(Note, just because I said I was planning on writing something every day in December, it did not, of course, mean that I was going to be near a computer every day in December. On the contrary, I spent the weekend in a lovely 16th Century Landmark Trust cottage with much of my family, eating too much in an early-Christmas kind of way. With no internet. So I am catching up. Anyway, its nice when you get to open several advent calendar windows in a row, right? More chocolate.)
The first piece of advice we were given by any friend or family member, on hearing we were having a baby was this:
Do not tell anyone the name you are planning to give the baby. Or even the shortlist of names. They will ruin it for you. They will say Oh. Really?!? like youve told them that youre thinking of marrying a goat, or say Oh! I had a maths teacher called that. I hated him. And he turned out to be an arsonist who killed fifteen people. or they will just say Gosh. What a name. while wrinkling their nose like theyd just smelled something awful. Tell no one. Not even family. Keep it to yourself until after the child is born and has actually been given the name. Then they cant say anything.
Which is partly bollocks, of course. As far as I can tell, the child being born and actually having the name will be no impediment at all to people stating their opinion. Some people will just state it anyway, because it is what people feel the need to do once you procreate. I understand that. But the rest of that advice: good. It makes sense.
It is what we have been doing.
We have, dear reader, a list.
It is a good list. It is a slightly long list, as it contains about a dozen names that we both like.
It was slightly easier before we knew what sex Doozer is. There was a short list of girls names – only about three – that we both agreed on, and liked one of those ten times more than the other two (Im not revealing what those are, obviously. Not until I know I will never have a girl ever. Because otherwise, someone will ruin it for me).
But Doozer is a boy. Indubitably, they tell us, a little male person.
And so weve made a list of male names that we like, and that fit within our strict made-up rules and guidelines.
And Im not telling you what those are, either, although they include:
*Nothing that you need to spell out for people every time you tell them your name.
*Nothing that too obviously claims a romantic or exotic heritage that we cant really claim.
*Nothing in a top ten list of fashionable names.
*Nothing that makes the boys surname sound any more like a euphemism than it already does.
That last one needs a little unpacking, possibly.
We dont share a surname, My Beloved and I. The reason (not being married to each other) is simple. Although that was, bless them, the first question that one good friend asked on hearing the news, even before saying congratulations:
Friend: WOW! A baby! So are you getting married asap?
Me: No. Because were not hillbillies.
So after much debate – and some convoluted stuff involving My Beloved trying to argue that he is The last of his line (doubtful: hes called Johnson. Its not exactly a dying name), and since theres no point both of us changing our names to a shared other name (wed never use it, since both of us trade on our names anyway, same as if we got married) we have currently settled on the fact that Pickard will be a middle name, Johnson the last one.
But Johnson is a slang term for penis, in some parts of the world. So nothing that makes that any more obvious, or rude, can be used. Hugh Johnson sounds too much like Huge, for example. Someone told me that colour names were in, but Brown Johnson is bad, and Green Johnson is even worse. Randy, out. Woody, out. Not that these were ever strictly in the running, but still, its frustrating to have your options limited. Epic, is also out, although it is still a name worth considering, so if your surname ISNT a euphemism for a penis, you can have that one for free.
Still, Epic is still on the list of names that I give people when they first ask what were planning on naming our child. It is a good list. It is a list that I like to see how far I can get through before they stop nodding politely and say Youre kidding, right? RIGHT?
The names Anna and Her Beloved are TOTALLY SERIOUSLY considering for their progeny:
3) Olympic (to mark the Olympics, you see. Its topical)
6) David Cameron.
Although if any of you HAVE chosen these names for your children, let me congratulate you. Theyre very special. Gosh, what a name.