It’s not often that I meet someone who shares my name. Justin, sure, but very rare is it that I find another JJ. In fact, before joining the Los Angeles Dodgeball Society last fall, my childhood best friend’s grandma was the only other one I knew of. Even then, no one outside of her closest upper middle-aged lady friends called her anything but Joanne and being an eight-year-old Midwestern boy, she was Mrs...whatever my friend's mother's maiden name is, to me, anyway. Thus, until my identically initialed new friend invited me to a recent house party, I've never been confused as to who our shared acronym was being addressed.
"JJ!" My name, his name, rang out from all corners of the living room.
"Hmm?" I glanced around expectantly. "Oh. No? No, not me. Him. Okay. Yep. Mmmhmm. Yeah..." I clasped my hands together and returned to nodding excessively as I surveyed this established group of friends, searching for a way to edge in on the clusters of conversation already in progress.
"Hey!" I grasped on to the attention of a face I recognized, a face occupied only by the chips being stuffed inside of it. "Nice to see you again." He frowned slightly, quizzically. "We met at the bar last week."
"Oh...Yeah...?" He CHOMPED down on another handful of salty bits.
"What's your name?" Another friend new to both me and the present crowd chimed in as he came to stand by my side.
"Matthew. Matt's my boyfriend," he pointed at one of the hosts engaged in a conversation with the only two women in attendance.
"Oh!" I chuckled. "You have the same name. That must get confusing."
“No, not really, well –" CHOMP. "Sometimes they call him Matthew and I’m like, whaaat?" He contorted his crumb-flecked kisser into a befuddled expression. "That’s confusing. But most of the time he’s Matt and I’m M.Ro.” CHOMPCHOMPCHOMP. CHOMP.
“- Ah - What?” A slight snicker snuck past my own, smirking lips.
“Well, my name’s Matthew Roman and I started calling myself M.Ro around the time Jennifer Lopez changed her name to J.Lo. I brought it with me when I met these guys and they’ve been calling me it ever since.”
"- How – do you spell?...That?” My friend grabbled for a response.
“Oh, capital "M," capital "R," lowercase "o." Just like J.Lo.” He fired off, as though we weren't the first to request the specific spelling.
At this point, my derision sputtered forth. Thankfully, though, it broke free in sync with the opening lyrics of "Bye Bye Bye" and the ensuing accompaniment of nearly all those in attendance drew his attention away from the disbelief apparent in my involuntarily dilated eyes. Scorn's out of the sack now, though.
While it wouldn't have done much to ingratiate myself with this new circle of gays at the time, today I must decree a (JJ) Fact of Life: you can NOT nickname yourself. No, no; never. That isn't how the process works. Of course, should you abhor an externally designated moniker, any less-than-obnoxious adult will honor your request for a kibosh on referencing you as such; but still you can only ever go by your actual name or a different given-sobriquet just so long as neither is self-proclaimed.
Should anyone infer their own identity, the aliases ascribed here are always guised enough to assure a confident air of ignorance in the ruddy face of indignant oversensitivity. Every post protects the host. That said, I expect I'll earn a few epithets in the years and paragraphs to come. If J.Jo is one of 'em, it won't be coming from me.