My last name is Conley. My first great name for our child was Donley. Donley Conley. Unisex, rolls off the tongue, right? Wife said it was too “dog-like.” Fine. Actually, Donley was my backup. It was time to bust out the big gun. Wait for it…Genghis! Genghis Conley. Man, this wasn’t going to be easy.
Once upon a time in the B.C. (Before Child) days, I gave my seat to a pregnant woman on a bus. We struck up a casual conversation, naturally about babies. Do you know the sex? Yes? Oh, have you thought about names? Screeching brakes. Followed by crickets. Did I miss something?
It wasn’t until my wife was pregnant with our first that I finally got it. People started asking us about baby names and I’d kind of give them an “Oh, stop it” slap on the back. Next topic. Hey, my baby’s hypothetical name now requires a security clearance on-par with the Kennedy assassination files and Area 51. And I’m sorry, you don’t seem to have the proper credentials.
Oh, we’re just insecure. We’re embarrassed to tell you how much time we spent poring over books, websites and family trees coming up with it. And we’re afraid you’ll say something to quash our darling moniker, or worse yet—say nothing. We’re just not ready for that kind of rejection, okay?
Naming a whole person is a big responsibility. I guess that’s why we get so uppity about it. We had a much easier time coming up with funny names than real ones. So many potential contenders were rejected based on associations or ties to people we know (or would like to know). Hardly fair or democratic, but sorry, names—this is a zero-sum game.
Even more names were shot down for rating too high on the Garbage Pail Kid scale. My wife likes the name Lucas. Lucas Pukus. Leukoplakia. Lucas Mucous. Hey, life’s hard enough without a soft name. I countered with Hercules, Zeus and, my favorite, Xerxes. No discussion, straight to the reject pile.
So I’m going against the grain this time. That’s where you come in. Instead of telling no one, I shall tell everyone! I’m a man of extremes, what can I say? Also, I feel like you usually get the best feedback from people you’ve just met. So my name is Josh. Nice to meet you. Now kindly name my baby.
We’re not learning the sex of our child—how many huge surprises in life do you get like that? But that makes the list twice as long. Please let us know what you think—write-ins are welcome…
Sophie (or Sophia)