Fact: Boy names are much harder to come up with than girl names. They just are. Particularly so, when you don’t necessarily want it to sound like it’s from a specific country. I mean, “Sara” is pretty international.
However, here’s a confession: I hate my name. Yes, yes, I know it means princess or whatever but I hated the commonality of it growing up. There was always at least 3 other Saras in the same class as me, 2 prettier Saras at the same dinner party, and at least one of my ex-boyfriends in college had refused to date a girl unless her name was yup, you got it – Sara. And the sad part is you’d think that limited his selection. It really didn’t. He dated around five in total.
I now appreciate the fact that I can go anywhere and everyone will know how to say and spell my name without any tense confrontations friends who are named “Souraya” have to deal with. So, that’s the sort of thing we wanted for our little unnamed pasta pieces! For Gnocchi, we wanted something international, but also with enough “Arabness” to keep our parents happy.
Thankfully my husband was not the eldest boy in the family where he would have had to, according to Middle Eastern tradition and culture, named his son after the father’s name. That’s not so bad if our parent’s generation had semi-international names but most of them don’t, and I for one did not want to name my child Hafeeza or Abdel Mook Majid. Yes, both very strong and ethnic names but just not “right” for us.
Then came the suggestions. Please take note that the suggestions come even before you know the sex. Yes, that’s right. You can be as early as 6 weeks pregnant and the conversations of “If it’s a boy,” or “If it’s a girl,” begin with no end in sight. People really have way too much time on their hands. Good intentions, but still, overbearing. Especially when these suggestions are thrown your way by complete strangers, i.e: distant relatives. Needless to say, I do a whole lot of smiling and nodding, and ignore.
At the end of the day my husband knew it was going to be hard. After all, it took us months to give Gnocchi her real name. Three months and we had a workable list. This was now crunch time. I was five months’ pregnant and we were running out of realistic options. We came up with this annoying game where we would spend a few hours on each letter and come up with at least 3 choices under each. That of course, didn’t go well and we ended up in a fight. It turned into a game of “name your exes” for some reason. So, for now, Cannoli will have to do!