Guides, J

TD Guide: Nickname Theory

Context: Nicknames. Love em or hate em, we all have them – assigned to us by our friends, our relatives, and – at times – our romantic interests. Let’s explore what assigning a nickname right off the bat means for your romantic relationship, shall we?

Pals, there’s something I haven’t told you.

From the months of January through August of this year, I was regularly seeing a guy. That’s right, I went on over a dozen dates with some dude and didn’t mention him once.

Now, don’t give me that look! I would never keep anything important from you. And, as my friends know, this guy wasn’t important to me – the first clue being that I never once referred to him by his first name. Nope, every time I talked about him – sometimes even to him – he was Chicago Boyfriend*.

*Lives in Chicago, came to DC every third week for work, and had both an expense account and incredibly comfortable hotel bed that I very much enjoyed watching Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise from.

Now, Chi BF and I haven’t spoken since August, when he told me that he had “gone steady” with a girl in Chicago (who says this? I fucking hate the midwest) and I blocked him on every media outlet imaginable in a fit of rage and depression. And yet… this was always what was going to happen. I never assigned him a real name, so he never had any permanence in my life.

Also, side note – I’m trying to remember his name now and honestly can’t. I know his first name was Nick, but for last names all I can think of is Miller (New Girl, nope) and Carter (try again). Fuck it, sorry CBF, hope you and your gal are doing swell!

This brings me to nickname theory (n): The idea that assigning a nickname to a love interest means it will never evolve into an actual relationship.


  • KA assigned Jack #1 the nickname AdMo because he lived in Adams Morgan and that was honestly his only identifying characteristic; they hooked up a couple times, he ghosted and then un-ghosted, and we stuck him with a $500 bar tab as the final nail in the coffin.

  • I’ve assigned every Jack I’ve ever spoken to/been out with a number, and lump them all together as the Jacks; they now all hate me and it’s only maybe partially because KA once put them in a group text, named it “J’s Jack Off,” and tried to arrange a rose ceremony.
  • KA and I met a guy after a beerfest and nicknamed him “Double Ivy” because he went to Columbia and was getting his MBA at Harvard; they hooked up for a while but the only progress that was ever made there was him dropping out of HBS and us downgrading his nickname to “One Point Five Ivy.” Also one time he cried after they had sex because he had seen his ex getting into an Uber that day and in retrospect that’s hilarious. SIR, YOU’RE 30. GET IT TOGETHER.
  • My friends nicknamed a guy “Address Alex” because he would send me his address every weekend night (full at first, then at some point shortened to just his house number) because that is DEFINITELY a great, convincing way to get a girl to come over. This has been happening for almost 2 years.

*Side note, is this post just a way to fill y’all in on the drama that’s happened in my life this year without trying to write full posts about each? Not no.
**Other side note, KA wanted me to include other notable nicknames so HERE GOES NOTHING: Maybe Alex, Hot Grant, Hot Brad, Fake Cameron, and Banana Shirt. Plz comment with your favorite nicknames you have assigned to men.

Now, you may be livid at this idea, screaming at no one in particular “But, J! Nicknames are adorable! It’s how I let my baby boo cake pop know I love him!”
Listen up: a) ew I am vomiting what did you just call him and b) there is no chance you called him that before you had at least slept with him a couple times and had at least one semi-serious conversation about your status. Nickname theory is about when you first start seeing them – dates 1-3 or so. If you’re already an item, assigning a nickname isn’t some vial of poison that’s going to fuck everything up. Unless you assign the nickname “baby boo cake pop” in which case bitch it might be.

Your next argument will probably be something along the lines of “but how will I talk about him without everyone knowing it’s him if we don’t have a nickname for him?”
The answer to this one is simple – you’ll escape the middle school cafeteria and/or AIM away message you seem to be trapped in and enter the world of adult relationships where we call each other by our names and don’t gossip in public unless we want people to know the shit we’re talking about them. Capiche?

There you have it, friends. Nickname theory, aka maybe the reason you’re not locking down a man. If you have any more arguments, drop ’em in the comments and I’ll debunk them as best I can. Now, off to go text J’s Jack Off to give them the group date card!


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