Last night a long discussion unfolded on my wife’s Facebook page. The origin of the discussion was this video that showed, in rapid succession, the impoliteness with which society regards pregnant women vis-à-vis “Hey let’s just ask you whatever bluntly personal shit that pops into my brain” style of questioning people feel entitled to ask.
As the expectant father, I get a mere fraction of these questions, but still stand agog when I consider how common courtesy and social convention seems to go out the window when it comes to a woman’s pregnancy. Pregnancy seems to be part of the public domain in ways other parts of our lives clearly are not, and it’s extremely disorienting.
One of the seemingly innocuous questions people ask is, “Have you picked out a name?” And on its surface, this is an innocuous question. But it always sort of astounds me when someone has an answer for this well in advance of the date. It’s by no means wrong, I just can’t function that way. This is naming a PERSON. A person! Kind of a lot of responsibility there, don’t ya think? And people will ask you this question with the same intonation as they do when they ask you if they can borrow your 3-hole punch.
Here’s the truth: We have a handful of names that we like, but we’ve not sat down and had the litigation session about it (which is overstating, because we’re both mellow and communicative with each other). We’re waiting until we get closer, which I personally like because if we decide now, I know I’ll end up talking myself out of, and back into, whatever name we chose roughly 30,000 times. Better to get closer to a decision point than to torture yourself, am I right? Plus, it might help to see what the kid, y’know, looks like.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, there are a lot of dipshit names out in the world right now thanks to new parents. God forbid we lose the grip on our reality button and name her Brook’Lynn or Fallyn or Julissa or some shit.
The point is, at least to us, naming a child is a big deal, and while it’s generally a safe topic if you don’t know what else to say to an expectant couple, when you are that expectant couple, the frequency with which you get this question is unexpected and sort of exhausting. It’s no fault of the questioner, it’s just sort of amazing that almost every. single. person. asks this question. Given the volume of other shit you shouldn’t say to a pregnant lady, go ahead and ask what we’re naming the kid… just don’t be surprised if we huff a bit before we say, “We’re not sure yet.”
Also, just a public service announcement, unless you’re invited, don’t touch a random pregnant lady’s belly. If you don’t know her, that’s fucking bizarre. Would you put your hands on a random body part of literally ANYONE ELSE? I thought not. Don’t do it here.
So, in an effort to pre-empt the name question a bit, here are a list of names Jon Eks has considered* during the child rearing process.
*Considered, in this case, means “used to make cheap jokes and/or fuck with people.”
Cru Jones: Obviously. I didn’t even want this for the child, I just wanted to refer to the unborn baby as Cru Jones, but Kristin vetoed this one right out of the gate. I’m not sure why. I thought I was just being cute and sort of funny in nodding to my past, but nope, not even in the conversation. I mean, c’mon, my friend Mike referred to his unborn child as Carlos after the name Zach Galifianakis gave the abandoned baby in The Hangover.
Jericho: I had a teacher in college offer not to take his wife’s last name nor she his when they got married, but rather to both change their names to a new, neutral last name. He offered her “Kenobi” which she declined. When I got married, I made the same deal to Kristin, but with the name Jericho. She declined. It’s now on the table for the baby. Kristin doesn’t know this and is reading it for the first time. Hi, darling!
Pearl: We used to live on Pearl St, it’s where I proposed to Kristin, it’s something that’s beautiful, and names that are old as fuck are TOTALLY in right now. Plus, I want my daughter playing canasta fresh out of the womb, consarnit!
Buford and Gus: Because I’m hilarious, I threatened that I would name our first two kids these names regardless of sex. Since Kristin is better at the mind games than I am, she grabbed on to the name Gus for a girl and fawned all over it. Bluff called, I lost. I’m not naming a girl fucking Gus. And as long as we’re speaking truthfully, I stole this idea from my friend Nick from when we were both 9 years old. I thought it was funny then, and it somehow only got funnier to me over the subsequent 20+ years.
Kristin, Jr: I’m not in the camp of naming things after myself. It makes me uncomfortable. In fact, I’ve never really liked my own name. When I was a kid, it used to make me uncomfortable to hear it aloud. In some ways it still does. Why would I ever want to pass that on? On the other hand, you don’t really see women with “Jr” at the end of their names, well, ever, so why not? That’d be nice and fucking strange.
Poussey: We’re watching Orange is the New Black, and she’s my favorite character.
Vito: I know it’s a boy’s name, but did that stop me above? Two important things here: 1) My first pet was a parakeet named Vito. He was awesome. And; 2) This.
So, if you’re interested in what we’re naming our child, so are we. We’ll tell you when she gets here.