Choosing a Sister Name; A Guide for new Nuns & Guards

Guard Panzies & Sr Hellen's nun cookies

There are a few factors to consider when choosing a name in the Sisters of Perpetual indulgence.  Our names are the second question a person on the street will inquire about.  Right after, “What the hell are you supposed to be?!”  Here are some things to consider when choosing a new name.

 

Humor
Sister Names that are humorous are far and away more popular than ones that are merely cute or supposedly interesting.  I should stress; names should be funny to the public, not just the owner.  See Different Types of Humor.

Personal
A good Sister name that the owner has a connection to is important.  A Sister will likely be happy with her name if it's something from her life while still avoiding "topical" aspects like sexual preference or  current fashions.  For example; Hellen Wheels is actually a reference to “Hell On Wheels” used as a phrase to describe how awful your day is going.  In a respect, it is a little dated as it was more common in my workplace at the time I stared with the Sisters and isn't as often heard now.  Unfortunately, it’s still pretty damn appropriate to my life so I'm sticking with it!

Be Easy
Easy to pronounce and easy to spell are also pluses.  Most Sisters get annoyed when people get their names wrong.  Choosing a complicated name won’t help.   Sr. Gina Tonic is simple to say and spell vs. *Sr. Mimosa Pina Carlotta Daiquiri Dilly Don Tom Collins.  (Personally I’d just go with *Sr. Pina Carlotta.)

Kid Friendly/Adult Friendly
It’s great when a name can have more than one meaning especially when a more innocent version or meaning can be used around the rug rats and yet can make adults laugh too.    This can be accomplished by double entendre or by simply shorting the name for the lollipop lickers to something that has little to no vulgar meaning.  Of course, names don’t have to be vulgar to be funny.  Hellen Wheels, Gina Tonic or Tuna Noodle Cocktail can all be said in full in front of the little condom failures  and adults.  Guard Sugga Butt might not be appropriate  a small number of situations, but Guard Sugg is OK even in front of the little poop machines.

Skip the offensive
Names can be used to poke gentle fun at stereotypes, archaic morals or oppression, but shouldn’t generally be used as a weapon.  For example, lots of Sister names poke fun of religion, but that doesn’t mean that they should go for the jugular.  Example; Sr. Christal Mighty! would be a far more acceptable name than Sr. Christ Wazajeck.  Most SPI Houses won’t let a member us a name that crosses that imaginary line that is “too far”  so probably best not to  just try a little harder to be gentile.

Be Thoughtful, Consistent and Unique
Don’t be too hasty in choosing a name. Sisters who change their name frequently are not generally well known and in some cases, may not ever really get known by a new name.  The Nun of The Above Sr. Phychodelia is still call Sister Sushi by those of us who knew her mostly because the first name was funny and easier to say (it also annoyed her when we called her by it!)  I’ve been Sister Hellen Wheels for more than a quarter century.  There is only 1 Hellen Wheels (moi!) and even though I do have other male SPI persona, everynun knows me as “Hellen”.  I’d pity anynun who chose Hellen as a first name now as way too many Sisters associate the name with me exclusively.  Likewise, there are already plenty of Mary’s!  It wouldn’t be easy to stand out from all the existing ones.

 

Types of Humor

Puns.  Def: Exploiting the different possible meanings of a word.  Example, *Sr. Makin Prophet.  Actually, most puns are more accurately referred to as oronyms or double entendres.

Oronyms.  Def: Phrases that are pronounced similarly if said fast, but have different spellings and meanings.  This is the most common name for a Sister to choose.  Examples: Hellen Wheels vs. Hell on wheels, Reyna Terror vs. Reign of Terror, MaryMae Himm vs. Merry mayhem.

Double Entendres.  Def: A phrase that has more than one meaning; usually one that is innocent and one risqué.  Example, Guard Woody Blowhard and Sr. Aria Inuit.

Maloprops.  Def: Using an incorrect word(s) in a phrase.  Examples; Sr. Hellfire and Dalmatian or Sr. There’s No Place Like Roma!

Spoonerisms.  Def: Switching the beginning consonants between words in a phrase. An example might be *Br. Dig Bick. (This one might be even more amusing as eventually someone is bound to mispronounce it!)

Grandiosisms.  Def: Using made-up words that sound grandiose to the point of being ridiculous.  *Sr. Lordie Lu In Leu of Faboo might be one.  Keep in mind that grandiose names often get shortened which isn’t always bad.  In the previous example, he would probably end up getting called *Sr. Lordie Lulu.

Silly, Dadaism and Other humor.  Sometimes a name doesn’t have to mean anything or even be a play on words.  These are not always successful names, but on occasion can work well.  Sister Tuna Noodle Cocktail doesn’t actually mean anything (Yes that is right out of Tuna's mouth), but most people still find the name amusing.  I’d suggest running any name that isn’t some kind of word play by other Sisters before choosing it.