Monday, January 9, 2012

A name by any other

When you have a baby, probably the longest thing you stew on is the baby's name. At least I did. As a victim of a trendy name (as opposed to a horribly trendy name during my birth year like Jennifer or Jessica) myself, I really didn't want to give my kid a trendy name that would forever signify 2007-2009 birth years. Thus, I wanted to stay away from the top 10 names for the year. My mom says that I was named after the college she and her ex-boyfriend went to for a lecture, and then the next week she heard it again at church so she just had to name me that when I came along a few years later. Yeah right, whatever.

One other factor I was opposed to is totally butchering the spelling of a name. A little creative license is fine, but when Tiffany (yet another trendy name during my birth year) becomes Tyfaniie, it's completely inane. Thankfully the horrible name spellings are a more recent trend.

For a girl, those were my only name caveats. Oh, and I didn't want to steal a boy's name for a girl just because I think it's mean. You know how all the girls take over the boys' names...Bailey, Kennedy, Madison, etc.? A girl can steal a boy's name, and then it quickly becomes a girl's name and then the poor boys can't really use it anymore. If that keeps happening, the boys will be stuck with only the top 5 overused boy names  (John, Mark, Thomas, Robert, David). I don't know about everyone else, but I know a lot of people with these names, and it's really confusing because you spend so much time clarifying WHICH John or David you're talking about. I wish work was like at school with the Jennifer problem, and the poor Jennifer had to become Jennifer M. Until there were two Jennifer M's, and then she had to be Jennifer Mitchell all. the. time. At work, though, people tend to stick with just the first name and then you have to clarify and hit replay once the other person is thinking of the wrong John.

Naming a boy would have been a little more complicated than a girl because I think so many boy names are overused. I dated a lot of boys with boring, overused names. It didn't help when they started having the same names, which of course got really confusing when talking about them but really simple when talking to them. I think I dated people with all of the more common Bible boys' names.

There were only two exceptions to my dating name roster. My first boyfriend had a hick name. It was bad, at least in my opinion. Of course I didn't date him for his name. 

For a boy, I also like a certain style of name. That style would be pretentious. If a boy's name makes you imagine a clean-cut guy playing tennis at the country club with a sweater tied around his neck, I like the name. And if it's followed by "III," I like it even more. 

The other exception to my dating roster was my husband. He by far has the most pretentious name of any guy I dated. It's not as pretentious as I would prefer, but it's pretentious enough to almost tie that sweater around his shoulders.

The funny part of this whole boy name preference thing is that I don't like pretentious guys. I've never dated the frat guy or the country club guy because I think they tend to be too fake and superficial. I just like their names.

I really liked Nathaniel Prescott LastName III (he wouldn't have been the II or the III, but I just want to throw that in at the end of the name for pretentious kicks), Andrew Wentworth III (no Andy nickname), Sebastian Oliver III, Jefferson Bradford III.

Basically, I liked any boy name that would ensure he would spend all of junior high in a locker or with his head submerged in a toilet. My husband would have lobbied to tone the pretentiousness down. He had lobbied Nathaniel Prescott down, and we had agreed on Nathan Husband'sMiddleName since he wouldn't give me Prescott.

Sometimes I wonder if my husband was named JoeBob if I would have married him. Okay, I'm teasing. I probably would have, but I would have called him Joseph Robert all of the time just like I currently call him FirstName MiddleName all the time without nicknames.


Jesse said...

Not like I've thought about this much, considering my general view on having kids, but I'm the exact opposite of you when it comes to names for boys. I love common, everyday names that are short or have short nicknames. Rob, Matt, John, Alex, Mike.

I completely agree on the stupidity of intentional misspellings, and in general think it's bad when parents put their own preferences ahead of the kid's well-being when naming them. My parents are guilty of that with my sister's name (Kala instead of Kayla, which leads to endless misspellings and mispronunciations), but she doesn't seem to mind as much as I would.

In the end, I wouldn't actually name a kid with one of my preferred common unassuming names, out of concern for the kid having to deal with the "Jennifer Mitchell" problem. Instead, I'd pick a short, unassuming, but less common name (e.g., Carl).

Quietly Subversive said...

If I saw your sister's name, I would definitely ask how to pronounce it. If she wasn't there, then I'd definitely hesitate. I'd probably vote for the rhyming with "gala" pronunciation, and it's also a flower. It does sound weird though, so when I would say it, I'd realize that couldn't be the actual pronunciation. Was it THAT hard to put a "y" in there? Or even an "i" for Kaila? Actually that's actually a good compromise for a creative spelling, it doesn't look weird, and it would likely reduce some confusion.

Notice that people rarely have awful spellings for boys. Although it is really hard to screw up Alex.