People often ask me if “Barbie” is my real name. My given name is Barbara Ann. I joke saying that my parents are Beach Boy fans.
Actually, my mother wanted to name me Brenda. However, there is no Spanish translation for Brenda. Since both my grandparent’s first language was Spanish, my parents wanted a name that would be easy for Spanish speakers to say. That is how Barbara came about.
It turns out that my grandfather, on my father side, called me Debra for two years, until he passed away. To this day, my mom says they should have left my name as Brenda.
Curiously, I asked my mom why they started calling me Barbie. There was nothing I did or nothing I said that made them call me Barbie. It just always was. As a baby, my parents called me Barbie.
Barbie stuck through elementary school. In middle school, I wanted to sound grown up and insisted that people called me Barbara. By high school, my friends would come to my house to hear my parents call me Barbie. It’s been Barbie since.
I can’t figure out why most guys like to call me Barb. They just keep shortening my name. I tell them the story about how Barb makes me feel old because it was the name of a school friend’s grandmother. A few people will stick with Barbie or Barbara but there are others that still call me Barb. I can name these people on one hand. I let them slide.
My friends and family call me Barbie. They say the name fits me.