I am less worried about the prospect of having children than I am about the prospect of having to name them. I have thought about the naming issue numerous times and been completely overwhelmed by the number of potential obstacles brought on by the technology alone.
For example, should I give my children names that are uncommon so that they will Google well and not be lost in a sea of other people with the same name? Or is it a better strategy to give a common name for the exact opposite reason, so that my little darling does not have to worry about employers finding her MySpace page? But if it's too common, how is she ever going to get a good e-mail address without having to attach a string of numbers to it?
And then there are the things I can't control, like what if I name my child something nice and unique but then 12 years later a porn star or serial killer or Evangelical leader with the exact same name becomes famous and makes my child subject to relentless humiliation? The guilt and shame would nearly kill me, and it would definitely kill my relationship with said child.
I don't know how I will end up handling this problem, but I can safely rule out one possibility: using a baby-naming consultant. Baby-naming consultants were the subject of this recent Wall Street Journal article, which included the following mind-exploding quotes:
- Denise McCombie, 37, a California mother of two who's expecting a daughter this fall, spent $475 to have a numerologist test her favorite name, Leah Marie, to see if it had positive associations.
- One man, on choosing the name "Beckett" for his son: "That C-K sound is very well regarded in corporate circles," Mr. Alper says, giving Kodak and Coca-Cola as examples. "The hard stop forces you to accentuate the syllable in a way that draws attention to it."
- Madeline Dziallo, 36, a beautician and mother of two in LaGrange, Ill., turned to a consultant when naming both of her children, Ross, 3, and Natalie, eight months. That consultant, Maryanna Korwitts, a self-described nameologist based in Downers Grove, Ill., charges up to $350 for a package including three half-hour phone calls and a personalized manual describing the name's history, linguistic origins and personality traits.
I'm sorry, but I think it's a bad way to start off your life with your Mini-Me by outsourcing his identity to some Internet opportunist with a marketing degree and a baby obsession. Plus, if you start to hate the name after a few years or you realize it has some horrible association that the consultant neglected to discover, you have no reprieve but to just hate yourself for not being together enough to NAME YOUR OWN CHILD.
No, I am more interested in a solution that does not involve me telling my curious future child that "Mommy met a very nice man on the Internet who told us your name would play very well in corporate circles!' That's like giving him/her an extra free space on their Bingo board of Why I Resent My Parents, and I guarantee you that board will not need any more free spaces.