Tuesday, November 24

Nangle Natters: What’s in a name?

- July 18, 2017


My first ever job was as a Saturday girl at the local chemists. I was doing my A-levels at the time and wanted a bit of spending cash and independence, so joining the high flying world of deodorants and condoms seemed like the perfect opportunity. I was thrilled when I got the job and turned up nervously on my first Saturday.

“What do you want to be called: Vicky, Vik, Victoria?”

After a pause… “Victoria.” And there was a very good reason for that.

Ever since another ‘Victoria’ joined my class in junior school I have been known to many as ‘Vicky’. I jumped at it. It was my rebellion. Ever since I’d heard the story that my Dad had wanted me to be called ‘Joanna’ but had caved to my mother’s ‘Victoria’ on the proviso it wasn’t ever shortened to ‘Vicky’. I once received a phone call from a friend at his house which resulted in him entering the living room with the stance of Lurch from The Munsters and shivering as he announced: “There’s somebody on the phone for… Vicky.” And then disappearing in disgust.

Very much a square peg in a round hole aurally

My family never called me ‘Vicky’, for them it was always ‘Tor’ – the middle bit of ‘Victoria’ that my younger brother and cousins seized on in the world of infant pronunciations. As such, I’ve got a real tenderness and softness for ‘Tor’. It feels odd to hear anyone I’m not related to call me it. Equally it feels weird when a cousin or uncle who might meet some of my friends starts calling me ‘Vicky’. Very much a square peg in a round hole aurally.

So upon starting my working life my name needed to sit well. I wanted to learn how to do my job properly, to pay attention when spoken to, to stay on my toes – so the best solution seemed to be to use the name I was called whenever I was in trouble. My full name. Victoria.

It worked. And when I got my first office job I did the same thing. I was manning the calls through to a magazine office, as well as being chief odd-jobber. My colleagues knew me as ‘Vicky’ pretty quickly, the name shifts as the formal nature of the relationship softens. But it meant that when I fielded calls for ‘Victoria’, I already knew they were people cold calling. Anyone I’d already had even one chat with already knew me as ‘Vicky’.

Since then I’ve also acquired other names, chiefly focussing around my surname – Nangle. I was once asked if I’d made it up because of my interest in comedy. I haven’t. It’s my real name. And my Dad’s quite happy with that one. So you can call me by it anytime you like.

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