From now on, whenever someone asks me what my babyâs name is, Iâm going to answer, âMichael.â Coming up with baby names is one of the best parts of having a baby. There’s the stripper test for example: âMUFFIN? YEAH, OK, HEY MUFFIN, HEREâS A 20 FOR YOU TO DO A DANCE.â
Iâve said it before and Iâll say it again, never share your babyâs name until after birth, because that way no one can say, âWhat? You named your kid âScout?ââ (Which, personally, I think is a great name.) But it turns out even AFTER you name your child something a little different and unique, itâs a pain in the ass.
I named my baby Holt. I did the male version of the stripper test. âHey, thatâs Holt who scored that goal!â And, âThis is my boyfriend, Holt.â But…butâŠbut. Either people think Iâm a fucking moron or some people really donât know social etiquette.
My baby wasnât even born yet when the cracks of his name appeared in a gossip column in a national Canadian newspaper. I had written that I had choose his name, in another publication, and this gossip columnist wrote something like, âRebecca Eckler has picked out her sonâs name that will go really well with a pink bag.â The reference to the “pink bag” was because here in Canada, we have a high-end department chain called Holt Renfrew. They put your purchases in pink bags. That was the first time I thought, hmmm, do people really think Iâm fucking stupid enough to name my child after a department store? It would be like naming my child, âWalmart,â or, âTarget,â for godâs sake!
The second time, a woman at the gym with a daughter who also has a fairly unique name made a stupid joke like, âI guess your mother really likes to shop at Holtâs.â Yeah. I know. Ha ha ha. Itâs not everyoneâs fault all the time.
Many times people ask his name and Iâll say, âHolt,â and theyâll say, âWhat?â to which Iâll respond, âHOLT! H-O-L-T! Holt!â
Two out of 10 times, I will get, âThatâs a great name.â The eight other times Iâll be forced to say, âYou know, like HOLT RENFREW!â because they are staring at me blankly.
I adore unique baby names but buyer beware if you donât name your child Sarah or Daniel. For the rest of your life, you will hear, âThatâs an interesting name,â or, âWhat was his/her name again?â Because when you give your baby an unique name, itâs almost as if a). people canât help but make jokes (âOh, you named your daughter Porsche. You must really like sporty cars! Ha ha ha!â) And b). people honestly become suddenly hard of hearing.
Never ONCE, that I can remember, when people ask my sonâs name, did I only have to respond, âHolt,â once. Itâs more like THREE times I have to repeat his name.
One of the babies in my sonâs weekly playgroup is named Mason. Would I ever say, âDid you name him after a Mason jar?â Um, no.
Holt is a family name, which is what I started telling people, because itâs the truth. My Jewish grandfather who escaped to Canada way back and couldnât get a job with the last name Burnholtz (too Jewish) shortened his last name to Burns. I loved my grandfather, so I wanted to honor him by bringing back âHolt.â End of story.
But I really donât want to spend the rest of my life explaining this story every time someone cracks a joke about my son having half of a name of a department store. Never once did I think, âWell, hey, yeah I sometimes buy shoes at Holt Renfrew. Hey! What a great name for a boy!â
So go on â name your baby whatever the heck you want. I always thought that unique names are the better way to go, especially if it has some sort of meaning to you. (Yes, we fucked in Paris. So we named her Paris!) But Iâm realizing the cons of unique baby naming. Even my daughter, Rowan, I have issues with. Most of the time, when I tell people her name, they automatically think sheâs a boy.
Be prepared for the questions and explanations of your choice of name. But, please, donât insult me by even cracking a joke â especially because itâs not really all that funny â that I named my son Holt after a fucking department store. And if you canât handle it, well, just call him “Mike.” I swear, I think about doing it sometimes. NOT! Holt is his name and it rocks.