We all know about the "trend" of celebrity couples with combined names that they awkwardly shoe-horn into nicknames. When it works, it can be endearing. When it doesn't, it quickly degenerates into a very bad-tasting alphabet soup.
I've been meaning to blog on this topic for quite some time, but have been waiting for the right impetus. And it recently arrived from two very different places. One came from the PGA tour, and the other from last month's Harvest Festival in Cedarburg.
If you haven't heard by now, PGA tour and international golf star Rory McIlroy and professional tennis star Caroline Wozniacki have been dating. What better way to share and declare your love with the world, than by giving yourselves a nickname, albeit a horrible one: "Wozzilroy." What?
And if that combo isn't atrocious enough, McIlroy recently made his love "official" by engraving the name "Wozzilroy" into a golf club. Good thing he gets all his golf clubs for free. Can't help but wonder how soon "Wozzilroy" will show up on one of her tennis rackets?
For those of us more entrenched in the real world, I learned recently of a great local couple with a combined nickname a few weeks ago, when I had a nickname booth at the Harvest Festival in Cedarburg. I placed a long strip of butcher paper across the table, and I invited passersby to write down their nickname with a Sharpie. It turned out to be a great idea, gleaned from a good friend.
A couple stopped by, named Tom and Molly. I did not catch their last name.
"Hey," Molly said. "Tom and I have a combined nickname; it's Tomolly."
Who'da thunk? A nickname sweeter than the Hot Tamales candy itself. As always, the simpler the better. And having met them, their moniker fit them perfectly.
Many linguistics experts suggest that there is a sociological underpinning to the trend. It's one of those goofy unspoken realities in life where people are trying to make a connection, via "inside information" with the listeners.
For many, getting the reference enables them to feel more informed and smart.
As is the case with most trends, for my money, there really is nothing new under the sun. Many think this combined name/nickname nonsense all began around 2002 - 2003 with the "Bennifer" combo, between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. And very quickly thereafter, we were subjected to "TomKat," "Brangelina" and "Billary" and one of my favorites, "Gyllenspoon."
And now, as we all know, the list is painfully endless.
So when did some of these famous couple, naming shenanigans really begin? Perhaps as long as 60 years ago. Comedian and actress Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, formed a company and studio in 1950 in Hollywood, named "Desilu," obviously lifted from "Desi" and "Lucille." It was also the name of their ranch in Chatsworh, Calif.
Yet another reason I loved Lucy.
Do you and your "significant other" have a combined nickname? If so, feel free to share it in the "comments" section below. There has to be many more endearing hot "Tomolly" and "Desliu" studios out there somewhere.
John Leaf was born in western Illinois, a mile east of the Mississippi. College in Chicago. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Leaf was goalie on the soccer team and captain of the golf team in college. He cut class to ride the "L" to see Cubs games, hung out for hours at the Art Institute and bent the brain doing graduate school in Theology.
He spent three mind-blowing summers in coastal British Columbia, as a resort photographer. He worked and lived in Minneapolis. He did hard time at a bank on LaSalle Street in Chicago and learned about PR, working at big firm a block off Michigan Avenue, while living in Evanston.
Now Leaf is just living the dream, under the radar, in Cedarburg. He's passionate about nicknames and launched his website three years ago.
He dabbles in yoga and cycling. Fishtailing as always, and taking a whack at life, like everyone else.