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Just. Don’t. Call. Me.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated monetarily nor was I provided with any free product in return for my opinions in this blog entry. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own based on my personal experience.

My given name is Paulina. My family calls me Lynn. But friends or what I love to describe as “people I consider my friends,” are encouraged to call me Paul.

When it comes to introducing myself, my go-to line is “My names is Paulina but you can call me Paul. Just… don’t call me Pauline.” And I say it with a smile.

Allow me to repeat.

Just. Don’t. Call. Me. Pauline.

Everyone calls me Paul. My colleagues. My bosses. My dear friends. People I met a few minutes ago.

So why the fuss you ask?

For many reasons. Let me list three of mine.

  1. Names are highly sensitive subject. Mine is Paulina, with an ‘A’. Not Pauline. Nor is it Paulynn. Its P.A.U.L.I.N.A. If you don’t feel comfortable calling me ‘Paul’, then call me Paulina. There is no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ to it.
  1. I was named after St Paul. In Christianity, St Paul is number two after Christ. St Paul is, among others, the patron saint of writers, journalist, authors and public workers, occupations of which are close to my heart.
  1. If I have to choose, I choose to be call Paul. Why? I like to be different. There. I said it.

Without a doubt, addressing myself as ‘Paul’ encourages many hilarious situation. Like the time when my friend Joe and I visited Starbucks© at Precinct 88 along Jalan Song.

As always, Joe would make the order of two hot chocolate for us. One time, Joe had to urgently answer the call of nature soon after making our order, leaving me to collect our drinks.

When one of our names were called and I approached the counter to collect the drink, I noticed the barista standing by the counter looking at me curiously.

As I reached for the paper cup on the counter, the barista quietly said. “That’s Paul’s.”

Knowing what was coming, I smiled and casually replied, “I know.” Then I asked. “Where’s Joe’s?”

Still keeping an eye on me, he carefully placed the second cup that has JOE written on it beside the first. “This is Joe’s” he said slowly, emphasising on the word THIS.

As I reached out for the drinks, the barista quickly asked. “Have you…made an order?”

At that exact moment, Joe made an appearance so the barista turned to my friend as he said, “Your orders are ready, Paul”.

Without missing a beat, Joe casually replied, “No, I’m Joe. She’s Paul.”

I guess the Kuching public is used to women bearing the nickname Sam which is short for Samantha or Joe (for Josephine), Nick (Nicole) or even Casey for Cassandra. But never a woman with the nickname Paul before.

Nevertheless, the look of confusion and surprise on the barista’s face was priceless. But really?!? It’s not like my name is Prince Michael II or Kar-El. Superman help me!

So do you like your name? I love mine. I just prefer to be called Paul.



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