Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Names: The Final Showdown

In case you are just joining us, I'm very pregnant.  Like, a month away from the due date today.  Now, we have been through this once before and we know that most baby stuff is overrated. There is very little that babies (newborn) actually need, except for Mom and a blankie and a binkie.  Seriously.  (Mom, on another hand, needs quite a few things, of which a case of wine is the most important).

But there is one thing all babies need.  A name.

We don't have one of those.  Still.  This is officially an emergency.

Here is our final list of names, with all we think of them.  Both first and middle names are probably going to come from this list, but.... which ones?!

Gabriel

We really love this name.  However, it has issues.  Or may be it's just us who have issues and the name is really fine.  We feel that it's too soft.  Too effeminate.   We like soft names for boys (Elijah, for example :), but we also like to give the boy a way to masculinize it.  Elijah can be easily shortened to the macho "Eli".  Gabriel has no such options.  The only nickname is Gabe, which is hardly masculine and (we think) doesn't sound very nice.  In online forums, many Gabriels say that often people expect to see a woman when they see their name written because... apparently Americans can't distinguish between Gabriel as masculine and Gabrielle as feminine?    And, as a final insult, the default tease for Gabriel is, of course, "Gay Gabe" which can't be fun whether you are gay or straight.  Actually, it's probably worse if you ARE gay.  Sigh.

But!  All of those name reviews are from people named Gabriel who are now adults.  When they were little and named this, Gabriel was not a popular name - but it is now.  It's number 25 in the US and climbing the charts.  There will definitely be multiple Gabriels in school, and may be (just may be) teasing someone with "gay" epithet is finally becoming really socially unacceptable?  Hopefully?  Is it getting to be taboo?  Several of our friends, when we said "Gabriel has an obvious tease option" responded "huh? what would that be?".  Are they right and are we overthinking it, or are they just adults and we still think like playground 3rd graders? Because we are good at that.  Sadly, events of recent weeks seems to suggest that harassing someone because of sexual orientation, or using sex-orientation insults to humiliate is still alive and well.  May be Wallaby's generation can make such bigotry as taboo as insults based on gender or race have become now.  But do we want to bet on that?  I'm not sure.

Anthony

Hm.  Overall good name, but we are not crazy about the nickname "Tony" that comes with it.   Also, I'm partial to "Antonio" variant of the name, because I think it sounds HOT and is a great way to be introduced to girls in bars (or boys! either way!).  But Antonio Flores does sound (while HOT) like you just crossed the border yesterday.   And it would still have the nickname "Tony" (or "Tony-O"?) that we don't like.  The Russian variant of this name is Anton, so we would be good in that department.  Anthony is currently name number 10 on the charts, and is always popular, so.... is it too bland?  It's also a name that's hard to tease.... there isn't really much you can come up with.

Simon

Iggy loves this name.  I hated it at first, and now it's growing on me just a little bit, but I'm still not sure.  It just feels so... nerdy.  In my head, Simon has to be a bookish type for some reason, and online reviews seem to say the same.  I think it might be hard to overcome the image that lots of people associate with this name.  On the bright side, though, there is no nickname (except for Si, i guess) and it's an easy-traveling, easy-to-spell name (except in Spanish, where Simon gets to be Si Mon to the delight of every 3rd grader on the playground).  All the potential teasing would involve nursery rhymes and old TV characters which, again, is not so bad.

Dante

We both really like the name, but it's heavily African-American right now, and also (according to sports teams rosters) seems to be heavily jock-inclined.  Our Wallaby is not going to be either.   There is, of course, the original Dante Allegheri, which is a bit more our speed.... but would Wallaby constantly be defying expectations by being a white, not-too-jocky (probably) type of guy?  Would this name fit? 

There is also no Russian (or any other language) equivalent - the name is quintessentially Italian.  Everyone the world over knows about it, thanks to Allegheri, but still.... other names travel better.  As far as teasing goes, this one is not easy to tease and is a pretty cool name overall.  It's not at all popular in the charts right now, so it will definitely stand out, and it should be equally at home at a bar or at a boardroom.  We think. You can definitely be a jock or a poet with it, but you do need a bit of flare to rock this name.  Will Wallaby have what it takes to own it and pull it off?

Roman

This was the first name that we sort of liked.  It has everything going for it - no nickname, sort-of-trendy with its '-an' ending, sounds sufficiently masculine and yet can be worn well by an artsy type.... it's all there.  Even has a Russian equivalent - it's exactly the same name in Russian, just place the accent on the last syllable instead of the first.  Not to mention that, when pronounced that way, the name (in French, Russian and loads of other languages) also means "A Novel" (as in a book). Swoon.  How romantic and intellectual.

But.... the latest association with this name is Roman Polanski.  Not so good.  Of course, Wallaby's generation will have no clue who Polanski was, and so it's probably ok.... but still has a bit of a bad taste for right now, no?  Also, Roman begins to sound like an adjective as soon as you add a middle name.  I mean, "Roman Gabriel" sounds like something you should be sprinkling Parmesano cheese on.  We don't know... this name has all the elements we are looking for, but somehow we just can't get very excited about it.

Well, that's the list.  One thing for sure - we will use the first and middle name to counter balance each other.  So, if the first name is a quirky one like Gabriel we are probably going to go with Anthony to give the kid an all-American "out" option.  If the first name is an all-American one like Simon or Anthony, then we will probably make the middle name Gabriel. 

But what should we pick? What do we do? What does everyone think of our concerns? Are we insane? (don't answer that last one).

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