My maiden name was a five letter, very simple, never mispronounced cinch of a name. It had an “s” at the end that sometimes got left off but, for the most part, it was straight-forward and I liked it. It fit with my equally simple first name. Unfortunately for me, I fell in love with and married a man with a last name that is always mispronounced and even more often mis-spelled (well, I mean of course it was actually quite fortunate that I fell in love with and married him. But, you know what I meant, right? Anyhoo.) I took his name, of course. And yes, I do say of course because I personally believed strongly in taking a man’s last name in marriage. It’s my opinion, no doubt, but I think that unless you have achieved something tied to your maiden name (i.e. published a best-selling novel, become an Oscar-winning actor, solved world hunger) or maybe unless your husband’s name is just really, really, really terrible then it’s just confusing the matter not to take your husband’s name. Particularly if you plan on having kids down the line. Sure, I recognize that I have a number of readers (hello, B and hello, D and maybe hello, others) who will completely disagree with this philosophy. To each her own. But, unless my husband’s last name was the exact same as my first name (and that would be kind of freaky, eh?), then his last name was going to become my own. And I would (and I do) carry it with pride.
Where was I going with this? (look! a chicken!) Yeah, so I gained a difficult last name at marriage. Difficult last name paired with the fact that my husband and I both come from pretty traditional families resulted in complete marital accord on the subject of our children’s names. We agreed that we would not saddle our children with names that would add insult to the injury of an already challenging last name. Their first names would be straight-forward, easy-to-spell, easy-to-pronounce and traditional. Our boys carry first names that were familiar in the 1800′s and will again be familiar in the 2100′s. Oddly, though, neither of them have a single classmate that shares their name. Today, it seems more likely that young Quinn will have a duplicate friend than Robert or Ted or Mike.
And, while there are definitely unusual names that I hear and say to myself Wow, what a beautiful name or I wonder how they came up with that, I also immediately want to know what the child’s last name is. Because while Sienna is a lovely name for a little girl, I just don’t think it works if her last name is Schlesinger. And while Jayden and Aiden are fine names for a little boy, it’s lousy for him if he has to follow it up with Dombrovsky. Know what I mean?
Mr. George Carlin (may he rest in peace) did a great bit about the wussification of boys’ names. Unfortunately, it picks on the name “Todd” which I actually like but it’s a pretty funny routine so here you go.
(Warning: some graphic language. But, I mean, it’s Carlin. What else would you expect?)