We take such pains to choose attractive names for our children. We think how they might sound when the baby is adult and consider how they might be shortened and whether the initials look and sound right. Friends of ours realised too late that their daughter would be forever BF no matter what her eventual married surname might be. Frederick Alan Taylor may live to regret his parents' choice of names.
Some parents are amused by the combinations and associations that present themselves and mistakenly, at least in my opinion, allow the humour of the moment to cloud their better judgement. At least Teresa Green might marry a man with a more harmonious surname (not Brown) but John Thomas is stuck with his name and the sniggers it can cause.
Names which suit a small baby or young child may not grow with them. John John is appealing but not for an entrepreneur; Sue Sue suits a girl but not a merchant banker. A woman called Willow cannot afford to be short and plump and Hercules must be broad and strong.
I have never been keen on shortened names and hate mine being abbreviated to Jan. It amazes me that some people assume that they can do whatever they like with other people's names. One girlhood friend had a tendency to truncate names but, realising my dislike of this, lengthened mine to Janissimo! You can't win with some people! My eldest daughter has the same penchant and once had a boyfriend called Tony who became by turns Tone and then Toe. Barry remarked that had his name been Toe she would have shortened it further to 'T'. Strangely, she does not like her children's names being altered.
I remember thinking how weird it sounded to hear my college friends' parents calling them by their given names when we had only ever known them as Maggie or Jen or Dave or Pete. When I first met my husband and then started going out with him everyone called him Baz and I am ashamed to admit that there was a part of me that fervently hoped his name wasn't Basil! Sometimes he was called Punchy as he was a pugilist. No-one calls him Punchy or Baz these days though one old friend still calls him 'Squire'.
Our children's names were shortened, of course, though not by us. Gillian became Gill or Gilly and is only ever called Gillian by the older members of the family – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins – and, oddly, by her youngest sibling, Bethan. If her husband calls her Gillian she knows she has caused him displeasure!
Gareth became Gaz though never Gary but most people call him by his full name now.
Susannah's name was first shortened by her judo coach when she was about six years old. He called her Susie but everyone, apart from older family members – and Bethan - now calls her Sue. I do sometimes call her Sooozzz and Barry's pet name for her is Ozone. (Ozone is an unstable gas which becomes dangerous when heated to boiling point. She's very like her father!!)
Bethan is occasionally called Beth and is always known as B to Gillian and her family which is quite sweet but sounds wrong to me as my late sister's name was Beryl and my brother-in-law never called her anything but Bee.
However, with animals I can indulge my silly side. Our newest pet, Gus, has many monikers and answers to all of them. He is variously Gus, GusGus, GusGusGus, Gussy, GussyGus, Gustopher, Gustopher Robin, Lanky Long Legs, Ploddy Paws, Thunder Paws, Who Me?, Augustus, Little Boy and Lazarus.