Lesley is my real name. It is the name I use at work and the name I used at school, but many of my friends call me ‘Lellie’. Why?

‘Lellie’ was adopted when I was a teenager venturing online and joining internet communities. I needed a regular moniker or username and wasn’t sure what to use. I didn’t want to go down the route of naming myself after a band or song, like a lot of my peers because I thought I might lose interest or they could go out of fashion. I didn’t want to use my real name, have never had a middle name and most of my nicknames had been created by childhood bullies, so were not something I wanted to share with the world. I needed to think of something else.

My younger cousin came up with ‘Lellie’. When he was little, he would call me and my sister, Ginette – “Lell-e-Net”. He was so used to meeting us together, he blended our names, addressing us both the same. Like many young kids, he had trouble with the ‘s’ in my name, so Lesley became ‘Lellie’ and Ginette was simply ‘Net’. I liked that my sister’s name reflected the internet, so decided that ‘Lellie’ would be perfect for my online name.

‘Lellie’ has stuck with me since. I met my partner on a music forum, so he has always known me as ‘Lellie’ and will usually introduce me that way to others. His family all call me ‘Lellie’ and even my own family do more often than not!

I sometimes forget which name people are used to, so may confuse people when I myself use the wrong one. Most people who meet me in a formal setting still call me Lesley, but I prefer my friends to call me Lellie. I’ve always felt that Lesley was a name for people my mum’s age, not my own. Lellie suits me better.

Either way, please don’t spell my name as “Leslie”. I am not sure why this upsets me so much (perhaps because Leslie is typically associated with men in the UK), but I find it annoying, particularly if you are emailing me and can see how my name should be spelt in my email address. I know I don’t exactly help by using ‘ie’ at the end of my nickname, but I do appreciate it when people remember to spell my real name with a ‘ey’ at the end.