Baby #2: Time for a really long list! (boys' edition)
Hello lovely NEs,
I am expecting again, and this will most likely be our last child (if I wanted a third, my husband would need some very, very powerful convincing, and I'm not at all sure that I do anyway). So I want to try and have fun with this naming process, especially since last time it wasn't all that fun due to my husband's stubbornness. I haven't discussed names with him yet and don't plan to until we find out the sex, at which time I will present him with a list of names that he can choose from. If he vetoes all of them, then he gets to come up with his own list--I'm not going to spoon feed him names I don't really like that much anyway like last time.
Since I tend to write novels for posts, I'll focus on boys here and do girls in another post. The objective at this point is to come up with a curated list of about 10–20 names that I would be happy to use, not to narrow it down to one perfect name. First names only for now, though some of these may be in contention for middles down the road.
Our son is Thomas Elliott, and we've gotten a whole lot of compliments on how "literary" and "professorial" his full name sounds. I would like to try and hit the same notes with Kid #2, though I'm not really concerned with choosing a *perfect* match. If I were to put a label on the style of boys' names I like, it would be "The Gentleman-Scholar." Last name is a familiar, one-syllable Anglo-Saxon name starting with R. Rhys is a good stand-in.
Names that currently feel like front-runners to me:
Arthur: I like the old-fashioned, scholarly feel and the mythological associations. Husband may object because he has a college friend named Arthur, though he only goes by Ace.
Theodore: A long-time favorite. The derivation doesn't mean much to me, but I do like the Greek roots. Nicknames Theo or Teddy are both great, though husband will probably veto Teddy as it was the name of a deceased family dog. He'll probably also say that Theo is too close to Leo, my soon-to-arrive nephew, but that doesn't bother me. Theodore will give us two Th- names, which isn't ideal, but I don't think it's a dealbreaker. Since this is probably our last kid, we don't have to worry about a future pattern (and I wouldn't care about breaking it even if we did).
Oliver: Husband will object that this was used by his close college friends. I will respond that he has never met the kid and hasn't even spoken to his friends in a couple years, except maybe brief email or online exchanges that he never mentioned to me. They live about 200 miles away and I doubt they will be a major part of his life going forward. Germanic roots and literary connections are a plus for me.
Julian: This wasn't in contention for our first because Juliet was a frontrunner for a girl, but since it's probably our last kid we can add it in, and I like it a lot. My only small quibble is that I have a first cousin named Giuliano, which is the Italian version of Julian. Our family is pretty close, but he and I aren't, and the pronunciation is different enough (joo-lee-AH-no) that I don't think confusion is an issue... it's more that it would just be kind of weird for me to name a kid after him. Not sure if husband will pick up on the similarity. I would also consider Julius, though I think I like Julian a hair more. Either way, love the Latin roots and historical associations.
Martin: I much prefer the British pronunciation to the American (with the swallowed t), but I like it enough to add it to the list. Plus my stepfather is English, so I'll get to hear the lovely British pronunciation regularly. Another plus for the Latin roots.
Jonathan: This is the "establishment candidate," so to speak: a long-time favorite that's just not super exciting to me anymore. Last time around, husband commented that it's fine but kind of boring (one of the most positive comments I got from him on any name). I'm fine with Jon as a nickname, especially since our Thomas goes by his full name, though I do sometimes think that "Tom and Jon" are a bit similar if Thomas ever decides to switch... thoughts?
Nicholas: This would be mainly a way to get to the nickname Nico; I like the full name, but it's the nickname that I really adore. The main complication here is that Nicholas is also the name of my stepbrother (he goes by Nick). Our parents married when we were already adults, he lives on another continent and I've only met him two or three times in my life, so I don't really see this as a problem (especially since we wouldn't be using Nick), but husband thinks it would be weird and awkward. In my imagination, I would LOVE to use one of the other Latinized Greek Nico- names like Nicodemus, Nicomedes or Nicostratus, but in reality I'm not sure I'm bold enough, and I'm pretty sure husband would veto.
Sebastian: I think in our previous name discussions, husband thought this was too much of a mouthful, but I have some hope that I might be able to talk him around this time, now that he has a bit more experience with the names of the next generation. I would be on board with Bastian for short. Latin roots get a plus, though the place-name derivation doesn't mean much to me.
Names that were formerly frontrunners, but now have issues:
Gabriel: This is probably my favorite boy's name. I love it so much that I used it for the romantic lead of my novel (not yet published, but my agent and I are working on revisions together before trying to sell), and therein lies the problem... not so much that I've used it already (I wouldn't have a problem re-using some of my other character names, which include many of my favorites--Arthur, Theodore, Jonathan), but that this character in particular is very sexualized, and I think it would just be weird for me. It especially doesn't help that my son could very well end up resembling the character, as my husband does (yep, I have a type). And nope, can't change the character's name--he already exists too concretely in my imagination. The book is essentially one of my babies as well :) I think I will probably end up taking this one off the list, sadly.
James: This was my favorite boy's name for years and years... so long that the luster has maybe started to fade for me a little bit. Also not helping that we are in a James pocket, not geographically but socially--my son's best friend at preschool is a James, plus two sets of close friends named their sons James (and all call them the full James), one of which is husband's best friend from college, whom he actually does stay in touch with. I might be ok shrugging it off (and in fact, I already let them know that I love their taste and James was high on my list as well), but husband probably won't want to copycat.
Alexander: There are lots of strikes against actually using this, though I love the name. One is that I'm not really interested in Alex as a nickname--I would want Alec. Unfortunately, husband's first cousin's name is Alec, and while he hasn't been part of our lives until recently, it's looking like he's going to be more involved with our side of the family going forward. Husband will probably think it's weird. There are also many other Alexanders/Alexes in our immediate circle, including the child of close friends, another cousin who lives nearby and other people who we don't necessarily want to name after (including the person who introduced my husband and me and best man at our wedding, which seems like kind of a plus, but he is actually dysfunctional enough that we're not sure we want to name after him). And my sister is using Alexander as her son's middle name, though that's actually the least significant obstacle.
Leopold: This would have been our #1 frontrunner, especially because husband actually LIKES it (!!!) but now it's absolutely off the list, as my sister is pregnant with a boy who will be Leo. I'm just putting it up here for reference purposes.
Other ideas that I'm less sure about:
Simon: I used to like it a lot, but then I used it for a character in my book who turned out to be kind of unlikeable (I didn't mean it that way, he just evolved as I wrote). I could possibly change the character's name, and could try to remediate my self-created associations.
Marcus: I've loved this name for a long time, but I know husband hates it. Will probably put it on the list anyway, but it's not going to happen.
Dominic: This would be another way to get to Nico. The only issue is if he later decides to go by Dom, which is way too close to Thomas/Tom for my comfort... that, and I don't care for the BDSM association. What do you guys think? If we use Nico to start, what's the risk?
Raphael: I love the nicknames Raff and Rafe. Husband won't like the alliteration of Raphael "Rhys".
Edmund: I like it, but I'm not sure I can see myself actually using it. I would like it better with Ted/Teddy as a nickname option, but there is that deceased family dog interfering again (I didn't even like the thing when it was alive, though I'll admit I'm not a dog person).
Graham: A bit surname-y for my usual tastes, but I am fond of this one.
Percival: I love it in theory, but in reality I worry about it being a little too milquetoast... plus, we'd then have Thomas and Percy. My son loves the trains, so I guess that could be ok, just seems a little kitschy to me.
Gilbert: The name of the romantic hero in a book that I really love, and I find Gil as a nickname quite charming. It's definitely pushing the funky-clunky boundary of my style, though. I think husband would probably veto it.
Lucas: Husband vetoed this last time, but I can't remember why--it may have a shot. It used to be one of my favorites, but I'm not as enthusiastic now as previously.
I think the list above gives a pretty good representation of my style, but for further guidance, I'm most interested in names with a long history of use as given names, bonus points for Latin, Greek, Germanic or Old English origin and for literary associations. I lean away from Old Testament revival style names (Elijah, Ezra, etc.), the conspicuously Celtic style, surnames and creative names. Ideally, I would like traditional with some spice, as classic with our last name can starts to read very white bread generic, but since we went very classic with Thomas, that's clearly not a dealbreaker.
Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? If you were to pick another 3-5 names in the same style to add to the list, what would they be? If you had to narrow it down to ten, which would make the cut?
Thu, 09/22/2016 - 1:00pm