Dinah’s name

Many people ask about how we came up with Dinah Aeryn for the name of our daughter. We get a lot of “Is Dinah a family name?” Strangely, no one really asks us about Aeryn. Must be because its a middle name. Anyway, I warn you, its a tale of monster geekery. However, this geekery was perpetrated by my wife as well as me.

We had the name of Aeryn even before we were expecting. (The name is pronounced like the more common “Erin.”) Aeryn caught our attention thanks to the science fiction television show Farscape, specifically the character of ex-Peacekeeper Officer Aeryn Sun. Mostly what attracted us to the name was the spelling. We thought it was pretty. It doesn’t hurt that the character that brought us to that name is a tough positive ass-kicking female role model. Although, maybe she’s too quick to jump to violence.

My beautiful and charming wife, however, would not stand for having Aeryn as a first name, which I was lobbying for. Her reasoning: I have a first cousin named Erin, and the phonetic similarity would cause much confusion among people, specifically my grandparents. I think its silly, but as part of a marriage, and certainly as one half of a parenting team, one must compromise. Sarah said Aeryn would be a good second name, and I protested some, but eventually gave in.

So, how did we get to a first name? She was one of three Sarahs in her grade school class, and she didn’t like it. Also, we know about 10,000 people named Jason that we talk to quite often. Sarah was looking for something that was an older name and was less common now. She had proposed names such as Eleanor (“Gee, I think you’re swell” or “Rigby picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been.”) and Audrey. (Audrey was the name of my Grandma, my Dad’s mom. For some reason, it just didn’t work. A long story, maybe, for another time.) Those are two I remember, but there were more. I vetoed a lot of them. Nothing really worked.

I’m a comics geek, I’m 29 and I’m still collecting. And when I say collecting I mean “I’m reading for the story and just not throwing them away.” One afternoon, I was sitting in the family room reading comics while Sarah was watching tv. I started to read the latest Birds of Prey from DC comics. (As an aside, I’d like to link to a DC page about BoP directly, however, DC’s web page sucks ass. That’s okay, Marvel‘s sucks ass too.)

One of the main characters of Birds of Prey is the Black Canary. The current Black Canary is actually the second one, but I guess that doesn’t really matter to this story. In any case, her civilian name is Dinah Laurel Lance. On the second or third page of that particular issue, Oracle (Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl) had called her Dinah. I stopped and thought of the last time I heard that name. The only other Dinahs I could think of was was the late Dinah Shore (some thanks go to Adam Sandler) and, of course, the old campfire song of “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah.”

I turned to Sarah and said “Hey, what about Dinah as a first name.” Sarah said she needed a few minutes to think about it. As time went on, she become more and more attached to the name. I think after just 10 minutes, it was set.

We both felt good about it, but waited to tell people until it was closer, or at least the baby was here. As I said a few times, “Nothing is set in stone until we see her and make sure she looks like a Dinah Aeryn.”

I’m not one to believe in signs or anything, but there was a weird occurrence that I want to commit to the web for all eternity: About the same time we found out that we were to have a baby girl and we were deciding on the name, the rock band Live was getting a lot of air play with their single Heaven.

The lyrics to Heaven contain the following: I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven / I look at my daughter, and I believe. For some reason, these lyrics really resonated with me. (With how I feel now, I think I was already falling in love with my daughter, even though I hadn’t seen her. I definitely know that I’ve only been this enamored with one other person.) I decided that I needed to have this song, so I set about going to buy the CD.

I got to the story to buy the record and went to the Ls to look for the Live CDs. I knew the name of the song, but never took the time to look at/for the name of the album. Once I saw the name of the album, I figured it was a sign that Sarah and I were on the right track.

The name of the album is Birds of Pray. I loved the homonym of “pray” instead of “prey,” especially considering the lyrics in Heaven. And I figured, while not exactly the same as the comic where we got Dinah’s name, it was close enough. Close enough to give me chills.

In any case, this is the tale of geekiness that got my daughter her name.