About six months ago Sarah and I helped Katie move to her fabulous new apartment. Katie had bought us lunch at a Mexican place and I showed my appreciation by drinking margaritas on Katie’s tab. Pregnant ‘No tequila for my son’ Sarah ate her mexican food and stewed.
Katie needed supplies for the new place, so we all walked over to a nearby Target, where I went on a literal drunken shopping spree and bought a Dyson vaccum cleaner (pet hair model). In case you’re curious, yes, it is worth every tequila-addled penny we paid for it. I haven’t seen my carpets that clean since they were bought.
Then we ended up in the baby section of the book department. Still reeling from the effects of my margaritas, I spied "1001 names for you baby", picked it up and flipped through it disdainfully. Drunkenly I blurted out, "What kind of pathetic loser needs a book to help them name their baby?"
The presumably pregnant woman standing next to us, quietly flipping through her own copy of "1001 Names" put it back on the shelf and quietly slunk off. I withered in Sarah’s "You’re such an asshole" gaze.
The sentiment there is accurate, though I should have kept it to
myself. Between Sarah and I we have quite a lot of relatives. Between
the gazillion divorces, the ostracisions over frowned upon religions,
and just plain cultural differences, you’d think we’d have trouble
finding male relatives to name the baby after. Not at all.
We’ve got dads and grandfathers and everything else in play. We’ve
even got the fetus nickname in the running. I mean, seriously, is there
nobody in your family, living or dead, you like enough to name your kid after?
The egoism of naming your kid "Dakota", because you read it in a book, or because Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson did it, I find extremely appalling. Dude, these people are totally screwed up. Why would you emulate them? Are you that devoid of substance?
The one that really gets me, though is the typical advice (such as found here Oh, Baby! Playing the Name Game For Keeps, WP) to make sure you don’t pick a name that will get the child teased on the playground. Well, yes, if you name your kid Moon Unit, he’s going to get teased. But if your great-grandfather was named Moon Unit, and he’s named after him, then there shouldn’t be an issue.
I’ve discussed this with lots of people who have distinctive first names like my own (Shabbir), and they all love it. It’s instant recognition. In Washington DC, or in any of the communities I travel in, I can basically go by my first name. It becomes the ultimate mnemonic.
I’m also not a big fan of the people who name their kid after some value they wish to impart. Don’t you think that when your daughter Chastity wants to rebel as a teenager, she’s going to go through a lot of condoms just to spite you?
So name your kid something meaningful, after a family member, or a person of substance you admire. If you have to reach for a book, perhaps the substance you’re lacking is within.