The British, I think, are potentially my favourite kind of people. They're friendly, they're inquisitive and due to a more diverse gene pool, they tend to be much more attractive than us. However: there is one factor about the British personality that I struggle with. They refuse to learn my name.
My last name has always been a nightmare. Aside from the fact that it never fits into the allocated blank space on forms, people outside of Ireland find it impossible to pronounce and unfathomable to spell. And honestly, you can’t really blame them. Our version of the English language, which was in all likelihood, composed sometime around 1978 in a two-stool pub in Donegal, is a tricky mistress. Anglo-Irish consists of a myriad of letters that represent sounds that don’t exist. We’ll stick in a “gh” or a “bh” any old place if it makes it look more authentic, and it’s a very alienating move on our part. The British are a literal people, and they’re protective of the language they still see as being fundamentally theirs. This wanton disregard for phonics enrages them. They pronounce “Siobhan” to rhyme with “Taliban”, “Aoife” to sound like “Oi-fee” and “O’Donoghue” as interchangeable with “Doherty”.
The interesting thing about this is that while most people will alter their pronunciation after you correct them, the English will nod and then continue saying it the wrong way. This also seems to be the case when it comes to the issue of nicknames.
This is how you get a nickname: you meet someone, you have a conversation. You say your name, they say theirs. One of you says “Gosh, Caroline is a bit long, isn’t it? Can I just call you Caz?”
And the other one of you will say, “No, you most certainly cannot call me Caz.” The issue is then put to rest, and hopefully you pursue a long and healthy friendship. To me, this is the only acceptable way for nicknames to operate. By and large, the English do not agree. Somehow, despite protests otherwise, I have been involuntarily saddled with Caz, Cazzer, Cazoline, and one occasion, Cazzatops.
Like most things that piss me off, I have a theory about it.
English people think it’s their job to name things. And who could blame them? Their history consists of them arriving in places and saying “This is ours, and it’s called Queenstown now.” As such, it’s only natural that they can look at us and say: “You are ours, we'll call you Caz Doherty.”