My name is a product of my mother’s world – the time at which she got married, her religion, her class, her husband and where she lived. A throng of foo-Maries came out of the lower-to -middle-middle class Irish Catholic Northeast in the 50’s and 60’s, and in spite of my birth year, I got a fifties “foo”. Drop the Marie from my full name, and you end up with something that sounds less like a person and more like a media construct – so common, there are, according to a former reporter at CNET, at least three women with that name and spelling in high-tech pr and media relations.
My birthname, also a foo-Marie, had a more distinct path. Sans surname, it’s shared with Elvis’ little lady. With the birth father’s name in place, it is the name of HRC’s pr counsel back in her First Lady days – which gave both my birthmother and me a little chuckle. As dowdy as Janet is, I never saw myself as a Lisa, much less a Lisa Marie, so I left it alone.
Ben came into the world early, and with a list of 19 possible names. Five days later, he was Benjamin, even though his father had vetoed it months before. I wish I could say we’re doing a better job this time around, but no.
The working list we had for some time had only 5 names:
- Lily (H’s choice)
- Julia, then Rosalind (my choice)
It’s heavy on the latin names, because they can be pronounced in Danish and English. Of course, the usual rules apply – ex-lovers and annoying classmates and colleagues have wiped out a slew of perfectly reasonable names. H is beginning to think Maria sounds too religious. I have to explain to him that Lily Frystyk N. sounds to me like the star of the morning shift at a 24-7 German strip club… even if it is the name of his paternal grandmother.
His new test, no doubt inspired by the political season, is what name looks best on a lawn sign. But as someone with one of those names, I’d like to give her a little more than that. And so the list is very long, even though it is populated with names that he has pre-vetoed. (Like Benjamin.)