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In Search of the Perfect Name

One thing that has certainly taken on some more immediacy since the “incubation” began is finding suitable names for the boy/girl/kitty that’s on the way. Now this is a topic that we’ve talked about off-handedly for years, but now we actually need to come to an agreement, so the conversations have become a bit more pointed. It’s surprising in the variety of places “interesting” names come up – characters on TV (Gil Grissom Frantz? Stewie Frantz?), waiters and waitresses at restaurants (Fran Frantz?) , greyhounds at the racetrack (Feelin’ Lucky Frantz?).

Generally when these names surface, we engage in a subtle verbal spar to determine if said name is an acceptable one for our informal list. To illustrate the point, here’s a sample exchange that we’ve shared many times recently. To protect any possible names that we may use in the future, I will use an arbitrary name stand in – see if you can spot it.

Kim: Ooh, FungleSnotz! I really like that name! FungleSnotz Frantz! What do you think?

Mark: (rolls eyes)

After several of these exchanges, I get the “evil eye” and then predictably:

Kim: Well, what names DO you like?

Mark: We could name our kids after French cities – it’d be awesome! Paris Frantz! Marseilles Frantz!

Kim: (rolls eyes)

And so it goes around and around. I think part of the crux of our problems is that Kim is looking for a name that is somewhat unique, or at least not a “standard name.” Mary, for example, is not on the short list. Mary was the most popular name in America from like 1800 to 1970 or something like that – turns out God’s mom was named Mary and people are pretentious enough to name their kids after her.

I just don’t want my kid to have some really wacky name – I’ve taught some college level classes and I hate tripping over a student’s name when taking roll. I had a girl who’s name was spelled Miao, which I pronounced as “Mow” but was chastised for not calling her “Meow.” I thought the former sounded like a better shot – best not to lead with the one that sounds like a cat, I thought. I’m also dead set against taking names and spelling them in “fun” ways – for example, just because you can substitute a “y” for an “i” or an “e” and still get the same pronunciation, that doesn’t mean you should. I’m looking at you, Karyn. And you, Cyndy. And even you, Jake Gyllenhaal. Why can’t you spell your name like it sounds, Jaik Jillenhall?

And so we’ll continue our discussions, and hopefully, amidst the continuous eye rolling, we will come to some agreement. Twice. As a backup, we can always just name it Baby. Hey, it worked in Dirty Dancing…

Posted in Months 3-4, Names. Tagged with , , .