The Name Game

We know a wonderful couple that live in the City.  They could be poster children for San Francisco chic – handsome, young, urban, successful. Living in the Sunset District, a few blocks from Golden Gate Park, they seem to know every event, restaurant, bar, gallery, and museum. Black clothing predominates their wardrobe – as well as skinny ties and skinny jeans.

And, they have decided to trade it all for diapers, car seats, strollers, and portable playpens.

Yep, they’re pregnant.

They now face the biggest challenge of their marriage. It’s not daycare or whether to breastfeed. Nor is it finding the right pediatrician or where the child will attend school. No, it’s not any of these. Instead, it’s what to name the child.

I speak from experience.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I excitedly offered a few names that I thought would be perfect.

“How about Mary Ann, if it’s a girl?”


“Why not? It’s a lovely name.”

“I don’t like it.”


“I just don’t.”

“That’s not a very helpful response.”

“It was the name of your girlfriend.”

“What? Are you kidding?”

“Well, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it was the name of my girlfriend. My girlfriend in the FIRST GRADE! A person I haven’t seen in twenty years.”

“I don’t care. I know you would be thinking of her whenever you look at our daughter.”

It was then that I discovered that hormones create their own unique form of logic – one inscrutable to husbands.

Using my child’s name to pay homage to my favorite author (“Dylan Thomas”), guitar player (“The Edge”) or rock star (“Springsteen”) were similarly rejected. (On reflection, she was probably right about this.)

Ultimately, we ended up with a more Democratic process. We each prepared our own list of girl and boy names. Then on an appointed evening, we enjoyed a glass of wine, giggled at our good fortune and took turns striking names off the other’s list until just four were left.

Then my wife chose whatever name she wanted.

Hoping to make the process easier for our friends – we will call them “the Bennetts” – I enlisted my family to come up with suggestions.

These include:

Boy Names:  Buck, Finn, Bruce, Busta Rhymes, Oliver, Maverick, Braveheart, Hudson and Hayden.

Girl Names: Samantha, Maddy, Sarah, Maggie, Ciara, Emily, Gaga, Mia, Rachel and Zooey.

Of course, “Mike” is always a great name.

If you’ve got suggestions for “Baby Bennett”, please post them below.


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8 responses to “The Name Game

  1. Damian

    Jens, or Jensette.

  2. john dillon

    How about the name of those lovely pastries in New Orleans, benguies/ Bengays ( spelling). Ergo Bengay Bennet

  3. Pat

    I used codenames for our kids: “Bubba” and “Bubbette”.

    We ended up with better names on birth certificate. 🙂

    Only criteria I had was that the name had to sound good with the title “President” in front of it. (i.e. no horrid nicknames)

  4. Uncle Dick

    Mike, I am going with “Pat” it will work for boy or girl, now where is the wine.

  5. Earl or Erin always seem to be warm and unthreatening, and even make people happy when they hear it. But c’mon Mike, admit that your first kid was named after Digital Equipment Corporation Local Area Network, right? I was there. Maybe your friends should look into that world instead: iKid, eKid, iKin, cloud, Maximus Silicus…

  6. Hayden & Hudson, although great names, are already spoken for 😉

  7. Pam

    Lots of good choices, but here are some names NOT to consider:
    Elementary school kids can be cruel with name games of their own… consider how the name rhymes with undesirable nicknames that could be thrust upon them. For example: Bart and Chuck are scary sing-song playground names! Bart the Fart and Chucker the ______. Don’t go there! ….
    and initials can create innocent disaster scenarios on the playground too…. NUB, FIB, SOB, etc
    Middle names demand equal scrutiny. 🙂
    Good luck to the Bennets! (should probably also skip Tony – too many wise guys out there)

  8. Aunt Rita

    i like names that recall one’s ancestry–ancient names, now unusual next to Mike or Chuck. Try Leonides Nicolas on for size. It has a ring of nobility, after a Greek King of Macdonia and very dignified! If it is a girl, Macedonia, has a similar ring. The baby, regardless of the sex, will be noticed, given his or her magnificent name.

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