A humorous look at choosing baby names
Here's a rule of thumb I always try to follow: Never, ever discuss celebrity baby names with your husband, unless you want his eyes to roll so far back in his head they are wedged there forever. My husband, Doyle, is a plain-spoken, flannel-shirt-wearing, meat-and-potatoes kind of fellow in all matters, not just which monikers the rich and famous deign to label their offspring.
So I should have known not to initiate the following conversation with him:
"Apple is going to have a baby brother or sister," I told him one day, apropos of nothing save the fact that my best friend, Rachel, moved across the state, and I have to share these clever trivia tidbits with someone. Doyle happens to be that someone, more often than either one of us would like.
"Hopefully what's-her-name can stay away from the fresh produce this time," he said. "If it's a boy will she name him 'Kumquat'?" "How do you know Kumquat is a male name?" I said, throwing a neutralizing comment in to stop a possible tirade in its tracks.
I happen to like the name Apple; call me overly whimsical. I think Gwyneth Paltrow and her rock-star husband, Chris Martin of Coldplay, chose a fresh, evocative name for their firstborn that also happens to be crisp and juicy. And considering what other celebrity couples, especially rock stars, have appointed their rock babies with, Apple is mild and pleasant, much like the Jonagold or Gala varieties of you-know-what.
Consider Bob Geldof's daughters, Peaches (there we go again with British rockers and edible baby names) and the doozie Fifi Trixiebelle. Or David Bowie's son Zowie Bowie, Todd Rundgren's son ReBop or Madonna's little boy Rocco.
"Of course, Rocco makes sense because it's a real Italian name, and she's a real Italian," I said, defending the Material Girl's choice of names. "Well, I'm glad she's a real Italian, and she's not just faking it because that would just be wrong," Doyle said, trying to be droll.
But seriously, what is it with men and ultra-safe baby names? My dad was given the job of throwing something into the middle slots of my signature and my brother's. His picks? "Jayne" for me, and, two-and-a-half years later, "Wayne" for my little bro, Dan. Dad really went out on a limb there.
I asked Doyle once what he would have named our three children had I handed over the entire naming department to him, instead of just ultimate veto power. (Trust me, many, many fabulous, Yum-O names were disqualified during his vetting process.)
"Well, I dunno. Like 'John,' or 'Ken,' or maybe for a girl, 'Anne,'" he said. "Or Doyle Jr., for a boy." Those are all fine, sturdy, even classic names, but they didn't mesh with my "Let's try something creative and nouveau and luscious and whimsical" mentality. Have I mentioned Doyle has a very low whimsy threshold? This meant "Milo" and "Esme" and "Daisy" were banned from our family tree, although I still pine for them.
But even I, an admitted name freak, must admit sometimes celebs go a bit far in their quest for the unpaved pathways of imaginative and fanciful child-labels. Actor Jason Lee's choice of "Pilot Inspektor" is a bit strange, and the late Michael Hutchins of INXS made us all whoozy with Tiger Lily Heavenly Hirani. These names make "Apple" seem almost sedate and commonplace by comparison, which is what I told Doyle. "Besides, Gwyneth has a friend named Plum, so she is accustomed to fruit names," I said.
"How do you know these things?" he said, eyes widening in alarm.
"Rachel told me," I said, deciding right then and there to phone her the next time I wanted to shoot the breeze about celebrity baby names. Who knows? Maybe Gwyneth is open to suggestions. My vote is "Pear," because "Peaches" is already taken.
Lorilee Craker is the mother of three kids, Jonah, 8; Ezra, 5; and Baby Phoebe, 1. She's the author of seven books, including The Wide-Eyed Wonder Years (Revell, 2006). Her first book, A is for Adam: Biblical Baby Names (Waterbrook, 2000), is very whimsical but does not include the name "Apple."
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