In general, on this blog, I use an algorithmically-derived set of initials to refer to people rather than full names, so as to protect the innocent (them) and the guilty (me). However, I will go so far as to reveal that my dog A. has a fairly normal name.
This was almost not the case. I got her with my ex-boyfriend N.T., and choosing a name for her was the second-most difficult trial we faced in our relationship, after picking a color to paint the bathroom, which process very nearly brought us to blows in the middle of Barnes & Noble. (He wanted, if memory serves, Majestic Violet, and I wanted Cleopatra’s Gown. In the end we compromised and used both, in wide stripes, along with gold swirls and sheer fabric so that the bathroom looked like something out of 1,001 Arabian Nights.)
The problem with naming our dog was our respective histories with pets. I had grown up with a bichon frise (a small, white, fluffy breed of dog) that my family had, perversely, named Fang. (We were going to name him Horrible until we realized that we’d end up shortening it almost immediately to “Hor,” and the thought of going around our conservative southern neighborhood telling people our Hor had run away and asking if they’d seen him didn’t appeal to any of us.)
N.T., on the other hand, had grown up with cats with names like Aurora and Beautiful Music. Why I had decided to share my life with somebody who would name a cat Beautiful Music in the first place is, in the clear, harsh light of hindsight, quite beyond me, but at the time it seemed like the thing to do.
Our discussions about a name for A. would go something like this:
N.T.: How about “Lucinda”?
Me: How about “Mud”?
N.T.: How about “Aurelia”?
Me: How about “Three Hole Punch”?
We finally settled on the mutually agreeable but repulsive name “Cookie”; luckily, his controlling, overbearing mother convinced us to change our minds, and we found A.