I have been cursed with a unique name.
It was the bane of my existence as a kid because I was too shy to correct teachers - or anyone else for that matter - when they pronounced it wrong.
Nuala...pronounced as "new-la"...is an old Irish name. The funny thing is that I am not Irish. Not even close. My dad is French-Canadian and my mother is native. Makes me Metis. What happened is that when my mother was pregnant on me, she was convinced I was a boy. Consequently she only had boy's names picked out. As she went into labour my dad asked, "What if it's a girl?". So they named me after one of their good friends at the time, who is most definitely Irish and 50 years after being in Canada still sounds as if she's just off the boat. The true irony to my life is that I married into an Irish family, my mother-in-law being from Belfast and my father-in-law being from Ireland by way of England. When our son was born, we named him Fynn, another good Irish name. So now I have an Irish first name, Irish last name and I'm not even remotely Irish. Quit laughing, eh?
One thing that I've always wanted, but have never actually had, is a good nickname. Most people - like my husband - think my name is so neat that they prefer to call me by that rather than tag me with a nickname. Some have tried over the years, but none has stuck. My dad called me BooBoo when I was a little girl. Nasty nicknames resulted in grade school from kids that were making fun of my name. My family has always shortened my name to "Nual" (sounding like newel). Some friends have come up with "Nuals" (sounding like newels). In high school I was called "Vanilla" by one guy who played in the band with me. He thought it kind of rhymed with Nuala and since he also happened to be black, he found it really funny.
Surprisingly, or maybe not, the men in my life have been consistent in their nickname attempts. One called me "AJ" (as in A.J. Foyt the race driver). Another called me "Mario" (as in Mario Andretti, another race driver). Yet another called me "Stirling" (as in Stirling Moss, the race driver). Do you see the trend? Yes, I have a heavy foot, but that's another discussion entirely. Two men came up with "BooBoo" (not sure I see the reasons but that's what they called me however briefly) and one called me "babe" or "babes". Not too original, but it is what it is. But nothing ever sticks. They - the men - are singular in their nicknaming. More of a pet name really than a nickname because no-one else ever picked up on these names and started using them as applied to me.
I don't even know what I would suggest if someone were to want to use a nickname for me. I like to cook; should they call me "chef"? I'm a fountain of trivial knowledge; should they call me "Einstein"? I do drive fast; perhaps "Lightning McQueen" would be more apropos.
I probably wouldn't even be obsessing over it except that in the rural area where I live, it seemed to me at first (and sometimes still) that nobody has an actual name. The guy that moved our pool table when we had a flood was called "Dude". One of our acquaintances is called "Claude" and another "Bugsy". Our biker pals have names like "Hayburner", "Flash", "Boomer", "Chico", "Weiner", and "Gator". I knew some of these guys for years before finding out their real names!
Of course, you always have to be careful what you wish for. One of our biker pals was nicked as "Kodak" but when he showed up at the clubhouse on clean-up day with his own vacuum and cleaning stuff, someone commented, "look at the girly man" and it stuck. He's been known as Girly Man ever since. He tried to shake it for years before giving in and embracing it - even going so far as to label his homemade wine as "GM Wines".
Since I've been getting around on crutches for about three months now, some have been calling me "Hop-Along". I'm not answering. There's got to be a better name than that! How about "Nuala"?