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(Emily Flake for The Globe and Mail)
(Emily Flake for The Globe and Mail)

Facts & Arguments Essay

We don't know what to name our third son Add to ...

"What about Scott?" I ask him. There is a desperate pleading in my voice.

I lean forward, thinking that perhaps the weight of my pregnant belly on his arm will make him realize that this child is coming and we do need to fulfill our parental duties and provide our son with a name. I'd settle for one name. Forget the middle name.

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"Nope." Just like that his retort is simple and dismissive.

"Why? What's wrong with Scott?" I am whining like my three-year-old. I am getting frustrated. I have suggested close to 30 names and all of them have been vetoed. Too long. Too effeminate. Too weird. Too old-sounding.

At least these are reasons. Some of the suggestions are met with scoffs, eyeball rolling or a list of possible torments that school-aged children could use to inflict a lifetime of name shame upon our son.

"I knew someone in the second grade named Scott. I didn't like him." I can't tell if my husband is being serious.

"You are dismissing a name because you knew someone in the second grade, 25 years ago, that you didn't like? That's ridiculous. If you apply that logic to every name, we'd never come up with anything."

I don't let on that I have a secret list of names that I won't be bringing up because they remind me of a chronic nose-picker or an obnoxious hockey jock.



George is my grandfather's name but put it with Jones and you get George Jones. Why not cry another tear in your beer? Same goes for Tom Jones.


When I was growing up I was not the type to doodle the names of my unborn children on my three-ring binder. While dating we weren't the kind of couple who whispered the names of our future bundles of joy. Now I wish we had done just that. Instead, I find myself thumbing through baby-name books while in the bath, calling out the occasional find only to be met with a curt "no."

There are factors worth noting that make naming our third son, due in early September, so arduous. First off, we already have two boys, Jack and Sam. We have used up two names that we agreed upon. They were our picks when I was pregnant the first time with Jack, so when we had a second son we knew which name we liked.

Secondly, this will be my in-laws' sixth grandson. That means 10 potentially good first and middle names are out of contention.

Some people disagree with this logic and tell us it is okay to have multiples of one name in a family. I know this is possible and family members grow up with nicknames or using their initials to differentiate themselves. I grew up in a Greek family and was surrounded by my fair share of variations of Angela and John. But what I don't want is at the family barbecue someone to call the name Nick and 13 people look over.

Thirdly, when you have the last name Jones it is nearly impossible to not think of a famous, or in some cases infamous, person with the same name. My husband loves the name James. I like it - without the Jones. Add James to Jones and you get James Jones. Jimmy Jones. And any time anyone makes a reference to "drinking the Kool-Aid," I will cringe.

George is my grandfather's name but put it with Jones and you get George Jones. Why not cry another tear in your beer? Same goes for Tom Jones. No mother wants to think of panty throwing when they hear their son's name. The list goes on.

As it is, anyone who is over the age of 50 is quick to comment upon meeting Jack, "Oh, Jack Jones! He sang the theme to The Love Boat!" It's pointless to tell them that The Love Boat was well before my TV time.

It doesn't stop there. Anyone who is under the age of 50 who has been to Europe is even quicker to say upon meeting Jack, "Oh, Jack Jones! Like the cheap men's clothing store." It's like having a daughter named Suzy Shier.

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In a last-ditch effort to find the perfect name, I asked my two- and three-year-old sons what names they like for a baby brother. The two-year-old stared blankly and said what any two-year-old would say: "Baby."

My three-year-old took some time to ponder this request. After careful consideration, he beamed with pride and announced that "Helicopter" would be a fine choice. Sure it would. If my husband and I resided on a remote commune or were indie movie stars with other children named Inspektor or Sacred Chalice.

And so the countdown continues. We have days remaining to agree on a name that is neither too long, too short, too effeminate, too old-fashioned sounding but not too modern, that is not a former boyfriend or one that conjures images of a nose-picker and that works with the last name Jones. That should be easy enough.

Beth-Anne Jones lives in Toronto.

 

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