Before we knew that we were having a daughter, I wanted to name a potential son “Coltrane.” Not that I am a huge jazz fan, but I really thought that if I named my son after legend John Coltrane, it would be impossible for him not to be cool. Even if he tried to be dorky like his dad, he’d be propelled into coolness by the momentum of his name. My wife, said no.
A lot of my friends faced a similar temptation when the Lord of the Rings movies were out. They wouldn’t admit it in the theater but you could see it in their eyes. “What if we named our son Aragorn or our daughter Arwen? How awesome would that be? Very awesome, that’s how. What is it going to take to convince my wife?”
And there’s the rub. Usually, both parties are not invested in naming a kid after a movie or a book. It takes some convincing. So here, as a public service, are a few ways to convince your wife or husband to go with the name you like:
1. Offer them the next name.
Do the whole Popeye, “can I get a hamburger today and pay you for it on Tuesday” thing and say that they can name the next kid. It’s like when they trade professional athletes and mention that some “athletes to be named” were involved in the deal. Tell your spouse that when it comes time to name the next kid, you’ll give them complete freedom in picking.
2. Trade them the middle name.
If I were smart, I would have told my wife that if she let me name our son “Coltrane” she could have given him the middle name, “John Cusack.” She loves John Cusack and would have thought it was great to have a living reminder of the movie “Say Anything.” Tell your wife that your son’s middle name can be “Christian Bale” or tell your husband that your son’s middle name can be “William Wallace.” Eventually they might cave in and give you first name rights.
3. Mention that fictional names are scandal proof.
It sucks when you name your kid “Orange Julius” and then out of nowhere someone named Orange Julius gets famous. They then proceed to get arrested for biting a cop outside a strip club and then throw a ham sandwich at the judge during the trial. Suddenly your kid is going to be called “ham sandwich” out on the playground. That’s part of the beauty of a fictional name. Unless we unearth some unpublished manuscript in which Aragorn unexpectedly becomes a heroin addict, you don’t run the risk of getting a scandal associated with your kid’s name.
4. Search your family tree.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to find the name “Lord of the Morning Mist” in your family tree, but it’s not impossible. Dig deep and hard, going back generations until you find some way to position your proposed name as a family name. “Well honey, you see Herma named her son Herman in the late 18th century. And as you’ll notice, “man” is the second half of that name, which is why I want to pay tribute to their heritage and memory and name our son ‘Batman.'”
At some point, I need to do a post on crazy Bible names, but for now, hopefully you’ve got some new ideas on how to convince your spouse that Treebeard is a perfectly suitable name for a new born.