So, I'm not really looking for more potential names, because we're really kind of happy with the one's we've got it narrowed down to--I'm mostly just hoping for opinions from the general populace rather than my limited circle of friends/family.
I'm due to have our first, a girl, on March 18. In a pseudo-tradition that my mother decided to make up, the first girl has the same first initial as her mother, and the middle name "Michelle," so we were looking for P names. Our short list currently consists of
Pandora, which is my husband's favorite. He likes the mythology reference, the pop-culture familiarity, that it sounds modern without actually being "popular" in real use; I'm a bit put off by the pop-culture of it--its use in Avatar and the internet radio station, among others. If there were just the mythological reference, I'd totally go for it, but the other stuff kind of annoys me. And I don't care for any of the nicknames we've come up with (except "Pan," which I could see on a teen, but not so much on a toddler). Most of our friends (who are mostly bohemian-type sci-fi/fantasy geeks, and proud of it) seem to like this one best, though.
Priscilla, which seems to be our middle ground. We both like it (it's really amazing how much the name has grown on us). But most of our friends (see previous geeky mention) think "prissy, snooty princess." There's a high likelihood that any daughter of mine will be just that (really, I'm a lot like that), so I'm not sure I mind too much. Most of our family has been voting for this one. They think Pandora is too "out there."
and Portia, which is my favorite--I think it sounds strong, but still feminine--but everyone in my husband's family reacts with "That's a car." This has resulted in a large bruise in the middle of my forehead from the number of facepalm reactions I've had. Maybe it's the rural American upbringing? Or am I really the last person outside of liberal arts academia to realize that Portia was a woman's name millennia before Henry Ford was a twinkle in his daddy's eye? I can't tell if it's just them, or if everyone is going to think the same thing (if it's everyone, I don't think I could handle that much frustration). My husband has said that with this name, she's not allowed to turn 4 until she can respond to every "Like the car?" with "No, you
, like the Shakespearean heroine." He insists that we start training her at the same time we're teaching her "What does a cow say?"
My husband originally nixed Portia back in my first trimester. We ran a poll on Pandora and Priscilla on facebook, and then I resubmitted Portia for his consideration about a month ago. My husband keeps on insisting to me that Portia is the only name I'm ever going to be happy with, and so that's what we're going to name her, even though he's made it no secret that he doesn't really care for it and it would be a name he have to get used to, since Porsche is also his first thought when hearing it, and he just doesn't see it on a person. I don't really believe that he's okay with it when he constantly feels the need to remind me what a compromise it would be on his part. I really do like Priscilla, so I'm not completely sure which name I would be sorrier to not use. I could handle dropping Pandora pretty easily (DH also likes other names that end in "-dora" for possible future daughters), but every time I come across a reference to the myth, I can't help thinking, "Man, that's a great namesake."
None of these are really names that we ever thought would be on the short list, but we've come to really like them. My husband has given his input and is now insisting that it's entirely up to me. GAH!
Here is the problem: searching for inspiration while naming products, many companies turned to myths. The names are older than the products---but the products come to mind, even for those of us familiar with the myths. I knew the story of Pandora's box long before the radio station came along, and I still think of the myth when I hear the name---but the radio station has become another association.
Same with Portia: it's not (necessarily) ignorance that causes people to think of the car, and it's not that they think the car has first dibs on the name, it's that the car's existence has created an additional association---and unfortunately has caused the name to sound like a product. Mercedes, too, was an excellent girl's name, but now it's a product and it doesn't matter who used the word first. It's sad, but I don't think it's a matter of educating the public, I think it's a matter of accepting that a name comes with ALL its associations, not just the one we like.
It does sound to me like your husband doesn't want to use the name Portia---or maybe he DOES want to, but wants to pin it on you when others don't like it. If you do end up using it, I suggest coming up with an answer to the car association that's quick and kind, and something you can say a million times without wanting to fling yourself from a cliff. Something like, "Oh! No. It's P-O-R-T-I-A. Like in Shakespeare." The "Oh!" is said as if you're a little surprised by the question. The rest is said as if OF COURSE the questioner knows Shakespeare, and that clearing up the spelling will clear up the confusion.
I looked up the name Priscilla in The Baby Name Wizard and learned something new: Priscilla is the pet form of the name Prisca. Prisca reminds me of the name Portia.
Everyone else, opinions? Pandora, Priscilla, or Portia?
Name update 06-28-2010! Peyton writes:
Portia Michelle was born on March 24. Apparently while I was pushing, my mother was on the phone, telling her mom that she thought we were going to go with Priscilla. We were just really getting used to the name attached to the baby, and really thinking we were okay with the dual connotations (especially when a couple of responses from strangers were "Oh, Shakespeare would be so proud!") when my parents went car shopping and came home with a Porsche Cayenne. They got a phenomenal deal on it, but (headdesk).