Lou is short for Louisa. Not Louise. Not Lucy. Not Lucifer.
For me, Lou and Louisa are two distinct identities (not personalities people; I'm not that kind of crazy). I’m kind of like a human mullet. Louisa is business; Lou is a party.
As a kid, I wished I had been given a “good” name, like Jenny, or at the very least a “normal” name, like the one my sister Sarah got. The neighborhood boys got a kick out of turning my name into Weezy, Weezer, and Lucifer (a perennial favorite). But eventually, I embraced Louisa because it was different. It set me apart. While there were countless Jenny’s and Stacey’s and Beth’s, there was always only one Louisa.
My family, especially my mom and my sister, have always called me Lou. It somehow became the name-of-choice for best friends and boyfriends. Over time, I started calling myself Lou because eventually, I realized that’s who I am. Louisa tends to be a name I use for work purposes (though when stay in a job for a decent amount of time, people start calling me Lou). Louisa represents a more formal side of my personality, a little shy perhaps, decidedly less likely to curse excessively. Old people call me Louisa. My dad calls me Louisa. People who don’t really know me call me Louisa.
Lou, on the other hand, is outgoing and hilarious. Lou dances like a maniac and sings karaoke (even though she knows she is a horrible singer). Lou is a little more optimistic than Louisa.
As you may have guessed, 99 percent of the time, Lou writes this blog.
By the way, if I hadn’t been named “Louisa,” my mom was going to name me “Portland…” which would have been pretty cool, but not easily nickname-able. (Port? Land? Landie? Porty? Oh God... I probably would have been called Port-a-Potty as a child. Talk about scars.)
Doesn’t everyone have an “my mom [or dad] wanted to name me…” name?