The Bureaucracy of Baby Names

Every Wednesday, several of us get together for what I call “Girls and Gays Night,” and what Fiona calls “Tapas Anonymous Meetings.” Whatever they are, no heterosexual men are allowed. We meet at our favorite wine bar, order plates of tapas and drink Tempranillo wine.

One of the weekly participants is Vik – she is a Liverpool scouser who has lived and worked all over the world – from a madame at a brothel in Australia to a waitress at a Tokyo hostess bar to the manager of a five-star ski resort in Switzerland. She is a living legend, and at the moment she is very, very pregnant. She goes out exactly once a week – to see us – and she has exactly one glass of wine. She treasures this one glass of wine like one would a diamond tiara, or a fleeting glimpse of a unicorn.

Inevitably, the subject arises of the fact that she and her husband have not yet chosen a name for son number two. And inevitably, among each week’s newest choices, up crop our favorites. Fiona has decided no matter what the baby is named, she will christen him Otto. I joke that with the first son being named Hugo, they sound like a German vaudeville act.

My suggestions are all jokes on her married surname – Capon. I’ve suggested Pan Fried, Honey Glazed, and Boneless. She laments that her husband’s surname is a delicious food, and insists she would have kept her maiden name if she had known beforehand. But, she says, she couldn’t name him a joke name even if she wanted – French law prohibits it. Her husband must go to city hall and ask for approval of their son’s name – and until 15 years ago, could be turned down if the name wasn’t French, let alone a cooking technique.

At this point our discussion dissolves into rants about the French, although it’s well-known that the law has benefited many children whose fathers, after several rounds of congratulatory pastis from their friends while on their way to City Hall, would have named them after famous footballers regardless of the sex of said child.

This morning, I saw this article about Italian authorities refusing to allow a baby christened Venerdi – Friday – to keep the name. Apparently, these bureaucrats are worried that the boy will have a life of misery because he’ll be unfavorably compared to a character by the same name in Robinson Crusoe.

I forwarded the article to Vik. She replied, “Well, at least they’re well read over there.”


One thought on “The Bureaucracy of Baby Names

  1. Pingback: Songs and Names » The Bureaucracy of Baby Names Miss Expatria

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