Thursday, July 4, 2013

Naming Rites - Part Two

My cousin has asked me to write this.

So I'm not taking full responsiblity for my actions here.

See, the last time I wrote one of these posts I got in a lot of trouble with my family. But there is nothing new there - I'm always in trouble with my family.

What happened back in October 2011 was my cousin and his wife had a baby. Lovely baby - gorgeous little fellow.

Then they proceeded to call him Malcolm.

Yes, Malcolm - a name reserved for those who are Scottish and are bound to be part of the grey cardigan wearing public service, where the most interesting thing they will ever do is coach the local Under 12s Lacrosse Team.

Names are very personal things - and as a rule I try not to comment on names. It is absolutely no business or concern of mine what people name their child. It's their business, not mine - though my cousin's mother and I had many a conversation over the naming of said Malcolm - thankfully young Malcolm is now one of the most stunning children you're ever likely to see which should have him in good stead.

I also need to say that I will most probably never get to name a child. In my young and deluded days I always had it in my head that I wanted to call a son something normal and boring like Matthew, George or Thomas, and for a girl, maybe something like Sienna, Imogen or Erin. Nothing too way out for a girl, though I'd love to give her the middle name of Serendipity - probably scarring the child for life.

There are other conventions that I'd probably try and avoid. Naming children after your parents or grandparents. Middle names maybe, but that's it. Besides, with the choice of Eunice, Reg, Ada, Darcy, Ron and Kay in my case, maybe not. Though my sister gave her firstborn the middle name of Kay - nothing wrong with that.

I also loved the name Jayanthi - after an Indian friend - but I don't think I'd like to instill a life of spelling out their name on a child.

I discussed this naming thing with a work mate who said that they thought long and hard about the names and the consequences of the initials. Christopher Ulysses Nathaniel Taylor and his brother Francis Alexander Robert Taylor might not have such a good time of things.

You look at the siblings too. You wouldn't call your daughters Jenna and Tahlia and then go calling for them in the play ground at the top of your lungs. It's just not done.

Another friend said that she wanted to "supermarket proof" her child's name, so that if she had to yell for them to stop doing something in the supermarket she wouldn't sound like a right berk. My friend has a reasonably strong Cockney accent, so names like Amy, Archie - basically anything iambic in nature (Two syllables,short starting sound, longer ending sound) doesn't work with a nasal accent (think of a think Australian accent then say Narelle or Kaylene - you'll get my drift - not pretty)

We're also going through a stage where people are naming their children with old fashioned names. I'm getting good at keeping schtum as little Adelaide (Pseudo city in South Australia), Mabel (Cat Name) Elsie (smells of boiled veggies and stale urine) Archie (Lives at the front bar of the All Nations) and Walter (sausage dog that live in a furniture shop down Bridge Road) are handed over to be bounced on my knee.

There's also the names that are almost certainly casting your child into an alternative lifestyle. Crispian, Peregrine, Thurstan, Doris and Wilma spring to mind. Not that there is anything wrong with that at all.

I also think there should be a law not allowing the use of Irish names unless you are Irish. I know a Tadhg, Aioslinn, Aoife, Connaighh and Breidh - and I proudly know how to pronounce their names - but I also know their Irish born parents making this acceptable. Thing is, these children are going to be spending an extra five minutes on the phone spelling out their names for the rest of their lives - maybe not so in Ireland, but thems the breaks.

Naming your child after brands is never a good thing - Chanel, Dior, Manolo may be chic - but on a bogan from Elizabeth, South Australia or Coburg, Victoria, maybe not so much. Then there are the Harley Davidsons, the Jack Daniels and the Bundies to contend with.

(Maybe if I had triplets I could name them Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Hendricks...)

Then there are the associations that you have with names. Everybody has them. It took me a long time to get over the fact that a good friend of mine had the same name as my father. That one was freaky.

Other associations that I have are:

Natalie - carries a briefcase to unversity. Teeth like a horse
Colin - Small man syndrome
Allan - Friend of Colin. Makes the tea
Russell - Not particularly well endowed. Boring but means well - would make a good parking inspector
Andrew - giggle giggle (I had a car named Andrew - names after an ex's wedding tackle which were small but got you where you needed to go)
Dave - Solid. Has lots of pimples on his back
Rebecca - alternative in a good way - looks good in purple - should have been a teenager in the sixties
Yvette - flaky
Yvonne - a little deluded in a cute sort of way
Sam - reliable
Roy - Will be bald by the time he's 30
Amber / Tawny / Ginger - Stripper Names
Teri - takes too many amphetamines
Mike - Plays far too much golf / watches far too much formula one
Gordon - Thunderbird name
Virgil - also a Thunderbird

I could go on. But I won't.

Regardless, my cousin sent me a text to say that his son had been born.

Tristan Alexander

I congratulated my cousin and asked after his wife and Malcolm. I also asked if young Malcolm liked his new brother - which it seems he did.

Better than me. When my sister was born I wanted my Mum to take her back - you see, my sister wasn't black - all the babies I knew about were on Sesame Street - and they were black. Then when my sister was brought home I proceeded to sit on her in her bouncinette.We got off to a good start.

Then asked my cousin if he was hoping his son would be a Knight or an academic and if the latter, did his onesies have leather elbow patches already.

Think I'm off the Christmas Card list once again.


magical_m said...

Oh god, I feel your pain. I have a friend who named her firstborn Oscar and her third child Maia. I have to keep biting my tongue to ask if she's planning on calling the next one Weiner. Also, a former colleague called her daughter Berry. Their surname starts with a B as well. Berry B. Lordy.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

"Has lots of pimples on his back"?????




PM (aka Dave).

P.S. Only kidding ;-)

Jackie K said...

I agree with most of your name associations, although I kind of like the name Malcolm - it's pretty funny on a little kid.
I used to love the name Tristan but it's been very popular over the last few years - over it now.