What's in a name?

My name is Stefania; I introduce myself that way and hope that you use it when addressing me. My sister named me. My name, although not conventional is really not all that hard to say, pronounce or read. My experience has been that if someone gets it wrong the first time no amount of correcting is gonna make it right.
There are also a whole group of people that insist on shortening it to Stef. What's up with that? I had someone ask me my name once and I replied "Stefania", he then asked, "What can I call you?"... and I replied, "Stefania." He didn't think that was funny and insisted that I had a nickname that he could use.
Growing up they called me Stefy. After high school I made a super conscious effort to make sure everyone called me by my full name and it generally worked, except of course for that really obnoxious group that decide to call me whatever they want.
When my nephew was old enough to start talking my name became Zia Fania. Can't blame the kid, Zia Stefania is a lot to say much less remember. So within my family and close friend I can sometimes be called Fania (Zia is the Italian word for Aunt).
My job has always included customers, clients, parents, students; basically lots of talking on the phone and other various forms of correspondence, and people misunderstanding my name. I think it grates me the most when I send an email signed Stefania and I get a response "Dear Stephanie," as if they realized that I spelled my own name wrong and they want me to realize it as well. Over the phone I've gotten Stephanie, Stefan, Zavania, Stefanya, Stefaneea (pronounced with a heavy -nee), and Tanya. Once a really truly long time ago (first job out of college, and I can't believe I'm telling this story) I was answering the phone for Matel Interactive as a customer service representative and the person on the other end of the phone heard my name as Lasagna.


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