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Don't Want a Beer Belly

Hi Miss SmartyPants,

Baby Name Drama: My husband and I were chatting about baby names the other day, and he mentioned one that I hate with the fire of a thousand suns. He says it's a family name, I say it's a kind of beer. The baby would have his last name, why can't the first name reflect my family? Or, at least, be a nice name?

I tried compromising and saying, "Maybe for a middle name," but he's really fixated on this name. I'm not pregnant, but I don't want this to be an issue when I am.

I don't see why I should go through nine months of suffering, untold hours of labor just to name the resulting child after beer. In case you're curious, the name is "Porter". Either beer or a hotel employee, right?

Don't Want a Beer Belly

Dear Don't,

It HAS to be mutual. Your husband needs to cease fixating.

I don't have the same problem with Porter that you do. Now, Schlitz? Or Mickey's Big Mouth? Yeah. But that's kind of the point - reactions to names are SO personal, and often visceral.

If you don't like the name, then both you and your husband move on to the next potential name. It's your husband's insistence on this name, despite your dislike of it, that forces you to press the fact that you dislike it. Hello? You even offered a compromise, using it as a middle name, which is pretty decent considering you don't like the name.

Except when two parents have zero names they agree on (which would suggest to me Other Issues), there's no need to compromise. Both have full veto power. After all, this is your (future) baby you're talking about here. The No. 1 concern both of you should have is that everyone's feelings are accounted for, potential child's included.

I hate to make a mountain out of this, but please don't bring kids on the scene until you're both in the mode of treating each other's happiness - with little stuff and big stuff - as the equal to your own. He should have serious problems with the idea of forcing a name on you that you don't like. His stubbornness doesn't bode well for when you are new parents, and the need to accommodate each other becomes intense.

My point is, I think this is a proxy fixation - the bigger issue is the equal-respect-for-each-other's-happiness thing. So you both should admit as much and duke it out. I sure hope your husband hears your concerns.

Speaking of naming babies, a study led by Eryn Newman from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, shows that the easier a name is to pronounce, the more trustworthy people will assume the person is. And the reverse is also true - the more complicated the name, the more untrustworthy the name holder will seem.

To determine this, the researchers gathered a few pairs of names from different regions around the world and asked participants to rate how risky a person was based solely on their name. People with difficult to pronounce names were thought to be more dangerous or risky than those with more pronounceable names.

This research aligns with previous studies, which have shown that people with more familiar names tend to be rated as more likeable, are preferred as mock election candidates and hold higher positions. Interesting stuff.

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