The Name Game (Ruining Someone’s Life Before They Have the Chance)

I don’t know if I should attribute my love of naming to being a writer or if that is an innate human thing.  But I do.  I love giving things and animals names.  I named almost all of our childhood dogs (we had a lot of strays growing up).  I was even asked by a local designer to come up with names for items in her clothing line.  One of my secret dream jobs is to be the person who comes up with names for colors: crayons, paint, nail polish, lipstick, I don’t care what the product is.  In eight short weeks, I will be giving a person the name that they will be known by for the duration of their lifetime.  It’s exciting and nerve wracking.

Once we found out Peapod was a boy, I really wanted him to be Hunny Jr.  Hunny was not even remotely interested in having a son named after him.  He was vehemently against it.  I still want Peapod’s name to echo his father’s in some way, and one way I thought was for them to have the same initials.

Dmitri was a possibility.  I think Dmitri is a really cool name and I thought Hunny would approve.  Before I share a name with Hunny, I look up the meaning.  Name meanings are really important to us.  Dmitri means “follower of the god Demeter.”  Um, no, thanks.  But I’m still in love with the name.  I’m going to look up what that god stood for in Roman times.  A future character in one of my stories will have that name and the attributes a follower of that god would have.

One of my good friends was engaged to a loser some years ago.  They were going to name their daughter Penelope and call her “Penny” because they were both fans of the Penny character on Peewee’s Playhouse.  I never saw the show, but this is the character:

When I looked up names, she was with me and curious to see what Penelope meant.  First, I want you to say the name aloud.  Penelope.  It’s a mellifluous name.  It means “resembling a pig.”  Wow.  I don’t know if that is worse than the seven people who named their daughters “Moo” last year.  Shouldn’t that be some kind of crime against humanity (Of course, only in the cultures that have their cows make that sound)?  Can you imagine growing up with that name as a girl?  But the meaning of Penelope does explain this movie (An interesting concept, but poorly executed):

Hunny and I came up with some girl names before we knew what gender our baby would be.  At first, we both agreed on Chloe.  But I didn’t want people to associate our baby with Khloe Kardasian or think that she was named after a reality personality ( I just can’t call them “stars.”  They shouldn’t be called “celebrities,” either.  People who sell their souls and the souls of their family members to be on television should be called something like “slugs” or “harlots.”  Reality Harlots.  I don’t think that’s going to catch on).  We liked the name Nadia, but couldn’t agree, so one of my friends suggested combining Chloe with Nadia and compromising with Claudia.  Claudia sounds like a nice name.  It means “one who is lame.”  No matter what definition of “lame” you choose, that’s not an inspiring name.

Do you have any funny name stories?  I’d love to hear them!

4 thoughts on “The Name Game (Ruining Someone’s Life Before They Have the Chance)

  1. Such a subjective thing, names! The amount of teasing and confusion some must endure purely because their parents had bad judgement is pretty sad … I always hated my name as a kid because it seemed so boring and common, but honestly I’m now glad my parents played it safe and gave me a name that didn’t hinder my ability to get a job, or a partner, or just function normally…


    • I hated my name, too! My brothers both have family names (Have you ever met someone named Bivins?) and I felt bad that my name was so common. But I’m glad that my name is “normal” for the same reasons you mentioned.

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