Saskia. Most commonly known as Saski, but my friends later reinvented it to Sass, with two S’. Sassy by name, sassy by nature. Zaza, by my brother, when he was tiny and fat and resembled the pig from Looney Tunes. It came from my mother, who used to drive around Europe in a minibus, taking a youth club to Boppard and Sainte-Maxime and Cochem. Between trips she would stay in a chalet with a group of German friends. The owners had a daughter called Saskia, and so to her the name is reminiscent of beer; board games; laughter. A break from driving.

I love my name, but I struggle to answer to it. It feels too long for me, and that extra syllable, the a at the end, startles me every time.

I love my name, but sometimes I struggle to say it, too. I have occasional instances of Lazy Tongue when I’m nervous or introducing myself, and it makes me slur my S’. Really excellent, sounding drunk when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

So: I have a sneaky trick. When I meet people, I introduce myself as my favourite childhood nickname – a name I was called by a friend who couldn’t get the hang of her S’, either. I introduce myself as Zaski, and amusingly, everyone assumes they’ve misheard me and get it right themselves.


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