Last week I was friending some people from high school on facebook. When this one guy friended me, I almost called him by his “secret nickname” when I said thanks on his wall. Um…yeah, probably not the best plan ever. Fortunately, I caught myself before posting.
It got me to thinking about the nickname thing though. Back then, the only people in school who had phones were the dealers, and the phones weren’t something you could hide in your pocket. (Yes, I’m old. I do know this.) So…no texting. In order to talk to friends during class, our only option was note-passing. The thing about passing notes is, unlike texts, you can’t delete them at the push of a button, and teachers were known for reading them aloud to the class if they caught you. Which meant most people didn’t want anything really incriminating in those notes, so my friends and I had nicknames for most people–especially boys we liked–allowing us to “talk” about them in relative peace.
Of course, some people found out their nicknames without really knowing why we used them in the first place. The guy I mentioned at the beginning of the post? We called him “Studmuffin”. He was very cute, a lot of girls liked him (including me), and he lapped it up (we also referred to him as “The Ego that Ate Toledo” but he knew about that). Anyway, he heard us calling him Studmuffin one day and announced that he needed a more manly nickname “Like ‘Killer’ or something.” From that day forward, he was known as Killer Studmuffin. My friend Heather and I laughed about that one for a long time.
Other examples? The guy on the wrestling team who sometimes wore his headgear backward we called Thor (because said headgear looked kind of like Thor’s winged helmet). Another guy from the team was friends with these two guys Dino and “Fred” (that was actually a standard-non-secret nickname–I never found out why), and we ended up calling him Bam-Bam. Then there was Batman (or Bruce if we wanted it to seem like a real name), Gomer, Flash (apparently we had a thing for superheroes…), Ken (as in Barbie and), and a lot more that I can’t remember.
Even now, the nicknames are something a few of my girlfriends and I talk and laugh about. But, I’ve got to wonder, without the need for secrecy in note passing (truly a lost art), do teens these days do things like that? Or were my friends and I weird for doing it in the first place?