Musing

My New Best Friend

They say you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy pets, which are pretty much the same thing. So I’ve gone and done just that. Meet Tonks:

Nymphadora Tonks, to be proper about it.

She is a 6-week-old female algerian gray hedgehog, and she thinks that Drew is a jungle gym. I’ve named her Tonks on account of the fact that she is definitely a Hufflepuff (unlike her Gryffinclaw owner, yours truly), and there is only one prominent female Hufflepuff and it seems to fit. But I’m not 100% happy with the name, which has had me spending many hours today searching for a suitable replacement. I keep coming up with brilliant options–Pippin, Tybalt, Inigo Montoya–all of which are ruled out by the simple fact of gender. And once again I’ve run up against a time-tested writerly problem:

Why is it so much easier to come up with awesome names for boys than girls?

This might be just a personal quirk, but I find that female names tend to be over-wrought and uninventive, rarely demonstrating the kind of innate personality you find in boys’ names. All of my favorite female names are actually ambi-sex names: Jordan, Izzy, Colby, Jamie. Some of my favorite female names of all time weren’t even female names at all, but just male names hijacked by the forward-thinking parents of females: Evan, Wesley, etc. Even my own name, Morgan, isn’t strictly female, though the most famous literary example is (oh Morgaine le Fey, how often I am met with jokes about you…).

Yes, there are crappy boy names, as well as some examples of this phenomenon going the other way–Jayne Cobb from Firefly (“Jayne is a girl’s name…”), Alice Cooper, the title character of “A Boy Named Sue”–but it’s far less common. I think it’s because girl names suck and boy names are inherently awesome. Why the heck is this? And what the heck can anyone really do about it?

Just something I’ve noticed. I await your replies. And any suggestions for what I might name my new baby other than “Tonks,” although it is a pretty bomb name and I kind of want to decorate her cage like a Hufflepuff common room…too nerdy? You decide.

Indecisively yours,
M.M. Jordahl
“I was never a prefect myself,” said Tonks brightly…. “My Head of House said I lacked certain necessary qualities.”
“Like what?” said Ginny, who was choosing a baked potato.
“Like the ability to behave myself,” said Tonks.

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