Friday, November 13, 2009

A.S.S. (The Trouble with Initials)

Ah, initials... the often-overlooked little troublemakers that they are; sometimes boring, sometimes cutesy, sometimes they can set a kid up for a lifetime of shame. Occasinally this can't be helped. Take me, for instance. My parents thought it would be really cute to give me the initials TLC. They thought it would look just adorable on monogramming, which immediately then went out of style. Anyway, it was bad enough having these initials when I was small, but then when I became a teenager the rap band TLC became popular. I, an avid metalhead, would die of shame when someone would see my initials printed on something (like, unfortunately, my favorite Nirvana tape) and ask if it had to do with the band.

Some things should probably be figured out before your kid is born, though, and one of these is that if your last name is, let's say, Smith, you probably shouldn't name your daughter April Summer.

(Honestly, you shouldn't be naming your daughter April Summer anyway. April is in the spring. If you're going to do a month name and a season name, at least make sure they go together.)

Poor April Summer. Her stepsister and I, the mean little brats that we were, used to giggle behind her back all the time about her unfortunate initials. We thought about buying her one of those LL Bean backpacks with the initials monogrammed on them, but those things cost money, so we didn't. I'm sure we weren't the only ones to make fun of poor April Summer. I do so hope that girl has gotten herself married by now, hopefully to someone with a nice last name beginning in some innocuous letter like J or R, and not something that's going to continue to be annoying for her, like K or P.

Initials are tricky little buggers. Before I had Miranda, after we had finally decided on her full name (Miranda Aisling Indigo F.), which we didn't do until I was actually in labor with her, I sat down with a pen and a pad of paper and made sure that her initials didn't make anything embarrassing. MAIF was fine. So was MAF. Nothing untoward or embarrassing there. So I smugly took myself off to the hospital, confident that MY kid wasn't going to be put out about her initials.

And I proceeded to not think anything about it for the next 5 years, until my mom called me last year to tell me about some towel or whatever from Land's End that she wanted to get for Miranda. "Of course I can't get it monogrammed, though," she said. "Because her initials are MF."

Well, there you go. The thought that my baby's initials are a euphemism for the very worst form of the F-bomb had never so much as crossed my mind. I, too, an guilty of careless naming. (This is especially galling as Miranda was not my first choice for a girl's name, and the initials being MF would have been more fuel for my arsenal during the Great Naming War of 2003). So now poor little Miranda is going to have to initial things as MF for the rest of her life, or at least until she gets married or changes her name or at the very least (and I hope she does this) starts going by Aisling instead. (I wanted Aisling, but I wanted to spell it the Gaelic way and not the Americanized way, which is Ashling. In retrospect, I shoulda just Americanized it.) Well, i hope the kid forgives me. I tried. Let this be a lesson to you, ladies: Don't leave the naming until labor... bad things happen if you do.


  1. LOL. My oldest brother's initials are EGS.

  2. At least she can get married and have a different initial. I always wondered about parents who named their boys strange things which they will never get away from.... like the angry customer at the Mercedes dealership, named Donald McDonald. I could totally see why he was such an angry man, with that name.