Top Five Names For My Children

If the last article was what not to do when naming your kids, here's the antidote.

i. Avoid names of people you know. Ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, other family members - if you pay tribute to one grandparent you just snubbed the other three - and indeed any name like "Britney" or "George" that has a strong association in the popular consciousness. I'll make an exception here for "David" because I've known enough Davids over the years (so it wouldn't be after one in particular) and they're all generous kind-hearted people.

ii. Avoid names that are difficult to pronounce. Therein teasing lies, and kids can be cruel. A friend in school called Niamh (pronounced "Neve", as in "Campbell") was quite crush-worthy and had a gorgeous name to boot. But, miles from her birthplace of Ireland, could anyone pronounce it correctly? Could they fuck. For ten years.

iii. Consider how it'll sit with your child's other names. My surname begins with "S" yet both my brother, Alex, and I have names ending in the "S" consonant sound. Once, when I thought I was going to get married (longstorynothertime), I was keen to trade out my surname for hers so I wouldn't have to insert an artificial pause when saying my full name any more. If I let them run together, you only hear "Mark".

iv. Make sure your offspring's initials don't spell anything embarrassing. Brian Jones of the Beach Boys taught me that.

Personally, I've always had a penchant for old fashioned, English or Celtic names. My uncle is an Arthur and so was his father, though he's gone by the nickname "Archie" since childhood because of point (ii) above. I'm quite happy with "Marcus". I was one of three out of 1500 students in high school so the trick seems to be to bridge the mundane and the urbane. I'd like something unisex too, so you can refer to "it" by one name from the outset:

1. Kelley
2. Robin
3. Jamie
4. Cameron
5. Loren/Lorne

It'll be fun to look back on this and see how far off the mark I was or whether my future wife had any say in the matter!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Names 1, 2, and 5 are great. I'm so glad you put thought into this. My former boss and wife are naming their kids hispanic names, which is cool, except his first child is named Alejandro. Riiiight. How many 5 year olds do you know that would able to pronounce that?

I love the name Jack, personally, but it violates rule iii. My rule of thumb for naming any future kids is "a name that is unique, yet something everyone has heard of."

Blogger Trundling Grunt said...

Rule (iv) can be a bit of a bugger to work round as you don't know what initials will mean something when they hit their teen years when they are most prone to dying of embarrassment. Kevin George Bowers was a good one - his initialled briefcase was particularly cool.

I'll add a couple (if I may) that seem to be particularly rife over here:-

v) Don't give everyone in your family the same initials. Yes, it does happen, and you never know whose mail you will get.

vi) Don't screw around with spelling just to be cute - JoAn rather than Joanne, Jaime rather than Jamie.

I agree with you about old names but don't go with Mordred as that could turn them to the bad. We called our son Piers (after the Plowman, not Gaveston) and he seems to have turned out ok. Marcus is a good'un too.

Anonymous Shig said...

I have a friend called Mark Jones - no middle name. He's always resented his parents giving him such a boring name - he claims he did a PhD purely to try to make his name a little more interesting. And it's not just that it's boring - he has trouble getting credit cards, opening bank accounts, etc.

He and his wife have just had a baby, and I was expecting it to have a name from the Indiana school of Joneses. I was hoping for Agamemnon Jones or Horatio Jones, but it was a girl and they went for Olivia Scarlett Jones (OJ!). They thought that was cool and individual, but the midwife came to them and said, "Oh, the last baby I delievered was called Scarlett Olivia"...

I've got the common Welsh name Gareth but, being born in England, I never encountered Gareths outside the family until university. Then my sister married a Gareth, and family gatherings are now even more confusing.

Can't say I like your unisex list of names particularly, Marcus, other than Robin. But would you call his/her brother/sister "Batman"?

Anonymous Enrique said...

Personally, I'm perfectly content with my Enrique Javier Huerta. (=

- Enrique

Blogger thisismarcus said...

Shig: Sorry, man. We will have to remember not to make babies together! Truth be told, I've been stuck on Kelley for a long time but I found the other four for this blog post. I regret Cameron already but I stand by the rest.

TG: Good new rules!

KK: Glad we're on the same page. Lemme know when you wanna get started...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have other naming quirks, though. I'm not fond of middle names. I also don't like names that have to be shortened (like mine actually). "We named him Alexander, but we're going to call him Alex." Why not just name the kid what you want to call him?

Blogger Shocho said...

My son seems proud of the fact that he was named for Brian Boru, King of Ireland. Especially when he found the Vodka by the same name.

My wife has no middle name, and has hated her mother for that all her life. People just don't believe that you don't have one. Sometimes she makes one up just to shut them up.

Blogger thisismarcus said...

Shocho: my friend David thought his middle name was Michael for years. He didn't really have one, but his parents told him his was the same as his brother's so he wouldn't feel left out!

Blogger Trundling Grunt said...

I have a middle name that seems to have no 'family historical' connection and no rhyme nor reason to it. Oddly enough I have never got round to asking why - now this thread will make me get round to it.


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