Rachel’s back from Hawaii

Lainey Posted by Lainey at December 19, 2013 16:58:15 December 19, 2013 16:58:15

Hi Duana,

I'm not writing on behalf of myself as I'm not pregnant, but as the sister-in-law to the mom to be. Long story short, my SIL had a name picked out from childhood that she would use if she had a little girl one day. Unfortunately, her cousin is a few months further ahead in her pregnancy and jacked the name even though everyone was aware of "T" planning to use it. They don't know if they're having a boy or a girl.

The requirements for naming future demon spawn is as follows: We're Jewish and you're supposed to name after a deceased relative you were fond of, so we're working with the first letter's of Roslyn, Bessie, Lillian, and an E name I can't remember. T's requirements for the name is that it's something classic. Something simple like Grace and Jane or even the dreaded Emma, but not as ubiquitous as either of those names. My brother's requirements are that it passes George Carlin's Bit of Guy's named Todd. He's not down with names like Blake, Blair, Blayne, Brent, Brad, or Kyle, etc etc. He is down with boys who sound like they could kick your ass on the playground. Might have to do with the fact that he has always hated his name.

Names we threw out that got a no: Leigh, Leah, Louisa, Reade, Ryan, Leo, Luke, Logan, Reggie, Rhett, Ricky, Lorella, Lucy, Bertie, Barney, Benjamin, Billy, Evan, Elaine, Eddie, Edie, Elodie, Emily, Emmeline, Lavinia (We were joking), Riley, Robin, Ron, Remy, Roberta, Rob, Rebecca, Ralphanita, Brunhilda, Brigid, etc, etc. You get the idea, she seemed not to like names that could be either for a boy or a girl. While I feel like the current name craze means I should break out my copies of Georgette Heyer or go to the historical romance section of the book store and just read off character's, I really don't think they're down with names such as Evelyn, and Ella, and everything else that is quite so (in our minds) twee.

When it comes to naming, they're not really going for names that have a direct Hebrew translation such as Liat, Leora, Rona, or Rivka, even though those are beautiful names. I don't think they want something that 30 years from now they look back on and realize it was during a phase of names where everything old was new again. There are a few names that are eliminated just because there's already a family member alive named that: Bennett, Beau, Lauren, Barry, Eli, Edith, Rachael, Louis, Ruth. Our last name is in my email address, (rhymes with human), so there should be a little flow. Luca - - man doesn't really work.

I hope that's not way too many no's and leaves you with nothing, and I appreciate all of your help.


You know, usually I can read articles like these and say to myself ‘oh, they’re just circling around the name they want to use without using it’, or ‘the name they actually want here is Lorelei, but someone has a mental block about it’. 

I don’t get that feeling here, maybe partly because you didn’t tell me what name it was that was hijacked (which is a choice I agree with). But – if the name is gone, it’s gone. It’s not coming back. I know the feeling of thinking you’ve scoured all the names and nothing is good enough, but ultimately your sister-in-law is going to have to choose something, and using an honour name means her options are limited, and I guess I’m wondering whether there is a name, at all, that could fit her requirements. So while usually I provide up to a dozen names trying to find the right fit, I’m only doing one for each letter, per gender, here – not to be stingy, but because I think an objective person’s opinions that don’t include names that have been rejected ought to at least be a starting point for discussion. 

So. Short and classic but not soft or ‘Todd’, including none of the names that have been previously rejected:

Lionel – This has a sound that’s current but not as trendy as Leo, and there are nicknames aplenty. I would use this name myself in a heartbeat.

Lana – I guess this could fall under the ‘not commonly used’ thread, but it’s not an old lady name, and it definitely has style and grace to spare while not being Emma.  It’s a secret Emma.

Ramona – I want anyone who references the Beverly Cleary books as a reason why not to use this name to quit it immediately. First of all, that’s a reason for, not against, and second of all, is a book named Ramona the Pest really enough to put you off this altogether? Seems nonsensical. It’s a great name, it’s underused but very easy to understand.

Ross or Reese – I know, I said I wouldn’t offer more than one name, but I like each of these for similar reasons. They’re firm, they’re one syllable, they’re not ‘on-trend’. I think Ross is the harsher of the two, which is probably partly why I prefer Reese slightly (but I don’t know if it’s too ‘Todd’).

Bay – Okay, this is a long shot, but I love the character named Bay on Switched at Birth. that is, I love the character, and I also love that that’s her name. When have you heard this before, ever? You haven’t and it’s refreshing and simple and lovely. I know I’m the same person who has sniffed at Meadow or Angel or Hawk, but I guess that’s the power of suggestion of a name on a great person. 

Bartholomew  – This one is tough, I’ll admit, but I think the key here if you don’t want a name like Billy is to go with something a little less simple. Bart is another name that suffers from comparisons, but that kind of masks the fact that it’s a really great name that makes you smile when you hear it. I think of Bart as curly-haired, on the playground, giving speeches as he gets everyone to play what he wants to play.  It’s a powerful name.

Ezra – This name to me is one of those unicorns that should feel strange or unusual, because the sounds aren’t super common in English names, but it isn’t. It’s Ezra, an uncommon but appreciated name that sets the wearer just a little apart, but not all the way in left field. I love it.

Eva – This name is so, so great, and it’s so familiar to everyone. There are, of course, weighted implications about the name, particularly in terms of being a biblical reference but it’s still a name that packs a surprising amount of punch for something that is quite literally three letters long. I am usually hard-pressed to find a reason why not to use or suggest it, instead of why to do so.

So yes, I just sent only eight names, two per letter, and there’s every possibility that I didn’t get the one that’s going to be THE ONE. But I gotta remind your sister-in-law and brother that there are many names and there’s a way to find something wrong with each of them. Ultimately they should try to find something they love, instead of longing for the name that they miss.

(Also what’s your brother’s name that he hates so much?)

I hope this scores you points! Let me know!

Diabolik /AKM-GSI /Splash News

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