People Seriously Think I Named My Son After A Department Store
From now on, whenever someone asks me what my babyâ€™s name is, Iâ€™m going to answer, â€œMichael.â€ Coming up with baby names is one of the best parts of having a baby. There’s the stripper test for example: â€œMUFFIN? YEAH, OK, HEY MUFFIN, HEREâ€™S A 20 FOR YOU TO DO A DANCE.â€
Iâ€™ve said it before and Iâ€™ll say it again, never share your babyâ€™s name until after birth, because that way no one can say, â€œWhat? You named your kid â€˜Scout?â€™â€ (Which, personally, I think is a great name.) But it turns out even AFTER you name your child something a little different and unique, itâ€™s a pain in the ass.
I named my baby Holt. I did the male version of the stripper test. â€œHey, thatâ€™s Holt who scored that goal!â€ And, â€œThis is my boyfriend, Holt.â€ But…butâ€¦but. Either people think Iâ€™m a fucking moron or some people really donâ€™t know social etiquette.
My baby wasnâ€™t 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, â€œRebecca Eckler has picked out her sonâ€™s 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 Iâ€™m fucking stupid enough to name my child after a department store? It would be like naming my child, â€œWalmart,â€ or, â€œTarget,â€ for godâ€™s sake!
The second time, a woman at the gym with a daughter who also has a fairly unique name made a stupid joke like, â€œI guess your mother really likes to shop at Holtâ€™s.â€ Yeah. I know. Ha ha ha. Itâ€™s not everyoneâ€™s fault all the time.
Many times people ask his name and Iâ€™ll say, â€œHolt,â€ and theyâ€™ll say, â€œWhat?â€ to which Iâ€™ll respond, â€œHOLT! H-O-L-T! Holt!â€
Two out of 10 times, I will get, â€œThatâ€™s a great name.â€ The eight other times Iâ€™ll be forced to say, â€œYou know, like HOLT RENFREW!â€ because they are staring at me blankly.
I adore unique baby names but buyer beware if you donâ€™t name your child Sarah or Daniel. For the rest of your life, you will hear, â€œThatâ€™s an interesting name,â€ or, â€œWhat was his/her name again?â€ Because when you give your baby an unique name, itâ€™s almost as if a). people canâ€™t help but make jokes (â€œOh, 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 sonâ€™s name, did I only have to respond, â€œHolt,â€ once. Itâ€™s more like THREE times I have to repeat his name.
One of the babies in my sonâ€™s weekly playgroup is named Mason. Would I ever say, â€œDid you name him after a Mason jar?â€ Um, no.
Holt is a family name, which is what I started telling people, because itâ€™s the truth. My Jewish grandfather who escaped to Canada way back and couldnâ€™t 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 â€œHolt.â€ End of story.
But I really donâ€™t 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, â€œWell, 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 Iâ€™m 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 sheâ€™s a boy.
Be prepared for the questions and explanations of your choice of name. But, please, donâ€™t insult me by even cracking a joke â€“ especially because itâ€™s not really all that funny â€“ that I named my son Holt after a fucking department store. And if you canâ€™t handle it, well, just call him “Mike.” I swear, I think about doing it sometimes. NOT! Holt is his name and it rocks.