Louise Dolby

When I applied to colleges four years ago, I was immediately drawn to Cal Poly for (among other things) its ratio of males to females. At the time it was nearly two to one, a promising statistic for a single lady like myself. Once I got settled at Cal Poly and started getting acquainted with some of the males, I quickly realized that the majority of them were named either Chris, Matt, Mike, Dan or Brian, which posed the problem of how to tell all these boys with the same name apart.

As if meeting new people and learning their names isn’t hard enough, now that I am 21 years old it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between these boys with generic names who I meet downtown at the bars. To fix this problem, my roommate and I devised a way to remember who’s who:

When meeting a Chris, Matt, Mike, Dan or Brian, we pick another name for them based off of physical characteristics, like Bearded Jesus Lover, a guy we met at Campus Crusade who had a lot of facial hair

A certain article of clothing can also be a good distinguishing feature, like Yellow Beanie Guy or Guy-in-the-Red-Shirt, but since clothing can be changed this method is only good for short-term use, perfect for a club or bar scene.

Location or occupations also make good fodder for nicknames. Where you met the guy can help you remember something else about him. For example, Pizza Man was a guy we met when he delivered a pizza to our house and stayed to have a beer.

When getting a guy’s number at a party or a bar, entering a nickname is helpful, so when they call you later on you don’t have to say, “Mike who?” There’s Neighbor Mike who lives across the street, Mike Sigma Kappa who lived with some sorority girls and Broken Nose Mike who had recently been hit in the face by a baseball when I met him. Including these details can prevent the embarrassing entries used when you forget the person’s name, like Blonde Boy, That Guy and Don’t Answer.

Once a nickname sticks, the person will forever be referred to by this name in future storytelling. It’s a fact that girls talk, especially (I’m afraid to admit) about boys. When a boy earns a nickname from a certain event it can be difficult to live it down, like the case of poor Piddle Pants, a cute young man who unfortunately urinated on my friend’s mattress while highly intoxicated one night, thinking he was in the bathroom and not asleep in a bed. Stories like this will be told for generations and we are certain not to forget his name, face or reputation.

Now after a long day at school or a night out on the town, my roommate and I come home and have conversations in what may seem like another language or a MadLib to the unknowing ear. Dialogue like “Wow, I had to do a total bush dive from Corn Dog tonight at DTB,” translates to, “I had to hide from that guy I met at the fair this summer when I saw him tonight at Downtown Brew.” We refer to “bush dives” as how you feel when you see someone on campus or at the bars and want to avoid an awkward encounter so you dive into a bush to get away from them.

President Ronald Reagan must have sent out a memo to pregnant women in the 1980’s asking them to forego creativity and call their sons one of the five mentioned names as part of his campaign to make this country boring. Thankfully, celebrities of the 21st century are becoming a little more original. With names like Roman, Banjo, and my personal favorite, Audioscience, son of “40 Days and 40 Nights” star Shannyn Sossamon, future bar-hopping ladies 21 years from now should have no problem distinguishing these boys from the rest. For now, hopefully these hints will help over the upcoming holiday party season.

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