Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What's in a name?

Damn. Dude. You guys are the shiznit. There have been some really amazing suggestions. I'm totally impressed by all the thought and effort you put in. Thanks SO much. There are 52 suggestions in the comments box of the last post. That is AWESOME.

I really debated whether or not to go through and list them all and what I liked or didn't like about each of them, or to just pull out a couple of my favs to discuss. I'm concerned that listing them all and scratching them off for various reasons might seem critical, but I'm going to do it anyway because i want you to know that I looked at and seriously thought about each one before passing or failing it. Granted, most of them got scratched, but I suppose that's to be expected. It is rather a big deal after all, isn't it?

I told you all to be creative, and were you ever! Unforntunately, I had to nix a lot of suggestions because they were just too unpronounceable. Pronounceability wasn't one of my original criteria, but maybe it should have been. The Pronounceability factor killed off

Sclymgeour (sorry FN)
Clytemnestra (that, and it does sound like an STD. or possibly a medication for one. "Clytemnestra! Brought to you by Pfizer!" Nope, not going there.)

Then there was the credibility issue. I'm sure you probably thought that I'd really dig a name associated with medieval literature, and you're right, but it's becuase of my obsession with all things medieval that I need to be able to show my face at conventions of medievalists. I really can't show up with a name like Guenevere (or any variation thereof) or Cressida. Seriously. So credibility killed:

Nimue (that, and I really couldn't stand her character in MoA. manipulative little shrew.)
Morgan (and it's the name of my best friend's dog)
Dido (not medieval, but a pop star, which is even worse.)

Then there are the scads of random, bad associations:

Mira (Sorvino)
Hebe (too close to Herebe. No that you're a bad association, dear, I just don't want to name myself after your web ID. I'm sure you understand.)
Kalliope (pronounced "ka LY o pee," besides breakeing the no ee rule, this is also the name of an organ-like musical instrument played at circuses. My former next-door neighbors used to have one in their garage (it was too big for the house) and drive the neighborhood nuts with it.)
Kleio (a goldfish by any other name is still a goldfish.)
Devi (too close to devil)
Alex (too common)
Lea/Leia (too Star Wars. I love Star Wars, to the degree that I was totally obsessed with it for many years. I would never be able to convince my family that I wasn't trying to re-name myself after a movie character, albeit a kick-ass one.)
Scout (cute for wearing on weekends, but not for everyday wear)
Rowan (Atkinson)
Terrwyn (just don't like the way it sounds)
Morwenna (more what now?)
Branwen (cereal. "Branwen: part of this complete breakfast!")
Asta (a giant grocery store owned by Walmart, who are evil fuckers.)
Bloddwydd (too many ds)
Tallulah (no)
Kyrie (I was raised Catholic. I've sung way too many kyries to think of the word in any context besides the Mass.)
Yamal (my reason for disliking this one is completely racist. I'm very sorry. But it just sounds too... oh god, I can't even say it. too... black.)
Electra (I don't want to name myself after a creepy pyschological complex, thank you.)
Phaedra (another medication. "Phaedra may have some side effects, including drymouth, vomiting, and heart failure. Consult your doctor before taking Phaedra.")
Alison (too common)
Rhiannon (I know one)

That leaves:

Field, and
Dagny (violates the ee rule, but I havn't read The Fountainhead yet, so I'm leaving it on for the time being)

*astericks indicate the ones I especially like. I think Maris and Mara might be real possibilities. There are two more which I'm seriously considering that I came up with a while ago. They are:

Margot, and

Maris might be a little too close to my mom's name, Mary, but I'm not sure yet. Mara also happens to be a Star Wars character, but a much lesser known one. (And a much cooler one, incidently.) But if I went with that, it wouldn't be for the SW association, which isn't a strong connection in my mind. Margot is nice. Different, unusual, but not crazy. I like it. I think maybe it suits me. Onela is one of my favorite names of all time, but I'm afraid I might have to nix it on account of the credibility factor. It's an Anglo-Saxon name, male (not that that matters), but the only known appearance of the name is in Beowulf. Onela was a king of the Swedes. Any medievalist would know that.

There seems to be a trend emerging, anyway, and that is helpful. I definately seem to be gravitating toward 'M' names. Perhaps because my surname begins with 'M' those names sound more comfortable, less alien, in my mind's ear.

So anyway, go ahead and leave your comments regarding the finalists, or suggest a few more names, now that you have a better sense of what appeals. I hope you're finding this at least somewhat entertaining.

Whoo-hoo, interactive blogging!

To be honest, I'm not even entirely sure that if I settle on something I really like that I'll go through with it. It would be an incredibly arduous process. The paperwork alone would be hell, what with my passport and visa and all. But that would be nothing compared to asking everyone I know to suddenly start addressing me by a different name.

I really wish I had thought of this before I came to Bristol. It would have been much easier, at least on this bit of dirt, to just introduce myself as Mara. Or Margot. or whatever. Too late now. Oh well.

On the other hand, I've never not done something I wanted to do just because it looked difficult or frustrating, so maybe i still have some internal doubts. It'll just take some time to sort out in my head.

That said, you've all be really terrific about this. I can't wait to read your thoughts.


Timorous Beastie said...

Margot has associations for me with a terribly posh home counties character from a 1970's TV series. It sounds old fashioned and stuffy.

Maris runs the risk of people saying " in piper?" and making potato head, Spud-U-like gags.

It has to be Mara. As you said, she was both a cool character and not a very famous one, so you can feign ignorance if someone accuses you of having Jedi as your offical religion. What's more, it's easy to say for all nationalities, and it's unpretentious but still sounds a little exotic.

First Nations said...

margot, maris and mara sound good to me.

i cannot understand why you shot down scylmgeour. dammit, i've got to name SOMETHING scylmgeour.

hendrix said...

I really like Margot although TB's right about the sitcom association - Margot Ledbetter as played by Penelope Keith in the Good Life. Lousy series (bloody Felicity Kendall and Richard Briers) but she was the best thing in it. To balance that though you have la Reine Margot and also Margot Fontaine

Maris - with TB on the spuds point and it does sound a little "mills and boon" madeup name as well.

Mara. No. Just don't like it - sorry. Doesn't seem to be either one thing or another.

Onela - Never heard it before, which isn't a bad thing. Are you pronouncing it "oh-nella" or "one-la" and whichever way you pronounce it can you live with people constantly pronouncing it the other way? This is not a stupid question - everyone pronounces my name wrong and it gets really really annoying.

Una - Una Stubbs - annoying woman.

Would not like to be you deciding this one. Can you not give yourself several names. In for a penny, in for a pound!

Anyway whatever name you decide on - we'll all love you anyway!! Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

So after some time trawling through names I wouldn't give my pets I've come up with the following short list.

Esther, Erica, Maia and Tamsin.

I shall keep thinking of course. - B

Hannah said...

Maiya and Mara are definitely the best, although the latter says African plain to me. Though maybe that's what you're after, I dunno.

Not Margot, unless you're actually approaching 86.

Molly Bloom said...

I agree about the Maris - too much potato in that one.

Mara is alright. I don't think Margot suits you at all.

You definitely like your 'M' names.

What about something new and better. Something like:








Or have you thought about:




Anonymous said...

isn't maris the name of the ex-wife we never saw of niles crane?

Anonymous said...

sorry terrible phrasing: it should be "isn't maris the name of niles crane's ex-wife?"

hendrix said...

No, that was Lilith (which is also a name I like - I better hurry up and have kids so that I can use them all at this rate not only will I need to have about 8 daughters but they're going to have about 5 names each).

Anyway, I reckon to go with your surname you need a two syllable name that ends in quite a hard vowel sound otherwise it all runs into the same word. Not that this info will make your choice any easier but I thought I'd mention it.

ZB said...


WOrks for me.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

New does not mean better. You didn't read the thing about not ending in the sound ee, did you?
Minka: small animal raised for pelts
Mary-Lou: redneck slut in Daisy Duke shorts
Mint: something you eat with lamb
but thanks for trying all the same.

Yes, Maris was the name of Niles' ex. Lilith was Fraser Crane's ex, from the sitcom 'Cheers,' of which 'Frasier' was a spin-off.

I've noticed there aren't a lot of female names that end in a hard vowel. Probably the influence of Latin and the romance languages, where feminine forms generally end in a or i.

hendrix said...

...and therein ends my run at being good at useless sitcom trivia!

Anyway have you decided yet? The world (or at least the important bit - ie us your readers) need to know!

laura misch said...

actually, maris in latin is pronounced maud-eeze no pause in between

my daughter's name is DeMaris and my mom often calls her Maras - maud-auz - we call her Maris like above - not mare-iss

they're both precious feminine names to me

just fyi, demaris is greek ad latin and means baby calf or gentle, easily tamed, and also has biblical reference; she was a highly educated woman converted by paul to christianity ...

good luck deciding, if you haven't already :)