Have you ever been at the park playing with your kids when some mom yells out something like, “Tutu! Come here!” And you think to yourself, “what the hell is that kid’s name? How could she give that poor kid such a stupid name?”
It’s a problem that’s plaguing our country. Parents are getting too cutesy and saddling kids with names that will haunt them forever. We all remember those jackasses that named their son Adolf Hitler last year.
All of us were handed a name that we had no control over. I hated my name as a kid and wanted to legally change it to Joe—after G.I. Joe. I had every intention of doing so on my 18th birthday, until my G.I. Joe’s “eagle eye vision” went. Then I moved on.
Foxy Wife and I named three kids and developed rules until we had a foolproof system. It wasn’t pretty—there was a lot of “working through” (Latin for arguing) what names meant to us. Let me begin by saying that it’s way easier to name a girl than a boy. There are so many girls’ names out there that are nice, pretty, and just flat out work. There’s also less room for error. On the other hand, it can be easier to find a strip club in Afghanistan than finding the perfect name for Junior.
Naming your new baby is one of the most important things you will ever do, so here are the foolproof rules to finding a name that anyone would be proud of:
1. Your first duty as a father of a boy is to make sure you don’t give him a name that will result in daily beatings on the playground. Your wife won’t understand this quite like you will, because she never got her underpants pulled over her head while waiting to play tether-ball. This is a rule you cannot budge on. Names that can go either way are out, as are ones that were popular in the ’60s like Reuben, Eugene, or Stanley.
And try not to choose a name that rhymes with the following words: poop, fart, girl, or asshat. You want your boy’s name to be masculine, and something he can be proud of. Remember, he’s going to carry it around with him forever; it means more than what looks nice on a birth announcement.
2. The name you choose has to work when the kid is a baby, a teenager, and an adult. To get an idea, think of what the name will look like on a baby announcement, a high school football program (or girls basketball), and a business card. This helps eliminate anything too cutesy or dated.
3. Don’t set a deadline. You have eight months and thirty days (give or take a few) to find a name. Don’t rush it, it’ll only add stress to the situation.
4. Don’t go with the most popular names list. This is personal preference, but I never liked using a name that was in the top 10. I think it can rob a kid of his individuality when the teacher calls his name and five of them answer. Of course this backfired on my name, because the only other boys named Craig in my school were fat, had red hair, and ate paste. Hell of a group.
5. Think of who you both dated and eliminate those names. You don’t want to go through life with your son’s name being the same as the guy your wife dated in college who had more money, was better looking, and had bitchin’ chest hair. On the flip side, you don’t want to choose the same name for your daughter as some one-night stand you had behind a Honey Bucket after a Blind Melon concert in ’91. You’ll be shocked at how many names this eliminates. Be brutally honest on this one.
6. The name you choose has to go with your last name. While Peter isn’t a bad name, we would have ruined our kid’s life by naming him Peter Playstead. He would spit all over anyone who asked him his name.
7. Don’t tell family members. I was never very good at this because I didn’t really care what they thought. However, if you have some strong willed people in your family, this conversation can be a nightmare. You don’t want to get in a holy war with Uncle Earl because he hates the name Brad. How would you know that some son of a bitch named Brad once screwed him out of $7 on a Packer game in 1974. Keep it to yourself, or only choose one or two that can keep a secret.
8. Look at initials. You don’t want to name your daughter Annie Stephanie Swanson and give her the initials ASS—just like Peter Playstead would have been PP.
There’s a lot to consider here, and you don’t want to make a major mistake. Just take it easy, use common sense, and make sure Adolf is off the board.