Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's in a name?

Clearly my parents didn't sit together, look back through their family histories, make a few lists, negotiate a bit, then decide that "greengirl" would be just the name for their firstborn child. It's a bit goofy as pseudonyms go, but it is quite apt for me on a number of levels, including at times the goofiness. Up to now my husband has simply been "my husband" when referred to herein. Other bloggers have very creative names for their spouses, SO's, partners, ...... So I have been thinking very hard to try to come up with a moniker for my beloved. I have rejected the suggestion of anything green for him (greenman, greengiant), and "he who has yet to be named" takes way too long to type. The thinking about a nickname for him led me to think about what the overall impression of him is in my mind; no small thing after this many years together. So, here are some of the possibilities I explored:

dominus - latin [master of a house , lord, master]. Transf., [husband or lover; a master, owner, possessor; employer; ruler, lord, controller].
This covers a lot of bases, most of which fit pretty well, it sounds strong and no-nonsense, but it doesn't really sound like a name.

ara -ae f. [altar]; hence [refuge , protection]; 'arae', plur., [name of certain rocks at sea].
I liked the connotations of this one. He is my rock, my refuge and protector. And he may be more than pleased to think of himself as the alter at which I worship. This one does sound like a name too, but it's too vowel-y a name. My husband is more of a consonant-y kind of guy. Besides - if you look it up it means a lot of other things in other languages; it's a Phillipina name meaning "beautiful eyelashes." So I just don't think it will work.

I tried a number of other single words (husband, lover, friend, guide, man) in other languages; he is true blue Heinz 57, but a good bit German and his family name is Scottish so those were on the list. Nothing that I could spell or pronounce easily made itself apparent.

Then there are the obvious: stud, big dog, lover-boy...... Yea, I just can't see myself typing any of those in any seriousness.

I even turned to literature. The frontrunner there was Petruchio, he who tamed the shrew. He had the completely recalcitrant, headstrong, utterly defiant Katherine eating out of his hand by Act V. Just picture Denzel Washington uttering these lines:
I will be master of what is mine own.
She is my goods, my chattels, she is my house,
My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing.
It's quite an image. And along the way his methods would make most Dom's proud, objectification, humiliation, sleep deprivation....But, in the end, Petruchio's motives were suspect, actually they were pretty out in the open, he wanted the money. My husband's motives are all much more noble. I also think I might just be unable to keep a straight face thinking of him as "Petruchio."

When I try to capture an image to sum him up in my mind, he is so many things. He is my rock, my lover, sometimes the object of my worship, the one who tamed me, but also the one who pushes me, my friend. In a word, he is my husband. So, as unimaginative as it is, that word has come to mean so much to me that I think I will keep it.


  1. I just wussed out and picked one of the most common names I knew to identify my partner. I got tired of trying to distinguish the "he"s in a text so he's now christened "Michael".

    Better than the last name I gave him --mmmmmmmmm not going there again!!

  2. Well, you've still gotten in "master of the house" so I think the word works pretty well.
    Altho' frankly, I'm a little disappointed he's not He of the Beautiful Eyelashes. (HoBE)
    Perhaps, in my own head...

  3. Sir J, Sleep? Waht sleep? Why sleep?

    ~~doll~~ so now i'm insanely curious - did the lst one get yoy in trouble? or was just horrible? or funny?

    Jz - oohh - or HotBE - bet he would love that. seriously - that literally made me laugh out loud - the people on the train all moved away from me a little.

  4. laughs.. the last nickname got me the dreaded raised eyebrow of "I'll exact my revenge, you little blonde smartass".

    Thank God he's a man with a sense of humour and unburdened by any notions of self-importance.

  5. Does he has a preference on what he wants to be called?


  6. doll,
    ooh - i hate "the look" and i have to imagine - from your writing, that a sense of humor and true sense of self would be crucial.

    I have asked him, a number of times - his response has always been that i should pick something and if he liked my choice, he would reward me, if not - then he woudl let me know that too.

  7. I suppose it was easier for me... I didn't come up with Ashaman. It was the name he was using when I first met him.

  8. Spirited, I like that name for him - in fact - i like all the creative names i see people have come up with - i just couldn't make it work.

  9. What about just using his initials or something?

  10. Greengirl, I like your psuedonym, and the photo of the road on your blog. They go together well as does your blog name. They all conjure up images of nature,and how amazing it is. How amazingly different men and women are in their nature.
    I really enjoyed reading your post, as I went through some of the same thought processes. I could have gone on thinking, but then I figured that people would understand us best by what I write and who we are. "Husband" is unique, no one else uses it, and that's who he is. Aren't you glad that's settled?

  11. Spirited,
    I may down the line - i'm a little worried i will get careless and type the whole name. This whole exercise was a bit of silliness - but it did get me to think about how i view him - and husband does really encomapss a lot. Thanks

    Thank you so much. That is indeed part of the "green". And I have been noticing more and more differences between us as we get closer - quite the paradox. You mention that you write, do you have a blog?