Hmm, how would you explain this one in the divorce papers?
It's safe to say this man seeking advice from the "Dear Prudence" column in Slate is possibly angry at some other stuff and not just at his wife's choice of baby names. But, boy is he furious. While he spent three days holed up compiling a massive PowerPoint presentation, his better half went and scribbled down some wacky names for their daughter-to-be on some regular 'ol paper and now he's got steam blowing out his ears. All that time he spent! And she comes up with Polk? Polk! Way to push his buttons, lady!
This is what he wrote:
"My wife and I were elated to find out we are going to have a daughter! We decided to discuss names last week and gave ourselves three days to prepare our ideas. I spent a ton of time on this and even put together a presentation with each name and the reasons I liked them. I chose some important family names and some special names from literature and the arts—all of which I think would be beautiful."
OK, fair enough. Then he loses his cool. The wife's approach was all wrong. While hubby came in armed with a golden briefcase filled with a list of spectacular names, hers was scribbled in crayon on toilet paper. (Bascially.)
"My wife showed up with a few names scribbled on the back of a grocery list as if she hardly even cared! Also her ideas were trashy misspelled names like Lauryn and Bethonie and 18th-century presidents’' names like Madison, Taylor, and Polk. I was so disappointed in my wife for not taking this seriously, as I feel it is very important."
He's so upset, he's considering divorce. Div-orce. Over a baby name list.
"Honestly, this episode has me questioning the foundation of our relationship, let alone raising a child together. Obviously, I can’t just leave now because I am committed to the child, but how can my wife and I get past this major red flag in our relationship? I have tried to discuss it with her and she doesn’t even think she has done anything wrong, so we are at a major impasse."
The internet has gone mad, attacking the guy for getting so serious over his pregnant's wife inability to become Shakespeare in the name department. Let's cut her some slack - one, she's pregnant. And two, she's dealing with this guy.
Here is what Prudence had to say in response to this maniac:
"I have good news for you, which is that your wife’s behavior is not anywhere near the neighborhood of red-flaggery, and after you’ve recovered from the initial shock conveyed in your letter, I hope you’ll agree. It’s not even in yellow-flag territory...The fact that your wife didn’t write an essay for each of her ideas is not an indication that she’s going to make a lousy parent or that she’s less excited than you about having a child. For my own well-being, I’ll assume you were joking or exaggerating about having contemplated, even for a minute, ending an otherwise loving marriage because your wife thinks 'Bethonie”' is a cute name.
As for what makes a good name, more broadly, 'trashy' and 'misspelled' are highly subjective categories...I guarantee you that there is at least someone out there who considers your 'special literary names' to be affected and not nearly as unique as you think they are. 'This is our daughter, Bartleby the Scrivener' may have a nice ring to you but won’t to everyone...The takeaway here is not to get attached to the delusion that your taste is objectively good and your wife’s taste is objectively bad, about names or anything. Apologize to your wife profusely for your unkind overreaction, then have another brainstorming session—have several—and try to bring a great deal more generosity of spirit and open-mindedness to the process."
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