Monday, July 22, 2019

The Name Game

Recently I was hanging out with a friend of mine, Si, who is Chinese, and she said she thought it was interesting how, in English, we have dedicated "names."  In Chinese, words are names.  This is why translated Chinese names often come back as "Sunshine" or "Lucky."

I pointed out to her that most English names do, in fact, have meaning, though they may not be well known.  My legal first name means "youthful," for example.  An apt description, considering that I look like a 13-yr-old boy.

Lately I've been putting a lot of thought into names because of the upcoming baby.  Andrew and I had already chosen names some time ago but now I'm in doubt.  A name for a person is a big decision.  This isn't like naming a cat.  (My cat's name is Mabel Syrup, but she responds to "cat.")  There's a lot of factors to consider: the meaning, the sound of it, what nicknames they'll go by, whether or not the initials spell out a swear word, what sort of jokes you can make with it, et cetera.

I don't want my kid to get teased (for their name, at least).  So I've been spending a lot of time going over names to try to figure out what I want.

If it's a girl, we have our name locked and loaded.  Evelyn Lorelei.  This sounds good, and with my last name, spells out "Elm."  I want her to grow up strong like a tree... a person who bends but won't break.  Elm trees have very cool symbolism; in Celtic lore, they have special association with fairies and the underworld, and they were a symbol of hope during the revolutionary war.  Nowadays in America they've retained their status as a tree of war and hope, which is super badass.

As for the first name, "Evelyn" (Evie for short) means desired or desirable.  Lorelei is a rock at the head of the Rhine river where mermaids famously lured sailors to their death.  I guess my thinking was that I wanted lil' Evie to be someone who desired life and was desirable to others but would also not hesitate to drown any rowdy sailors who messed with her.

We also considered "Ladbrooke" or "Rowena" in place of "Lorelei," but for "Rowena," the initials would spell out "Erm," dooming Evie to a life of incisiveness.

Kids with weird names can end up in trouble, is what I'm saying.

Speaking of indecisiveness, boy, are we having issues with boy (names).  The original name we'd chosen was Calvin but now I'm having second thoughts because almost everyone I've spoken to HATES Calvin.  And it's been hard to come up with a middle name to go with, one that sounds okay.

 I will never not post this clip when the situation allows for it.

Below is the narrowed-down list of boy names we've been considering, with the pros, cons, and meanings.  Needless to say, we are leaning toward a girl right now, just to make the naming decision easier.  Also I have a friend who believe they are psychic and claims to "know" the baby is a boy and I just desperately want them to be wrong.  A petty reason, to be sure, but still a reason.

In alphabetical order, the final eight:


As: probably a middle name, after "Calvin."

Meaning: "Priceless."  Roman origin.

Significance: After me, obviously, and my favorite guy in the world, Tony Stark.

Pros: "Tony" is just a freaking great name.

Cons: No one likes being a "junior."  Also we'd end up with two Tonies in the house.  If it's a middle name (like mine) then I suppose it wouldn't matter much, though.  Still, seems a little narcissist to name the kid after me.  Also, being fair, as cool as Tony Stark is, he's sort of a terrible role model.  And even though I like Tony Stark, there's no guarantee my kid will.

Artist's depiction of my future child.


As: probably a middle name, after "Calvin."  Less likely as a first name.
Meaning: "Son of the Right Hand," from ancient Hebrew.

Significance: Andrew's father's name.

Pros: Honors someone who passed away.  Utterly inoffensive.  Liked by most people.

Cons: A little bit dull and basic.  I like old-fashioned names that won't be repeated and "Benjamin" is a little too common for me.  Also, I'm worried that my only interest in this name lies with my fascination with The Umbrella Academy, which features a character named Ben.  I don't want to name my kid based on a hyper-fixation.

"I was named after a tentacle monster superhero my parent thought was cool."


As: first name.

Meaning: "Bald," from Latin.

Significance: None. 

Pros: Andrew and I actually agree on this name.  We can call him "Cal" for short.  Easy to spell, pronounce, and despite being well-known, is not likely to be shared by any classmates.

Cons: Means "bald."  Disliked by most of our families.  Lacks significance.

You said it, Cal.


As: middle name.

Meaning: "Lucky," form Latin.

Significance: None.

Pros: Has an "X" with it, which goes nicely with Calvin's "V."  (Our kid's name is starting to look like a prescription heart medication...)  Has a good meaning.

Cons: Lacks significance.  On the rise as a popular name and we don't want to come across as basic hipsters in naming our child.  Possibility for teasing.

Felix the cat is the stuff of nightmares.


As: middle name.

Meaning: sheltered or near a meadow.  English in origin.

Significance: None.

Pros: I like it.

Cons: Andrew doesn't.

Pro: kid could become an astronaut.  With dogs!


As: Middle name.

Meaning: "Goodness of God," from Hebrew.

Significance: None.

Pros: I like it.

Cons: No one else does.

Cons: "Tobey" was one of the most awkward of the spider-men.


As: middle name.

Meaning: of Scotland.

Significance: None.

Pros: Solid middle name.

Cons: Basic, common middle name.  Also, neither Andrew nor I are Scottish.


As: middle name.

Meaning: conquering / conqueror, Latin.

Significance: My father's name.

Pros: Honors someone who died.  Badass meaning.

Cons: I don't want to be overly sentimental about my dad just because he's dead.  I mean, I loved my dad, but we had a slightly rocky relationship, and if he were alive I'm not sure I'd consider it as strongly.  Maybe I'm just being influenced by Andrew's suggestion of "Benjamin."

 My dad was a complex man.

After looking over the list I feel like I can easily eliminate a couple, such as Tobias and Scott.

In the end, I think we'll go with Calvin Benjamin if it's a boy, but I'm definitely stressing out about the decision.  There's only four more months to make it... a period of time that seems like a lot but will no doubt go by in the blink of an eye.

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