My favorite nickname now is “Schatzi”, which means “treasure” or “darling” in German, and only Wiley uses that one.

  6. Unlike Randolph, I was fine with my given name, which, when all 4 appellations are used, is quite a mouthful.

    My nickname was assigned in college when I went through a year stretch of dating only nurses…

    I’ve never known anyone (oustside the Matrix)to have given themselves a nickname that actually stuck.

  7. I’ve never been fond of being on the receiving end of nicknames. When in elementary school, my grandfather would ask me what the kids at school called me. He didn’t want me to be a “Johnny” or for people to think my name was “Jonathan.” I get rather agitated when people mistakenly use either of these, so I guess the conditioning took.

    At work I’m frequently referred to by my initials, which are my username and the first part of my email address. When somebody tries to catch my attention by this shorthand, I will frequently snap off a very curt “You may address me as John or Mr. Fitzgerald.”

    My nephew John goes by “Jack” or “Jackers.” He’s six.

  8. I struggle with this one. I have had many throughout life and I get a kick out of people from different times in my life calling me different names. Rob has stuck with me the longest. Most of my friends and coworkers call me that. What bothers me is BOB i just don’t feel like a Bob. People who don’t know me assume Bob is ok because the vast majorities of the Roberts are Bob’s.

    I know in college in an attempt to be incognito. We would use our middle name and the street we grew up on as our aliases at the different pubs and house parties. Long live Edward Hollow.

  9. If your Spanish instructor was like mine, used to teaching whitebread kids, he may have had a policy of only using the Spanish versions of names. He might just not have cared to make an exception for you based on your background. In my class John to Juan was easy, but some translations were difficult. My brothers and mothers names were not directly translatable for instance.

    As to names, since the directory at work and my ID both have my full name on them some customers use that. Others use the shortened form that I usually use. I have had coworkers give me nicknames based on my name, or used my initials.

    Nuke tho is different. I chose it based on parts of my background and have used it in numerous online instances. In fact some people, even people I have met in the real world, know me so much better as Nuke that they use that as my name. The first time I ran into a friend that called me Nuke in front of my parents I had to explain (they were concerned at first that I needed a code name or secret identity for some reason). Once I know people I am fine with them using Nuke or my name. Both are me.

  10. For a long time, I hated my name. It was too unique and when you are a kid, unique is annoying. I wanted something simple like Scott.

    Now that I’m older, I’m glad I have a somewhat unique name with a decent background (yes, it comes from the movie starring Alan Ladd).

    I still get a lot of people that mispronounce my name as Shawn, which is not the worst name in the world. It just indicates a complete lack of understanding for the English language.

  11. “Bob” is what baby-boomer Roberts were called. Younger Roberts tend to be Rob. It’s a name with a lot of available alternate forms.

    As for “Dick,” I think it’s like how some people insist on wearing bow-ties. They just cannot process the distinction between being distinctive and being ridiculous. Just a theory.

    And I just came up with like twelve alternate Logtar-as-hitman nicknames that don’t bear repeating. A lot to work with there.

  12. re the “dick” query:

    sometimes life is simply unfair.

    i have occasion to work with a gentleman from Belgium. He’s a peach of a guy; acutely intelligent, friendly, great father and husband. Whenever I have to travel “over there”, his family puts me up, wouldn’t here of me staying in a hotel. When he comes stateside, Nora and I do the same for him: the Astas adore the guy…

    We have talked this subject over at some length. Neither of us have a clue what his father –since passed- was thinking.

    His name? Peter Cox.

  13. They had a whole panel of people with names like that on the old Man Show, they showed their ID’s to prove they were for real i.e Dick Hertz, but while you may be stuck with “Hertz” you don’t have to insist on being called a dick.

  14. Ah, the funny thing about “Paco” is that we referred to you as that behind your back because there were too many Johns at the apartment. I can’t remember who finally let it slip, but after you didn’t thorougly beat our asses after hearing it, it stuck for good. Now it is just a term of endearment. In any case, I have never really had a nickname. The closest I ever got was all you guys calling me “T” for short. So that’s what I have on my big cowboy belt buckle now.

  15. It was John Parsons that put it as a bowler name at the alley, funny he put Reed for the other one instead of what we used to call him.

  16. All my life I’ve gone by Peter, never Pete. One thing I’ve found is that if I identify myself as Peter upon first meeting people, they very seldom address me as Pete thereafter. It’s almost as if the natural tendency to call people by nicknames has never applied in my case. Perhaps that’s because Pete isn’t that much shorter than Peter, I really don’t know.

  17. Booo, I always wanted a nickname, but the closest I got was “little John” due to my other John friend being 300 pounds. Everyone I work with calls me “Parsons”, but that doesn’t really count…

    Ha! I remember that night bowling! That’s taking me WAY back! … It amazes me how many times I narrowly escaped severe beatings living with you guys in that apartment. Between calling you “Paco” at the bowling alley, and laughing as Travis almost electrocutes himself during a Mario Cart induced pop-tart fire… Ya, I just barely escaped some good thrashings.

  18. I don’t mind Becky but I think I might have preferred Rebecca as an adult — I tried to change it but it felt too foreign. My friends have all sorts of variations of Becky for me, most of which are cute. But my sibs call me “Rooney” which I’m not a huge fan of.

  19. Hi.

    I also have such issue with my name, sort of…

    On my early school days (in Barcelona) I was just “Juan”, but another kid arrived with the same name, so I started to add it my second name: Juan Vicente.

    I must say that this is quite uncommon. Most people have 2 names, but never tells their second one. An special case is that a lot of girl names are just variations from Virgin Mary’s name. I mean, a girl named Asunción would be “María Asunción” in official registries.

    I’ve another issue with my name because here in Barcelona we speak two languages: spanish and catalan. So I may be called bot “Juan Vicente” or “Joan Vicenç”. I even had some discussion with a catalan association who wanted to change my name at their files from “Juan Vicente Mañanas Abad” to “Joan Vicenç Manyanes i Abat”. I said no, because I didn’t want to mend the decision of my parents (back to the day of my birth) and the name of my family… I’m shame enough for them having such politycal ideas, quite contrary to theirs 😉

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