I was laughed at for years about my rude initials – and my surname didn't help matters eitherMarch 23, 2022
THE name Becky is hardly the most shocking or unusual, so most parents would think it's a safe bet for their kids.
But one 32-year-old, who grew up attending an all girls' school in Devon, found out the hard way just how creative kids can be with nicknames.
Called Rebecca Jane but going by Becky Jane, the marketing manager's friends were in hysterics when – as teens – they discovered her initials were BJ.
And her surname didn't help matters either, as it's Cockman.
Becky, who lives in Torbay, Devon, tells Fabulous: "When I was about 13, some of the girls at school worked out what my initials were.
"They all started calling me 'BJ' and thought it was hilarious, so there wasn't much I could do apart from laugh along with it.
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"I don't think they were trying to be horrible, they were my friends but they were teenagers and they found it funny.
"They didn't realise how it was to have that shouted at you in the street, all day every day. I didn't like it, it wasn't fun and no-one seemed to take that in.
"I wasn't confident enough to turn around and say 'stop doing that right now' so I just put up with it."
Although Becky's school was all girls, she had a boys' school opposite who they hung out with outside of class.
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She says: "People would introduce me as BJ, which was very awkward.
"The boys would laugh, assuming what it meant, and I would have to explain 'that's because it's my initials'.
"Sometimes the girls would add 'and wait for it, her surname's Cockman' and then they'd all just laugh at me.
"I learned to laugh along with them, but it's still not nice."
They didn't realise how it was to have that shouted at you in the street, all day every day. I didn't like it, it wasn't fun and no-one seemed to take that in
Eventually one of her friends lengthened the nickname to Beej to spare Becky's blushes.
She says: "Anyone I know from school still calls me Beej.
"When people hear it now, they just think it's 'beach' which is a weird nickname but no-one really comments. It's not obviously rude anymore.
"Sometimes people ask me to explain and I'll just say 'that's my name, yes it's rude, isn't it funny? I dare you not to laugh'.
"I don’t think my mum ever heard it until my friends had already started calling me Beej.
"Then she said ‘what on Earth does that mean?’ I said ‘you gave me the initials BJ and I’ve worked with it’.
"She’d never really thought about it until then. My surname is Cockman, so I think she was really distracted by the larger evil there and never put it together.
"My name is Rebecca technically, so she never thought ‘oh we’ll call her Becky and then her initials will be this’.
My mum said ‘what on Earth does that mean?’ I said ‘you gave me the initials BJ and I’ve worked with it’
"Over the years, I've got used to it. There was no way to change it when I was in school, I couldn't have even if I'd tried and it's hard to give yourself another name after so many years.
"It doesn't bother me anymore, it was a sink or swim thing.
"You can either retreat into yourself because you hate your name so much, or you can laugh it off."
When we spoke, Becky was days away from marrying Martin Coombe, 32, who works in hospitality, and officially changing her name last Saturday.
She says: "In terms of my surname, I think my brother had it worse. An all boys' school with the name Cockman, it's not great.
"Whereas my friends were all distracted by my first name.
"My surname isn't ideal and it does sound a bit silly, but it didn't have as much of an effect.
"I'm changing my surname when I marry but I have to keep it for work, as that's what everyone knows me by.
"Personally I will be changing my name to Coombe, which will be much nicer when you have to spell out your name over the phone, not having to say 'c*ck' to them.
"When I name my kids, I'll be cautious about not just their names, but their initials, potential abbreviations, the whole shebang.
"This sounds very British but I’ve always thought of what I've been through as character building.
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"It wasn’t fun at the time and I’ve had problems with it, but that mild trauma has helped shape who I am.
"It's just what happened. I'm not desperately depressed about it, but I am looking forward to having a more normal name."
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