Thursday, December 10, 2009


For how much I am loathe to admit it, Dances With Wolves (DwW) plays a rather large part of the daily language between my husband and I. I dislike Kevin Costner. I have never seen him in a performance where I felt anything from him except pure amazement at his rise to stardom. How the...What the...And yet, he has made it into the daily lexicon of our marriage. This is how: Sam announces, "I'm going up to bed." And I reply, "Yeah, so am I." And he stops and says, "Say it correctly." And I have to pause, and gesture between us, and say, "I go where you go."

But, truthfully, the DwW phenom sort of started before Sam came along. After seeing that movie, I began the curious and somewhat annoying habit of giving people fake Indian names based on watching their behavior. And conversely, I have also been dubbed a few names in my life. My husband suffers from low blood sugar-induced snarkiness is named Lashes Out At Loved Ones. My mother is Travels With Ham, since any visit involves my mother obsessively insisting that we need a ham and she will bring it. Our in-house graphic designer became Dances with Exactos. And I was baptized many years ago as Many Bourbons. My life has changed a lot, and it has been a long long time since I drank even one bourbon. Oh, I joke about it, but that is because I come from Irish people who think drinking jokes are hi-larious. It is the Dean Martin School of Comedy, but truth of it is, I need a new name. I have considered Alphabetizes the Rocks or Cries a River, which sounds vaguely like a Monty Python name. Sir Cry Alot.

If the fake Indian name doesn't work, then I usually go with a rap name. My friend Kathy McGuire* is henceforth known as K-Mac. My rap name is A to the G. My sister is DJ Fancy Pants. My sister many years ago, created an alterego who is Japan's Pop Sweetheart named Sweetie Pumpkin Kitty Cardigan, but it is simply by dint of her fabulosity that she gets a Japanese name.

Anyway, since being cleared in the amnio and finding out we are having a boy, the moratorium on name talk has been lifted. As previously demonstrated, I have extensive experience giving people goofy names, but naming someone, I mean, naming naming them is overwhelming me. We have had some, uh, heated discussions on naming our little bub. The issues surround the fact that I am a rational person with extraordinary taste in names, and my husband is insane. Funnily, we basically picked Bea and Lucy's name immediately, but boy names...oy, vey. Boy names are much more complex, mainly because cute is not so cute on a man with a beard. And quirky ends up being alienating. We are currently stuck on just naming him after our fathers. But privately, we call our fetus Thor. Now that Thor has been normalized as a name in our home, I argue that it would make a fantastic name for him. American convention be damned. It has everything--strength, coolness, pronunciation ease, fun, know, everything, except public acceptance. Sam, on the other hand, thinks we should name him something normal, and call him Thor as a nickname. During dinner last night, he went through a litany of men he has known with great nicknames that have nothing to do with their real name: Turk, Boo, Bub, Win...Have I mentioned my husband and I are a multi-cultural family? I am a Yankee and he is Southern. I often stare slackjawed at him as he tells childhood stories, not because of the craziness of the escapades, but because I get stuck on the fact that someone named their child Snookey. In fact, my husband is actually referred to as his middle name, which is confusing to people here, but makes perfect sense in the strange land from whence he is comes. I really have no place. Our male family name is Durward, and my grandmother had two brothers who called her Sis. So, I grew up with much of my family referring to my grandmother as Aunt Sis. The mind reels. I already have a fake Indian name for Thor, which is Scares the Hell out of his Mother.

So, here are a few questions for you. If you had to choose between a fake Indian name and a rap name, which would you choose? And what would it be? And what is your position on nicknames v. name names? And any other insights on naming?

*not her real name.


  1. I can't decide between a fake Indian name and a rap name. They both hold their appeal. When I coached, some of the kids called me T-dawg. Which totally gave me street cred. But I think an Indian name is much more personal. :)

    I know some people are very set on NO nicknames for kids. And want their children to be called only by their given name. Nicknames don't offend me. My husband is too called by his middle name.

    I can't think of the name Thor without thinking of Adventures in Babysitting. Totally great movie though.

  2. chuckle... Lovely post. Glad everything is OK with Thor. Choosing names (esp boys) in bi-cultural relationships is by far the toughest thing. If it sounds totally cool for one person it might be ridiculous for the other one.

    I LOVE your indian nicknames. For me: way more fun that fake rap-names. I had to get used to having many nicknames, because my name is excessively used around here. Holler me on the street and there'll be heads turning everywhere.

    And I would love to have a fake indian name, too. Maybe something like "Grumpy when Hungry"... ? I'll have to think this over, I guess... :)

  3. OMG this cracked me up. My names would probably be fairly similar: XPlaTiv or MIghty Swearing Warrioress. Meanwhile, I've had more nicknames (most acquired after the age of 22) than I could imagine: Boo, Bootasha, PocketTash, the list goes on.

    For some reason, no idea, Bella (which is a nickname itself, incidentally) is also "Bug." Which I like, but I could see other's thinking wtf? And I'm sure she'll detest come 13.

    My pregnancy nickname for her was really stupid and had to do with a position she took in an ultrasound and my husband's job at the time. Lonnggg story. Maddy's, ironically, became Monty after Monty Python, when after the first bleed we saw a heartbeat I came home and shouted "I'm not dead yet!" Hahahahaha. I slay me. Needless to say, no nicknames on this febryo yet, and I doubt there will be. I can't even think about real names yet. When Bella asks I go with "Eggplant" or "Irony."

  4. According to the Rap Star name generator, I am Sassi Porsche. I ran Thor for the heck of it and he came up Fat Explicit :)

    Incidentally, one of hubby's step relatives called her boy Thor while she was pregnant. When he was born, she named him Max, but 5 years later, my FIL still calls him Thor.

  5. Nothing like a good morning chuckle. Thank you, Lady Levity.

    As for names, you know, I like everything that comes out of your head, so there's my endorsement. I think boy names are harder than girl names too, and it bugs me that I think that.

    But while you're at it, can I have a nickname too? Indian, boozy, rap, whatever you got.

  6. Hmmm, I've never thought about a rap name of a fake Indian name. I've always preferred my porn star name (childhood pet and street name), Buffy Westmoreland.

    Boy names are so tough! We've pretty much landed on Buggy's name, but we will primarily use a nickname which is a shortened form of the full name. It was a real challenge and involved similarly heated conversations, some of which required me to explain to my oh-so-sensitive husband why we couldn't name this baby the same name as his dead older brother. Oy vey is right.

  7. I have a friend whose boy is named Thor, pronounced 'Tore.' It works within their very Norwegian ancestory. And I'm sure it would work no matter what the heritage. Boy names are hard. There is so much more forgiveness with girl names as the child grows older.

    I was about to say that I prefer 'name names', but then I realized we call our third child by a shortened version of her full name. So maybe I'm not 'against' nicknames.

    Peace, my friend.

  8. See I love nicknames. Maxwell has like five names currently. I am Dj Fancy Pants and Sweetie Pumpkin Kitty Cardigan, but did you know that my Native American name is Angers without Coffee?

  9. LOL! Love this post Ang- and I am down with Thor. When I grew up I SO wanted a nickname- so I called myself Beth- to the point that when at Vacation Bible school one year- while staying with my grandparents- I told them my name was Beth- went a whole day that way- until my Nan showed up to take me home and was alarmed when they said they had no Sara Lee...and then there was a time when I hung out with the little boy across the street (in Dallas) Davey and his friends Ben and Benji- I called myself Adam- just tryin' to fit in.
    My mom was not fond of nicknames- as she had one Sally, when her given name is Sarah.
    I guess boys names can be hard- I figured if that if I ever had one perhaps my Dad's name or his Grandfather's name Samuel Issac
    Thanks for your post babe- as always-such a great part of my day!!

  10. Um...all I can think of is that old joke about how the Mighty God of Thunder rides his flying stallion into the Great Hall of the Gods and triumphantly announces his arrival, saying "I am Thor!"

    Whereupon, Loki responds, "Well, next time maybe you should use a thaddle, thilly."

    Look, I never said it was a *good* joke.

    Anyway, I know you've probably decided to name him after your fathers. But if you change your mind, why not consider one of many variants of Thor.

  11. Well, you shouldn't ask me, because I once accidentally almost convinced someone to name their son Captain Crunch. And my Indian name was always "Princess Forever Pee" for obvious reasons. But if it were really up to me, I'd say that Thor actually kind of goes with your last name- or at least people will think it does, so you can totally get away with it.

  12. I think my name would be something like "In it to Win It." My husband suggested "Takes up entire Teepee while sleeping."

    We have some great male names/nicknames in our family. My grandfathers are Sylvester aka Sly and Alphonse aka The Fonz.

    We also have a tradition of calling people "Stash Importanski" when they're acting a little too full of themselves. As in, "Oh, you're too busy to talk to your mother, Stash Importanski?"

    Glad little Thor is thriving. Good luck with the name identification.

  13. Thor is, well, awesome.

    My name doesn't come with any natural nicknames, and I used to think that nicknames were wonderful - sort of special bonus names that some people had. I wanted one, but the closest I've come is that my grandmother sometimes calls me E.

    And I don't know if it's a Westerner - Southerner similarity or just my odd family, but I had four great uncles known to me exclusively by their nicknames - Bun, Tuffy, Butch and Pat - and none of these names were related to their actual names at all. Sometimes nicknames just happen.

  14. You already know I love Thor! Go with it I say! Viva le Tour!

    And I love the Indian nicknames! Too funny. Oh Angie, you always have a way of squeezing a giggle out of me.

    And while I'm at it, because Paige reminded me, my porn name is Dot Emerald. I always thought that was pretty cool.

    And more on nicknames and boys names, we were SO stuck on a boys name as you well know, I swear we nearly called him Thumper! But now that he's here, he has a million and one new nicknames. Gussy Pants, Angry Angus, Angus Bubbles, Gussy Poos. I think we've called him everything BUT just plain old Angus at this point.

    Love ya, Angie.

  15. Boy names are so tough. I vote for Henry as a great boy name that goes well with Beatrice and Lucia. And I'm just so happy for you that things are looking up a bit. Hugs to you.

  16. I think I prefer a fake indian name...

    Caelan gave Jasper a nickname of Pumpkin King... I have no idea where the idea came from but "Jasper, the Pumpkin King" has kind of stuck...


  17. see, we have the problem with the girl names!

    I like the name voyager or baby name wizard site.

    And Thor is a fine name. I guess if you wanted him to have some CEO name you could always *name* him Thorton.

  18. I don't have an answer for your question right now but I did want to let you know that I am now following you after finding your blog today. You and your family are in my prayers and congratulations on the new addition that you are waiting for! I'm very glad all is well with him.

  19. I'd like a rap name please! Our last name is My husbands friends call him, "the deech." I've found it tough to fund a name that sounds good with it and is the polar opposite, short, easy to spell, easy to say. I loved the name Ella for our daughter. We won't know the sex of this little one for 2 weeks. But, I have lots of girl names in mind, but only one boy name- Evan. I agree with Molly, I think Henry goes nicely with you other children's names. Have fun!

  20. I used to know a guy named Thor. He was the more Arian/Scandinavian looking human being I've ever met, so it suited him. Except that he wasn't very tall, and I kind of expected a Thor to be tall. I met him when I was 15 at a party, and when he told me his name, before I could stop myself, I laughed and said, "Your name's THOR??" I think he was used to it...

    My rap name is G-Love. I think if I had a fake Indian name it would be Emotionally Absorbent Like Sponge or Physically Lethargic Like Rock. Maybe I should come up with something more empowered... or just stick to G-Love.

    I think nicknames make themselves up spontaneously. I always found it kind of presumptuous when people already know what they're going to not only name but nickname their children before they are born... My children chose their own names, and the nicknames change with the days, weeks, months, years. I have hundreds of them.

  21. I think a fake Indian name would be for me...drinks with fist or slays with tongue, probably depend on the day and my mood, wait, she of many moods? Maybe.:)

    All my kids have fairly unique names, I didn't want them to be Bill #1 or #3 in their classes at school. We've stuck with thier given names mostly, but my daughter has a nickname form babyhood that many in the familsy still call her and I love but not sure how long it will last.
    Sometimes, I think, you have to meet the babe and then decide.
    Thor, for now, seems perfect.

  22. I really like Alphabetizes the Rocks. What is it called when you put things in color order?

    I'm always a fan of names that are not too common, but also not so weird that no one can spell them. I spent my entire life spelling my maiden name and even now, I can't say it without spelling it.

  23. This is a perfect avoiding-work-on-Monday-morning post. While I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with your K-Cos assessment, I must also admit to having a DwW artifact in my life: "Tatunka. Buh.fa.low" But in my case no one, sadly, plays along.

    We found pregnancy nicknames very easy and real names very hard. Our girls were nicknamed Pickles before we knew there were, in fact, two. But real names... failure. Or at least, regret. Maybe that is because I come from a long line of poorly named people. My own mother is called "Aunt Baby" by my cousins and she is not even the youngest of her siblings!

    I can just imagine a beautiful little chub of a boy named Thor with one of those rattles that looks like a dumbbell. Can you see it? I think it works!

  24. We once lived down the street from a Scandinavian family whose four boys were named Erik, Leif, Dane and Thor. I say go for it.

    I don't have a rap name, but if I were a professional wrestler I would use the handle "Saucy Kincaide".


What do you think?