When it comes to nicknames, Elizabeth has it easy. She can call herself Liz, Lizzy, Liza, Lisa, Eliza, Elisa, Beth, Betty, Lizbeth, even Elly.
William can be Will or Bill. Richard might be known as Rich, Richie, Rick, or even Dick. John, somehow, can be Jack — but Jonathan can’t.
I have one of those names that’s a single syllable and not nickname-friendly. Oh, there have been people who’ve tried to call me Paulie, but I cut them off very quickly and asked them not to. I didn’t like it as a kid, and certainly not as an adult. Even when I drank beer, I never ordered a St. Pauli Girl.
There’s no Paulie in popular culture who isn’t an idiot. Tony Sirico as Paulie Walnuts on “The Sopranos.” Pauly Shore in “Son-In-Law.” Burt Young as Paulie, the brother-in-law of “Rocky.” Paulie the parrot in a 1998 movie of that name. Maybe you could consider Paulie Cicero in “Goodfellas” above the others, but who wants their name associated with a mob boss as someone to look up to? By the way, the actor who played him was Paul, not Paulie, Sorvino.
I’ve never heard McCartney, Newman, or Rudd referred to as Paulie. Same for Paul Giamatti, Paul Thomas Anderson, Paul Dano, or Paul Reiser. Simon occasionally referred to Garfunkel as Artie, but I never heard the reverse.
No history teacher tells their class about Paulie Revere shouting “The British are coming!” There was never a folk group called Petey, Pauly, and Mary. Nobody would have shown up to hear Paulie Robeson sing “Old Man River.”
There have been no presidents or scientists named Paulie. There were six popes named Paul, but not even the most secure guy in the college of cardinals referred to them as Pope Pauly.
You need at least two syllables for a crowd to chant your name at a sporting event: LeBron, Patrick, Serena, Aaron, Shohei, Mia, Abby, Rafa. Yet Paul Pierce, Paul Hornung, and Paul Silas were all big, strong, successful athletes who no one called Paulie during games.
Professionally, there were a lot of years when I referred to myself on the air simply as Harris, beginning in the early 1980s when there were two other personalities named Paul at the same radio station. I’m not embarrassed by my first name, but it cut down on confusion.
Incidentally, neither of them wanted to be called Paulie, either.