Abs of Steel

When I was in elementary school, our principal knew every single student’s name.

In fact, you could stand behind him, stick your arms through his and he could identify any female student by her hands. That sounds much creepier than it was. He was very cool and did a fabulous job.


Remember how cute I was? I look nothing like that anymore. I’m much taller. I also outgrew that sweater.

Anyway, he immediately took to calling me “Abigail Beecher My History Teacher.” I had no idea these were actually lyrics to a Freddy Cannon song until someone told me a few years ago, and I still don’t know who Freddy Cannon is. All I knew was that I had a special song based on my name that no one else had.

Except my name isn’t Abigail, it’s Abby.

And no, my middle name is not Gail. It’s Caye.

“Abby” lends itself well to people who take the Rob Schneider Copy Man route with chit chat, as my name can and has been turned into several different things— The Abinator, Abdo, etc.—and it unfortunately rhymes with things like crabby, flabby and gabby.

I will probably never be flabby, but as for the other two? I have no comment.

When I was little I was “Aboochka” to my family—among other names not derivative from “Ab”— and in high school I was “Abs of Steel,” a nickname I lived up to with a passion for athletics.


Remember how cute I was? I look nothing like that anymore. I’m much older and haggard. I still have that shirt though.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that there is a certain intimacy with how people refer to me. With the exception of people who call me Anny because a) they don’t listen or b) hit the key next to the “B” when typing me an email, most people call me Abby.

However, certain people go with “Abs,” and I have to admit that I kind of like it. I choose to believe it conveys some sense of familiarity and comfort and not someone simply giving up on the second syllable of my name due to laziness or indifference.

The weird thing is that not everyone who can get away with calling me “Abs” is someone I’m necessarily close to, as technically speaking, that group would include my mom and the hot exterminator that stops by for our visits every three months between the hours of 1-9.*

*This time window is subject to change upon company demand and possible extermination emergencies.

Some of my friends online and off, people at the gym that I’ve known for years and even my boss will use “Ab” out from time to time, but I can’t imagine 90 percent of my large (dysfunctional) family going that route and I don’t think I would want them to.

It’s a weird select group of “Ab” users, and although I should be used to it by now, I’m always still a little surprised when someone throws it out.

And I’m also surprised that I like it when most people do—not the weirdos.

At any rate, I do like my name despite the fact that it usually puts me at the top of people’s “Contacts” list on their phone. Being at the top means I am the one that accidentally gets butt dialed and then wonders why you’re calling me from what sounds like either the inside of a washing machine or a possible hostage situation.

I also just realized that I’m now at the point in my life when I know longer get booty calls and instead get butt dialed, and then blog about how I get butt dialed.

Oh well. Can I live with that?


Aside from the aforementioned names, my mom and grandma call me “Busi” (pronounced “Boo-she.”) It’s Polish for grandma. Don’t ask.

Do you have a nickname or a name that can be shortened?

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36 responses to “Abs of Steel

  1. Melanie The Spork Lover

    I love nicknames. I have one friend that calls me Mel Bell and as annoying as I thought that would be, it makes me smile whenever she says it. I don’t care for the shortening to Mel, but I deal with it without cringing like I used to.

    I constantly blame my uncle, who came up with the nickname “Boobers” for cursing me to have no boobs.

  2. Chana is probably the best, because my BFF started it and now my hubby uses it too. Plus, it annoys my mom. Bonus.
    There are the “you’re not listening to me” variations of my name: Shannon, Sharon, Janet, Charon, Channing and, even, Cannon (seriously people?). It’s Channon, with a hard ch. These are the reasons why, whenever possible, I let someone else introduce me.
    But the funniest is “Tuesday”, which is a derivative of the one my mom called me: Grace…as in “Tuesday’s child is full of grace,” because I’m not. At. All. I have always tripped over what Mom calls “gnats and air pockets.” If there is a way to fall over, run into, or knock over something, I will find it.

  3. I’ve been known as Evil Eva in some circles!

  4. All of my nicknames make me sound like a badass rapper. My co-workers call me “KK”, “Cash” or “Cash Money”. My regular friends call me Kashew (like a cashew). My best friend calls me B2, like the banana from Bananas in Pajamas. In elementary school, I was called “casino” and “kasia basia from russia” (which rhymes). All the other nicknames are behind my back and I prefer not to know them 😉

    • It sounds a bit like you have multiple personalities, but if you combine the Kashew and B2, you basically have my favorite sandwich (Nut butter and banana.) I dig it, Cash Money!

  5. I hear you on the Abby butt dialing issue. I had a friend who was AbbEy, so she was listed ahead of the abbys in peoples phones. A real butt dialing issue fo sho.

  6. My RL name can not be shortened at all. In my teens I was a bit sad about that, it felt like I missed out on having a nick name. In retrospect, I’m quite thankful for it.

    However, meeting online friends in RL has given me a nick name: Kiss. They all know my real name, they just prefer my online one. Makes for weird looks when in public.

  7. Gah. I left a long ass comment tha got deleted!

    OK, in short: I have no nicknames and I love you.

  8. After growing up with a million other Nicoles and having a last name that no one seems to be able to pronounce properly, I am known as Nicole G to all my friends. I’ve grown so used to it that even when I introduce myself to new people (and I’m the only Nicole around) I introduce myself as “Nicole G,” which usually results in a weird look and questions about why I include the G making me feel completely stupid. But, in the end, I’m happy that “Nicole G” is the nickname that stuck and not one of the more embarrassing or harsh ones that were tested out by others through childhood.

    • I worked with another Abby, but she was an Abbey, meaning we went by “old” Abbey and “new” Abby. I was still introduced as “new” Abby two years later and after she left.

  9. My family has a lot of nicknames, but almost none of them have to do with my name (Caitlin). In fact, my parents were pretty adamant against my cousins/family calling my Caiti (some of them do, though). In the last couple of years, my really close friends have taken to calling me Cait. I like it a lot because it’s an interesting, select group that get away with it!

  10. I’ve called you Abs so many times. Have you made a vood doo doll of me and thus I know why my back hurts so back at nights?

    As you know all of my women have nicknames. I have nothing other than Daddy, of course. Maybe you can nickname me.

    and should stop calling you anything other than Abby Caye?

  11. Since “Vinny” is kind of a shortening of my name, I guess it’s the one that’s actually ever stuck.

    My wife is a constant victim of butt dialing since the first 2 letters in her name are “Ad”.

  12. That is an awesome shirt. And the mouse suicide bit made me laugh coffee out my nose, which I have to say, is unpleasant.

  13. A guy on our Board of Directors who insisted (to a ridiculous degree) that he SHALL NOT be called ANY other name other than “Robert” decided to call me “Meg” one day. That isn’t my name, my name is Megan. NOBODY has ever called me that and it makes me cringe.
    He was actually saying hello to me or something where it was appropriate for me to respond and use his name. So, I said “Hello Rob”.
    He got all bent out of shape.
    I told him that I didn’t know him well enough for me to allow us to be on a half-name basis. We could do the first name basis thing if he wanted to, though, and that was cool with me.

    I never would have guessed that was mouse suicide… OR a cat toy. It kinda reminded me of when I’d throw birthday parties for my kids and leave the balloons tied to the chairs so long that the helium would go out, the balloon would deflate and it would hang by the string from the chair.
    Basically, I just thought you were a slob. Like me. And now I’m sad… because you’re seemingly less slobbish.

  14. Wow you’re pretty…;)

    I call you Abs from time to time…hope it hasn’t hurt our friendship. I feel like I know you and you are my go to girl for giggles!

    I was known as KK or Kirst for most of my young life…KK being my initials and everyone in my very small class called me that..it wasn’t until I was 21 and a new boyfriend called me Kir…that I realized how much I liked it..it felt better..more intimate and like u said…shortened to make me feel special, from someone who knows you….after that I waited for friends or new boyfriends to call me Kir…it was my “litmus test” for how someone felt about me. This post made me smile…Abs! Xox

    • 1) I love that you call me Abs!
      2) I DO NOT look like that anymore. That was 10 years ago. I am not haggard and worn.
      3) I love that I can call you Kir 😉

  15. You have a hot exterminator? I am really jealous! Ours has a lazy eye and about 7 teeth total.

    People usually shorten my name to “Dane” which I didn’t mind until I watched Dane Cook do shitty stand-up comedy in Vegas.

    • The exterminator was only hot once, and of course it was the one visit I was doing my best impression of a card carrying member of the white trash train. Oh well.

  16. Ok, “Abs” is pretty good, and I love the Abs of Steel reference. And I do like the Abigail Beecher Teacher line, even though Abigail is not your name. Still fun.

    With a name like Brahm, which rhymes with Sam, I heard every variation on it and responded to most of them. I was also a fat kid with a stutter, so heard lots of nasty ones as a kid.

    My fave is when my non-Jewish friends try to use my Hebrew name, Baruch, which even my family doesnt use anymore… except my best friend says Ba-Rook and calls it my Vulcan name!

  17. I love shortening peoples names, it’s the ultimate excuse to confuse laziness with endearment, know what I mean, Abs? Just kidding, you know I really do love you 🙂
    And my nickname growing up was “bubby” which my brother still calls me (that or “bub”.) I used to hate it but now I kind of love it. Other nicknames were “Messy Jessy; Duh, Jessica; and Jesca”

  18. My nickname was “Wafers” (my mother dragged us to a Pentecostal church in the South Bronx four times a week. Guess whoever coined the phrase didn’t know that Pentecostals don’t do the communion wafer thing).
    In my neighborhood, however, if you DID NOT have a nickname, no matter how silly it was (some of the coolest and most feared people in my neighborhood had names like “Shorty”, “Gumby”, “Baby”, & “Chubs”) you weren’t as cool as those who did so I clung to my nickname with pride.
    I’ll let you call me “Wafers” if you let me call you “Abs”?
    Happy Holidays 🙂

    • I guess “Wafers” is better than “Body of Christ,” as that would bring a lot of responsibility/expectations along with it, eh? As for “Abs,” as long as you keep doing what you do, you can call me anything you would like (except “Chubs,” as that also sounds like it brings a lot of responsibility/expectations with it.) Happy Holidays to you and yours, my friend! 🙂

  19. My aunt has always called me Heathe and most people think they’re funny calling me Heather Feather. A few years ago my family started calling me Heather Bear, though I don’t remember why, then that was shorted to HB. Weird how nicknames evolve, isn’t it?

  20. I tend to be ok with people I’m close with calling me Steph (or Stef, whatever). It’s somehow agitating, though, when someone I barely know calls me this. I’m not sure why but it grates me.

    Anyone who calls me Stefi is automatically ‘out’ (said like Heidi Klum!).

    My sister calls me things like Steverino and Stevie, which I find hilarious.

  21. As with how guys talk to each other, my nickname in college came about as every one of my friends was dumping on my and giving me a bunch of sh*t. I’m not even sure the situation, but everyone was ragging on me and the fact that I had been in college longer than any of them was brought up.
    “You’ve been in school for so long, shouldn’t you be a doctor, or something by now?”
    That was that and I became Doc. Still sticks. Even my mom calls me that.

  22. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    Nicknames are weird when there’s no convenient way to shorten your name. Everyone feels the need to do it. Some people call me “sar” which is fine. Some people have started calling me “S” and I’ve had to put a quick halt to that. Yikes.

  23. My good friends call me Suz (rhymes with booze, but we don’t go there!). My boss used to call me Screws as a variation on this. I don’t know if that was because I had a few screws loose or if it was in reference to the use of “screw” as a verb. I don’t care to find out!

    Happy holidays Abby!

  24. JimmyTomatoes – long story

    Great Blog!


  25. There were some boys I went to high school with that did all kinds of things with my name… Magster, Maginator, Magnum, Macaroni. . . for an excessively long time, every day they would think of a new one. Trying to find that PERFECT one.
    They could never find anything they liked more than saying my last name with an irish accent.

    True story: until grade 1, I thought my name was Maggie. End of story. In grade 1, I discovered my ACTUAL name is *Margaret*. I felt so betrayed. And I refused to let anyone call me Maggie anymore. I had to learn how to spell my name all over again. I HAD TO LEARN THE LETTER R.

    …clearly, I got over that. 98% of people call me Maggie. I don’t answer to Maggie, always, because it’s a frustratingly common dog name so half the time when someone yells “Maggie! Enough!” they don’t mean me.
    (my head exploded in school when someone paged overhead “Could Margaret please come to the front desk for Maggie, Margaret for Maggie.”..)

    I have one friend who routinely calls me ‘Mags’.. and on the rare occasion anyone else tries it out, I think of her. I get a few “BB” or “MBB”, again specific people come to mind with those ones. . .

    Not gonna lie, I know at least 2 dogs named Abby. It probably makes me like you more.

    • Yup, people are constantly yelling for Abby to quit licking them, humping their leg or peeing on inappropriate objects. Of course, they’re referring to their dogs, but it’s still a bit disconcerting 😉

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