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Don’t call me Pat!

There are two kinds of people in the world.

There are people who, when you meet them, ask your name, listen to what you say and perhaps ask, “What do you like to be called?” Then you can tell them that you answer to Trish or Trisha, or Shitfer as in Shitferbrains or Moonflower Dancing Unicorn or whatever. And they call you what you prefer to be called and you ask them the same question and it’s all lovely.

And then there are the other people.

These people hear you say “Patricia” and then they arbitrarily decide to call you something different, like Pat. I don’t know why they do this, but they do. They don’t ask, they assume they know what your nickname is and they just say something like “Well Pat, what a lovely day it is…”

And I am left with a quandary. Because I hate being called Pat and I always have, ever since the day at school when the Religious teacher (are you there, Miss Coleman) said, “You don’t mind being called Pat, do you?” and at 11 I was too wet and shy to say, “Yes, I mind.”

Not that it would have done a lot of good because if you say to a person who has just arbitrarily renamed you something different, they get very shirty about it. They’re usually insulted, in fact.

Again, I don’t understand this but it’s true. They act as if you’d just spat in their face. “Oh,” they say, in shocked surprise, “Ok, sorry,” And they say it in that huffy way that you know means you will to them forever be a stuck up bitch and they’ll tell everybody else how rude you were to them.

If they’re completely clueless they’ll say, “Oh, don’t you like Pat then?”

If I say, “no, I don’t,” they’ll roll their eyes at this fussy irrationality. If I explain about Miss Coleman and all, sometimes they laugh and even say sorry. Then they continue to call me Pat. Next time they meet me, they’ll call me Pat. It doesn’t matter how many times I beseech them to call me Trisha, I’m forever Pat to them.

You can’t win this game. If you don’t protest, you’re stuck with a name that you hate because to you it denotes a tennis-playing redhead  with a quacking voice like a duck (long story). If you do protest, some kind of weird lock happens to their memory and you still get stuck with a name that you hate because etc.

Sometimes they get so indignant because they’re calling you Pat on the phone and you’re trying to explain you don’t like being called Pat, that they put the phone down on you for the wicked insult of you not liking the name they’ve randomly chosen for you without your permission. And then they sulk.

I call them Random Renamers. If I can, once I’ve found out what they like to be called, I call them something else. You know, like theý’ve just done to me. Sometimes this works. But not often.


  1. Well, at least I listened when you said it… 8-).

  2. Melissa Lee Price says:

    It’s Melissa Lee or Missy… NEVER Melissa… or gag… Mel. And NO ONE in the UK will call me Melissa Lee. No matter how many times I say… it’s a double first name… I get Melissa… or Mel. I also get quite shirty about it too.

    1. patricia says:

      I fully sympathise. Considering how boneheaded people are about Patricia I dread to think what they do to Melissa Lee!

  3. Jane Horsman says:

    I know what you mean. If there is anything I hate, it’s being called Janey. And I’m usually too polite (um, timid?) to put a quick stop to it, especially when it’s a new Boss calling me that. To add to the fun, my office first name is Jane, my out-of-the-office name is Holly. And them as know me as Jane have trouble seeing me as a Holly and them as knows me as Holly have trouble thinking of me as Jane. A few sly friends refer to me as J. Holly.

    Er, by the way, what DO you prefer to be called?

    I have just finished reading Chorus of Innocents and all I can say is Thank You! (And please write more of them, please!)

    J. Holly Horsman (a fan for years!)

    1. patricia says:

      Thank you – I prefer to be called Patricia or, if you must have a shortener, Trish. Yes, I’m about to write Carey 8 – have you found my author page on Facebook and Patricia Finney’s Renaissance group?

  4. Elisabeth Huhn says:

    I’ve often wondered, when asked my name (Elisabeth), why there even is a second question of, “What do people call you”. Like. I wouldn’t have told them that in response to the first question? And when I respond, “Elisabeth”, they act like it’s somehow too many syllables. Like there is a limit to the number they are willing to call me. I could go on, but you’ve captured it beautifully.

  5. Pat says:

    I hear you totally. My name on my birth certificate is Patricia but I prefer to be called Pat. It’s what my parents and siblings call me. It’s what I’ve always responded to, growing up, and not just in familial circles. However, some people think they are getting to friendly or informal by calling me Pat. I don’t think so, but hey whatever makes you comfortable, I say. Just don’t call me anything other than Pat or Patricia.

  6. Tricia says:

    I am so glad I am not alone. My parents named me Patricia but call me Tricia. People just assume I use Pat. If someone has a name of Margaret, they don’t assume which nickname you use. The nuns in elementary school were not amused when I refused to answer to Pat. They called my mother who advised them it is not my name.

    1. patricia says:

      I sympathise with you re nuns – major random renamers. And good for your mother.

  7. Patrica Hanson says:

    Oh at last, someone who understands!!! As a fellow Patricia this is exactly what happens to me on a regular basis. However this also leads to another pet hate of mine which is the spelling of Tricia (or as you spell it Trisha). Tricia is my preferred name to be known by however as a shortened version of Patricia should just have the Pa dropped off to make Tricia. I know I know, really getting picky here, but it’s my name as given and spelled by my parents, and if that’s the way I put it on an email or letter, should be returned that way on the reply. Anyway, I’m sure my little rant will change nothing and the anti-Pat crusade will continue long into my life.

    1. patricia says:

      This still drives me nuts…

  8. Tricia Welch says:

    oh my God, I can so relate

  9. Tricia Welch says:

    been a problem for me all my life……… can 100 % relate to this.

  10. Tricia Welch says:

    oh gawd, I hate it when people do that too.

    1. patricia says:

      I’m trying to get them to stop – but it hasn’t worked yet.

  11. Elisabeth Huhn says:

    “And what do people call you?”
    Well, if they want me to answer, they call me Elisabeth.
    No, I’ve never had the courage to. But I sure think it enough.

  12. Patricia H says:

    I love this post and can relate . I’m Patricia and like my name but many people can’t pronounce it so they shorten it to Trish which I really don’t like . Some call me Pati and Patri and I like that too. More recently I have started correcting people at the risk of offending.

    1. patricia says:

      Who cares if they are offended – they should have asked first! I prefer Trish and you prefer Pati – how do they know which version you like?

  13. Patricia Brown L. says:

    I’m currently battling this. I do have a few people that call me Pat. Like some others here it was because I was to shy or timid to stop them. Now I’m starting to call some of them out and they don’t like it. Now. . . I don’t care what they like!!! If they don’t want to call me by my given name, i have no problem with them not calling me at all! I’m not going to justify who can and or can’t call me Pat. My name my choice! Period!!!

    1. patricia says:

      I think I’m going to republish this blogpost because it resonates with so many people. If they’d just ask first, I wouldn’t mind so much!

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