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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Baby names that sounded good at first ... until they didn't

I blogged last week about one of the challenges we're facing with this pregnancy, which is how much harder it is to name a second kid than a first kid.

The name needs to be different enough from Kid #1 that people can easily remember whose name is whose. It needs to be a name appropriate for a second child, who I imagine being more creative and less responsibly uptight than Kid #1 (because birth order stereotypes are completely true).

And ... well ... I kind of want something a little bit more fun for this one, know what I mean? Not 'fun' like all the ridiculous names I've made fun of in the past, but fun like ... generationally appropriate, I guess. Just something ever-so-slightly off the beaten path, enough that it will stand out as a very different name than Audrey's.

And so, with that in mind, here are some names that totally sounded cool for a second ... until I realized that they were RIDICULOUS and there was no way I could possibly name my child that:

Female: Conifer

At first: The mental image this conjures is really strong and awesome. Conifer, the big tall eternal trees, living in the forest and reaching forever for the sky. Strong, solid, beautiful. What more could you want from a name?

Behold, the beautiful conifer forest!

But then: Uhhh ... it kinda sounds like you don't understand how to spell or pronounce "Jennifer." And especially combined with our last name, it sounds like we were trying to make an anagram for "Jennifer Connelly." I mean, granted, Jennifer Connelly is beautiful and I'd love to capture her essence in a baby name, but ... yeah, no. Not naming our kid "Conifer."

"Jennifer Connelly"

"Conifer Flennily"
(Also, Flennily is not our last name but you get the idea. Also also, I am sorry for doing this and I do regret it.)

A swing, and a miss.

Male: Kevlar

At first: What a kickass name!!! It starts off with a hard KAH sound, which is already awesome because KAH is how words like KICK and KILL start and I like the idea of having a son with a name that makes you cower a little bit. And the rest of the name just gets better! It's like someone took the name "Kevin" and fed it steroids until it ripped its shirt off and punched a baby. KEVLAR DOESN'T TAKE SHIT FROM ANYBODY!!!

But then: Kevlar is a registered trademark for an ultra-strong bullet-stopping fabric made by DuPont. It's a f***ing brand name. Might as well name the kid Kleenex. Well, except there's nothing badass about Kleenex. Okay, might as well name the kid ... Smith & Wesson. Or Blackhawk.

Holy shit Blackhawk sounds like the coolest name.

Or wait! APACHE!!!


Wait, no. Stop. I need to stop.

Female: Skylark

At first: Skylar is a name that already exists and is already pretty popular. Add that k to the end, and now you've got something just the slightest bit more original, but even lovelier. Skylark is a bird's name, and it sounds like a bird with a beautiful song who flits about in the open sky, wild and free. It sounds like a super good name, basically.

This looks like the kind of place where "Skylark" would hang out

But then: This is what a Skylark looks like:


Male: Graphite

At first: It's a bit like Graham, which is a fine, studious-sounding name. But it's also a bit harder, with that -ite at the end, like a geological formation. Meteorite. Dragonite. Graphite. If you say the word out loud rather than looking at it written down, it totally sounds like it could be a cool man's name.

And he's gonna Gra-FIGHT YOU TO THE DEATH

But then: Ugh. The "ph" kills it ... plus, you know, the fact that pencil lead is made of graphite and pencils are like pens' impotent little brothers. Pencils can be erased. Pencils smear. They wear down and need to be sharpened constantly.

Ah f*** this picture makes me so angry.
Plus, imagine this photo as a human male. Ah god, he'd be the kind of guy who always asks in a really whiny voice if he can borrow your stuff.

No Graphite for me.

Female: Whisper

At first: "Whisper" is just such an awesome word. It's beautiful and it's full of sounds I love. Wind whispering through the willows. Wandering through the woods hearing the whisper of the trees. Whisper.

I did an image search for "whispering wind" and this was the first result. And it is beautiful.

But then: The meaning. It's no good. Whispering is what you do when you don't want anyone to hear you. What you do when you're afraid. You describe someone as a "wisp" when they're nearly starved, so thin and frail you could knock them over just by looking at them. "Whisper", for all its beauty, suggests weakness.

And it suggests it very, very quietly, so as not to bother anyone or make a scene.

But, like ... whispered.

No daughter of mine will be a Whisper. Hell no.

Male: Codek

At first: Ugh, I almost love this one too. It's full of good, strong sounds. It feels good to say. Codek. All those KAH sounds! Codek is not someone you can ignore! You have to take the time to really finish saying the name -- there's no breezing through it. There's always going to be a built-in pause before the next word is spoken, because hitting that final K and finishing it up takes just an extra fraction of a second. Just try it out. Codek. Codek. That extra fraction of a second makes Codek hard to forget.

But then: "Codek" is just "codec" misspelled. The word "codec" is a portmanteau of coder-decoder, and is a device or computer program used to encode and decode digital data. It's a computer thing, not a name for a human. And if I named my kid after a computer thing I hardly understand, someday he's going to hate me. Imagine an adult named "Pentium" because their parents thought it sounded cool the first time they heard it, and didn't realize that word was going to become a big thing later on. It would be impossible to take that person seriously.

But if he gets a girlfriend named Intel ... I dunno, it might be worth it just for the jokes.

Nope nope nope. Codek will just have to wait until we get a dog or something.

I bet this guy could pull it off.

So, in conclusion, I have no idea what to name my kid because all the awesome names I come up with turn out to be absolute shit. WHY IS THIS SO HARD.

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