January 9, 2007

Name Controversy

Paul and I normally sort of agree on baby names. Even if one of us is saying "bleah," it's a mild bleah, and it's in reaction to a name the other person doesn't love anyway. The most common situation is that one of us really likes a name and the other one sort of likes it but not enough to use it, not that one of us really likes a name and the other one hates it with the intensity of an imploding star.

However, last night I brought up a name I liked. It was a name I had been thinking of all day with a starry-eyed feeling. The name had never before occurred to me, but once it did I thought, "Why is no one using this name? It's a GREAT name! Sure, it sounds like an old lady, but that wouldn't linger on a cutie baby girl! And the sound is so pretty! Definitely this name should be dug up and reused!" Shyly, I mentioned it to Paul. Who TOTALLY shot it down: no discussion, no thinking it over, no "hm, not bad but I don't love it," just POOF into a million tiny shards, absolutely no way would he ever even consider it.

I thought I would ask you what you thought of it. Because of Paul's reaction, though, I am feeling a little tentative about putting this name I like so much in front of a possible firing squad. So first I want you to get yourself into the right mindset. This is a highly unusual name, and it is one of the most old-ladyish old lady names there is. However! I think it falls into the same category as other old-lady names such as Emma, Ava, Violet, and Lily: names that used to be elderly but are ready for reuse. This one just hasn't been noticed yet.

You have to picture the name on a little girl, let's say she's about three years old and has ponytails. And then I recommend saying the name over and over until it stops sounding like it needs a walker and all you hear are the bare sounds of it. Okay? Ready? Open minds, everyone? Here's the name: Millicent. Discuss.

12 comments:

Black Sheeped said...

No question. Adorable.

desperate housewife said...

Hmm. I didn't react in horror, but I also love the name Evelyn, so... You had a sympathetic audience.
I would have to mention, though, that I think the nickname "Millie" is kind of bland, and also brings to my own mind the name of our local bakery, "Aunt Millie's." Which has as its logo a picture of a pioneer women in a large bonnet. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Super cute, but not as unusual as you might think. Millie is quite popular in Britain now, and is threatening to boom on this side of the pond very soon.

Swistle said...

It's pretty unpopular in the U.S. It's not even in the top 1000 names, and Monserrat, Belen, Yuridia, Fabiola, and Anjali all made that list.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to escape the old-lady connotations with the name, but when I say it a few times in my head it sounds very pretty. The sibilant effect is unusual and nice. I think the maybe-inevitable Millie nicnkame is cute, too.

-Linda (Sundry)

Shelly said...

Honestly, at first I thought "Oh, no!", but the more I say Millicent in my mind, the more I like it. & I like Millie as well. Bellowing MILLICENT when she's in trouble has a very nice ring to it.

Swistle said...

Ha ha ha! Your reaction is the one I'd be expecting (first part) and hoping for (second part) if we used it: I think a lot of people would first be unpleasantly startled, but then I'd hope they'd come around to it.

Kathryn said...

It's a moot point now, of course, but I kind of like it. It's not like certain other "old lady" names that are just, at their root, ugly (Gertrude, Ruth, etc.) It's actually a pretty name, if you get past the connotations.

Ellen said...

Hi, Swistle!

Well, I'm coming very late to the game for this post, and it would appear that you had a son, anyway, but I thought I'd share my reaction. At first I hesitated, as it reminds me of my grandma's friend. Then, however, I decided that it is adorable, and that I love Millie.

BTW, I discovered your blog and your baby name blog last week, and you've been keeping me quite amused as I've gone through your archives. I've been either in bed or on the couch with a nasty cold/flu, and I do appreciate the entertainment. I'm a name fanatic, and I can't wait to have kids just for the fun of choosing names. :)

Buttercup said...

Swistle! It's so strange to me that this is my first comment on your blog and that I've only been a reader for about a week AND that I've been working backwards through your archive since then, to the point I feel like we're old friends.

I have been DYING to tell you my baby names, but I'm waiting for an appropriate post for it. I have about a dozen or so.

Anyway--Millicent. I heard this on a TV show about a year ago and I was like, "ugh, blech." But, after seeing it mentioned in your blog lo these many times, it has kind of grown on me. I appreciate it more and feel bolstered in my decision to use "Francesca" whenever the need should arise.

The Mama Beth said...

I know, I know YEARS late. But isn't Millicent the bad guy in Sleeping Beauty? The bad queen or whoever?

Swistle said...

That's Maleficent---which is such an awesome Bad Guy name, because it sounds nameish but includes the sound of malevolent.