ASK B.E.: Baby names?
April 15, 2008
My wife and I are about to have our first child. While we are good people, we are not creative people. I do not want my child to be dammed by a bland name, or stigmatized by an lame or ill fitting one. Could you please help us suss this issue out, and come up with a suitable list of candidates.
You were right to come to us, Daniel: few factors shape a child destiny like poorly chosen name. There are a few factors to consider:
- Does the name, in and of it’s self, suck?
- Does the name set a unreasonable standard of cool to live up to?
- Is it gender appropriate?
- Is it French?
- Did you ever bang a crazy girl/guy that happened to have that name?
Let’s address these issues one by one, together, like a family.
*Note: I’m not going to rag on the really foreign ones: people from places without potable water already know their names are ridiculous, no need to rub it in.
1. Does the name, in and of it’s self, suck?
Certain names, independent of cultural context and personal appropriateness, fail at the starting gate. Observe the following subcategories
- Acoustic atrocities.
These dissonant sonic constructs offend the ear, and summon deeply unpleasant onomatopoedic association: Helgatha, Pubert, Regina, Oswalt, Edwina: all bring to mind substances squozen out of a boil. You might as well give your kid a bowl cut and unibrow straight out of the womb.
b. Crimes against phonics.
You cannot simply lay down random collections of letters, then assert pronunciation after the fact. Nor can you add random foreign prefixes to make them sound classy.
Ryne is not Ryan… no matter what your trendy whore of a soccer mom told you.
Kristee wastes E’s, and deprives down on their luck Y’s of much needed work in the Vowel industry.
Deron is not Darren, it Dee-ron, so no, Mr. Williams, you don’t get to correct people when they “mispronounce” it.
J’Anthony or La’Quisha suggests a thwarted GED study, not a lost French Barony.
c. Hyphenated double names.
Bobby-Jo, Mary-sue, Joe-jack, Tommy-John (not the surgery). You need to pick a first name and stick to it. Double names show a lack of commitment, and general hillbillery.
Initials ending in J are subset of this: giving a child an over a 70% chance of becoming a douche bag. Names such as J.J., B.J, TJ…and yes, even A.J., all provide substantial detriment to developing into a respectable human being.
2. Does the name set a unreasonable standard of cool to live up to?
Marcus Vandal Vaughn is a legacy, not a name. Were I to affect that name, I would need employment as a underwater welder on a mob submarine…fighting off sharks the whole time, to have any chance of pulling it off.
If you are less cool than your name, then every day ends in failure…every moment becomes a lie. Parents need to realistically asses their level of cool, and name their child within 20% of this range. Awesome names you may want to avoid out of prudence
- – Jericho
- – Justice
- – Strong V’s such Vincent, Victor, or Votolimous
- – Lancelot
- – Dragonlord
Be sure to factor the Surname into the equation. While A.J. is a pretty shaky first name, having Valliant as a last name made it a strategic necessity (and I’m pretty damn cool).
Quirky is fine if you plan on raising an arty little bastard (like my son Ricochet), but you don’t want a account manager named “Dappled Sunblossom Hernandez”. Trust me…they will get real tired of that conversation.
3. Is it gender appropriate?
Men named Ashleigh, Lillian, Tracey, and any name ending in a ‘I”, live lives of quiet desperation. Unless you want a overcompensating date rapist as a son, avoid them.
4. Is it French?
Even if you’re French, I would avoid this.
5.Did you ever bang a crazy girl/guy that happened to have that name?
If you cram your pockets full of woe, don’t come crying to me if you get woe stained legs.
In short: name your kid Lucas if it’s a boy, and Lilly if it’s a girl. Strong….but not too strong. Mundane….but melodic. And what I would have named my kids…had I not wanted to punish their mother.
Should you wish punish your wife for past slights, or children for future, consider: Jim Jim the Wobbly Ocelot, Pucifier, or Momambula.
 This falls under the Red head corollary. Where it’s sexy and coquettish if you’re female…and a Ginger cross of woe to be born if you’re male.