This is a letter from earlier this month with a followup letter from today’s column after it.
Dear Annie: My name is Barbara.
It’s NOT “Barb.” It’s not “Barbie.” It’s not “Babs.”
So, please tell me WHY when I introduce myself as Barbara, the majority of the time, people say things like, “Hi, Barb”?
Immediately, I correct them, saying, “No — it’s Barbara.” People so often become condescending after that and say things like, “Oh, right! Bar-BRA!”
And then in later encounters, when they call me Barb, I remind them again: “Please remember I prefer ‘Barbara.'” Then, during our next encounter, they say, “Hi, Barb!” Ugh!
Kathleen is seldom called “Kathy.” Nobody calls Christina “Chris.” I know men named James, who people next-to-never call Jim or Jimmy. That is, of course, unless these people choose or agree to go by those name derivatives.
It’s the individual’s preference. It’s their energetic vibration and pattern. It’s their name. Why is it so difficult or inconvenient for people to call women named Barbara by our names? — Barbara
Dear Barbara: Not everyone loves an unsolicited nickname, and I’m happy to print your letter as a public service announcement of sorts. But the reality is that at some point you’ll probably be “Barbed” again. When that happens, remind the offender of your name, as you graciously have in the past. Then take a deep breath and remind yourself that this term of enragement is meant as a term of endearment, however misguided. (c) Annie Lane
And from today’s column…
Dear Annie: You can tell “Barbara” that my name is JAMES. And yet, for every Jimmy, Jim, Jamey, Jamie, Jimmie or Jimbo I’ve been called, I felt nothing but endearment in it. Savor it, “Barb.” People love you! Let down your barriers and feel the affection. The world covets it, and you’ve been dished a bountiful portion! — Jumbo
Dear Jumbo: Thanks for taking lemons and making lemonade, James.
I can’t think of anything more disrespectful and deliberately hostile and cruel than Jumbo’s letter. Seriously, Annie Lane has no common sense at all to not realize that his letter is the epitome of being a low-quality person. I have a few choice words for Jumbo, but he’s not worth my time. I’m just shocked that Annie Lane’s lack of discernment is this extreme. Geez. He unapologetically calls the original letter writer Barb and then goes on some sort of shaming spiel that really makes me want to knee him in the groin, and all Annie Lane can say is something about turning lemons into lemonade. And we know Annie Lane wasn’t being flippant or glib, because she politely (even though no politeness was warranted here) called him James. (I guess she called him Jumbo because that’s how he signed his letter.)
No, Annie Lane, this isn’t how to take lemons and make lemonade. This is how to bully, demean, berate, and intimidate people for the pure sake of expressing hostile, ill-founded superiority. It’s sickening.