Monday, June 27, 2011


Of all the "B" words I know, this one is the one I really don't like. Bibi - spelt a few different ways. Bebe, Bebi, Bibe and even the occasional Beebe. 

You might ask what is a Bibi? According to urban dictionary - it is defined as "Is the epitome of all things feminine and womanhood. Bibi means "mistress," "lady," "beloved," "wife," "queen," "lover" etc etc. 
"She's my beautiful bibi..."
According to the baby name meaning website "Babynology", it is Persian meaning  lady. It seems to be a beautiful name but don't let its innocent facade fool you. 

Americans seem to like it as it is easy to pronounce and it can be a cute name, again that facade thing. I used it when I first started working in Brooklyn as a receptionist in an office, they really liked the name and thought it was cute - I didn't want to introduce them to my middle name. A conundrum of many vowels. Try saying Shaeeza three times fast - not very cute and no it will not open the gateway to the dark side. I promise. I used it during my five years as an aide in the hospital, I got so many compliments on it, it was quite a conversation starter. "Oh you have a cute name Bibi". and "Bibi, you are the bibiest of the Bibi's" and my Ukrainian friends when they call me"Be-bushka".  

As you can tell my first name is Bibi and here's the kicker - so does my sister Farah and my little sister Swafeha. See, losing that innocent face. Three girls in the same family with the same first name. What  a tangled web we weave... But it doesn't stop there. I come from a very large prolific Indian family and we seem to bring forth tons of baby girls (they are still appearing today) and guess what? Most of my cousins have the same first name yes that Bibi - spelt in varying styles. One of my cousins even decided to get even cuter by asking to be called "B. I" How much cuter can you get?
If you check my FB friends list, there are many Bibi's there.  Seventeen at last count and seven are related to me by blood, that doesn't count all the closeted Bibi's who are reluctant to use the name. I don't blame them either. Still think it's an innocent name? 
I started a FB page whose title is "You know your're Guyanese if your first name is Bibi". I haven't checked back there in a while because it is practically terrifying exactly how many have that first name. It just might give me the hibby jibbies. Almost every Guyanese family know someone or many someones named Bibi. Losing that cuteness factor real fast.

When I was in elementary school in Georgetown Guyana, I used the name Bibi.  so did my sisters- we were Bibi S. Khan, Bibi F. Khan and Bibi S. Khan. See how my point is proven? Not innocent.
Then came the day when a new girl entered my class - guess what her name was? Bibi S. Ally. I was delighted (young and foolish), oh here's another girl with my name, oooh maybe we can friends. Maybe we'll become pals, buddies, form a club or something, maybe even solve mysteries (Enid Blyton was a strong influence then on my impressionable life). The teacher trying to be nice said "Oh now we have two Bibi's , Bibi Khan and Bibi Ally". Oh the daggerish looks I got from her were practically designed to take the Bibi out of me! I shrunk back into my shell. Later that day out on the playground, she came over to me and hissed "I'm the only Bibi". I was too shocked to return with "But I was here before you". I thought it , but was too dumbfounded to say it. Innocence where did you go?
So I decided to drop that name, just didn't write it anymore and switched to my middle name - Shaeeza.  I still keep it, you know legal stuff and all that, remember that cuteness factor, even I will admit to being fooled by its innocent facade, but you have no idea how tempted I was to literally drop it when I became a citizen. How many Shaeeza's do you know?


  1. Great insight into a name. I knew a girl who liked to be called Shaz (Shannon) but can't say I've seen Shaeeza before. I like it :-)

  2. Very interesting. What's in a name?