rhymes with

Picture 009

{image is a photo of a rhyming puzzle game. The two cards shown depict a cat and a hat and a rock and a sock, respectively.}

Note: I still love both of the names mentioned in this post as well as a number of people with those names. I mean no disrespect to any of them and I am sure that, as my friend Tucker said all those years ago, they are stronger people for it. 

I was pregnant. Really, really pregnant. Ok, I guess I couldn’t have been THAT pregnant if we didn’t know the gender of the baby yet, but go with it. It felt like I was at least 13 months along.

Luau and I were riding the subway home to our apartment on Roosevelt Island, a tiny spit of land in the East River that everyone calls Queens (it’s technically Manhattan) and thinks can only be reached by tram (there’s a bridge for cars and the subway that we were on at the time.)

Our last name was still hyphenated at the time – a romantic nod to gender equality and forward thinking that I loved when I first suggested it to Luau and he enthusiastically agreed to it over an Ouzo-drenched lunch. He told me years later that he’d planned to discuss his once-sober misgivings with me the next day in the very same phone call in which I breathlessly told him about all the stationary that I’d just ordered – to be engraved, as it were, with our soon to be new names. Oops.

I later grew to loathe the constant confusion of a double barrel name and, just before Katie was born, came home in a huff from one last place that “couldn’t find the file,” because, well, “would it be under G or W?” and I declared that romance, gender equality and forward thinking could all shove it in favor of never having one of those conversations again. I might have been just a wee bit hormonal, but the truth was that I couldn’t stop picturing poor Katie crossing a makeshift stage in a construction paper hat and reaching for her preschool diploma only to be asked, “Where would it have been filed, dear?” So the name bit the dust.

But at the time of the scene on the subway, it was still alive and well. Luau and I were the Gordon-Wilsons, a situation which did nothing to help ease the trouble of choosing a name for our baby.

I’d always been a fan of the name Tucker for a boy. The Tuckers I’ve known have been strong, loving, all-around good guys. I just love it. It’s strong and dignified, yet with just a hint of impish boyishness that makes you think there’s more below the surface. (And there usually is.) Best of all, it worked well with the Gordon-Wilson, managing to avoid sounding like a law firm.

Luau wasn’t on board. Not even a little. In fact, he had immediately invoked his veto power. He absolutely, positively, wouldn’t hear of it. Why, you ask?

“Rhyming issues,” he said. “I’m not doing that to my kid.”

I called my friend Tuck, who knew that his name was at the top of my list. I told him that Luau had concerns. I didn’t tell him what they were. He said, “Yeah, it is what it is. Made me a stronger person.” I had to admit that Luau was r .. r … right. Damn it.

So there we were on the Q train, searching for the perfect name that wasn’t Tucker.

“I like the way it sounds,” I said. “I get that you won’t go for it, and that’s fine, but let’s try to come up with something that has a similar feel and sound. It’s just such a good handshake name, you know?”

Luau nodded. He nodded a lot when I was pregnant.

“Here, look,” I said, turning in my subway seat and extending my hand to him, “Shake my hand.” He obliged and I said, “Tucker Gordon-Wilson, nice to meet you.” I looked at him expectantly. He looked at me like a husband with a pregnant wife.

“See?” I said, “Doesn’t it just sound good? It’s so strong. It has such a great cadence. That’s what I want.”

“I hear you,” he said, “but I’m not naming my son a word that rhymes with F@#k.”

I was becoming vaguely aware of the heavy-set woman to my right laughing, but didn’t give her much thought.

“Fair enough,” I said, “just help me find something else that sounds similar.”

And then I got it. I was so excited. This was it. I knew it was it.

“HUNTER!” I shouted. “Luau, it’s perfect! We can call him Hunt!”

Luau turned to me, his eyes wide. “So because we don’t want a name with RHYMING issues,” he said slowly, “you came up with HUNT?”

“Yeah,” I said, wondering why he was enunciating his words so precisely, “exactly.”

I was now very aware of the woman on my right. Her gales of laughter were now shaking her body along with the entire row of connected seats on which we sat. I figured she must have remembered a joke. A really, really funny joke.

Luau took my hand in his. “You know what, babe,” he said, “If we have a boy, why don’t we just name him Enis (Eee- nis) and if we have a girl, why don’t we call her Ragina (Ruh-J-eye-nah)? How do those sound?”

He didn’t say another word. He just waited for the light to come on.

It did.

“Oh my God,” I said.

Laughing woman lost it completely. So did I.

And Luau and I were both relieved a month or so later when we found out we were having a girl.



14 thoughts on “rhymes with

  1. So were we, Jess. We are thrilled for so many reasons. This brought back such great memories. Thanks for starting the day with a good laugh.

    Love you,

  2. This one sounds so like you. I love it and M….. was as usual, so right on.
    Naming a child “Orange” wouldn’t rhyme with anything either.
    Love you,

  3. I have to respond because my beautiful autistic boy is named HUNTER. We actually never call him Hunt, but there have been many other nicknames.. H-Man seems to be a popular moniker given by males in his life. He has also been called Hunter the Punter and another popular nickname is “Hunter D”.. his middle name is Dale (yes, grandma loved that he was Hunter in the Dale.. haha). Then there are the nicknames Mom came up with Toodie, SweetPea, Boo (mom is trying to break this as he is now 20 and my friends are telling me those nicknames gotta go.. I save them for home :))

  4. You and I had picked the SAME boy names and not used them for the SAME reason but I went one further… How about Cooper? All of them shot down by the future school children who would rhyme their names with awful things. sigh. Lisa from Quirks and Chaos

  5. I went through a similar rigorous nametrest w the Huz:
    Me: How about Abigail, very classic?
    Him, w/o missing a beat: Flabby Abby!

    Me: Ok, how about Calista?
    Him: Sounds like a general disease.


    Me: Siobahn? It’s pronounced Zhe-vahn.
    Him: we can have a name folks won’t know how to spell AND pronounce!!

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