Post # 1
I’m trying to decide whether to post this because I don’t really want to watch a name I like get all ripped up, but at the same time, Darling Husband and I tend to like unusual names and I always worry that I’m going to ruin my poor kid’s life!
We don’t know the sex yet, but we’re going 80 rounds over names and finally–finally–we picked one that we both like for a boy:
Pronounced PAY-leh. The name has several associations. It’s a Hebrew name for boys meaning “marvel” and it’s also the feminine name of the Hawaiian goddess of fire. And then a lot of people know it because of Pele the famous soccer player (although Pele was actually his nickname, not his given name). My family is from Hawaii (5 generations, although not native Hawaiian–chop-suey Asian), so even though it references a female goddess, we kind of liked that nod to the culture. Ultimately, though, we like it just the way it sounds and the kid’s last name will be Madsen, so we also liked the way “Pele Madsen” sounded. The middle name will be some kind of homage to our own fathers/grandfathers, so it’ll be traditional: Charles, Kenneth, Joseph, Robert (we LOVED Charles, but Charles Madsen doesn’t work, for obvious reasons :). Oh and, we don’t want to do the whole “just call the kid by his middle name.”
We DO live in neighborhoods where off-the-beaten-track names are more de rigeur (some of the neighborhood kids names: Sebastian, Teak, Glory, Keely and Keer (twins), Garland), so it’s not like our kid would be the ONLY kid with an unusual name. Buuuttt, it IS unusual and to me, there’s a fine line between uncommon and cre8tiv-crazy-crazy (or say, “Moses” versus “Banjo”)
Crazy? Cute? Not your style but not offensive either? Thoughts?
Post # 3
Pronounciation is going to be a b*tch his entire life. EVERY time he says his name.
Could you spell it differently to make it easier, perhaps?
Other than that issue, I kind of like it….
Post # 5
All I thought when I read the name was how one of my students did his book report on a book about Pele and he’s totally obsessed with him and it’s all he can talk about. I don’t think it’s the most “offensive” (as you put it) off-the-beaten-track name that I’ve ever heard. I see it as more Hispanic origin than anything having to do with Hebrew.
Post # 6
@BothCoasts: haha Charles Madsen. Yeah, can’t go with that.
As for Pele, I agree his whole life will be “how do you pronounce your name” “how do you spell your name”. But if it means something to you culturally (I’m assuming you’re Jewish?) than I say go for it!
Post # 7
Why would anyone think the name is offensive? It’s not like your thinking about naming your kid “Assclown” or something.
Personally, I don’t like the name but I don’t have to. I do agree with @bebefly though, pronounciation will be a nightmare.
Post # 8
I don’t mind it at all and pronounced it in my head perfectly before you said how you thought it should be. Trying to make this sound right… But to me it helps that you said you’re Asian, and makes me think that if I saw an Asian person with that name is just shrug and assume it was common ethnically, as opposed to a Caucasian kid where I might assume parents were getting creative.
Post # 9
I’m not crazy about it, but I don’t know why it would offend anyone. I have an unusual (i.e. strange) name, and I’ve never liked it. Still, your son might love having a unique name. There is really no way to know, so I would go with your gut.
Post # 10
@star_dust: Funny I also thought spanish when I read it.
Post # 11
I really have no input regarding the name haha. I just have no interest in giving my opinion on somoene else’s name choice.
I did just want to comment on Pele being a Hebrew boy name. I am pretty familiar with both modern and traditional Hebrew names and I have never heard it. Pele is a Hebrew word meaning marvel or wonder but I haven’t ever seen it used as a first name (but I have seen it once as a last name). That’s all I wanted to say!
Post # 12
@UpstateCait: LOL @ assclown!
OP, I’m a fan 🙂
Post # 13
I really think it is a really bad idea. I still don’t get how to pronounce it, but I lived in HI and Pele is pr. “Pay’Lay” and it is a female goddess.
Post # 14
i just feel like people are going to see it and say “peeeeleeeeee”
Post # 15
It isn’t offensive but I have a feeling he would be asked his whole life if he was named after the soccer player.
Post # 16
Wow, I’m heartened by the number of people who like it! You should have seen my sister’s face 😕
I guess I didn’t mean “offended” in the traditional sense–I was trying to get at the nuance of somewhere between “Not what I’D choose but I don’t think it’s nutz either” since there are a lot of names that I’ve heard that are not my style but not in the “wha…??” category either.
@bebefly: *Sigh* I hadn’t thought of the pronounciation issue–probably because it’s familiar to me! You think it’ll be “Pelly” or “Peely” or something? Glad I asked for oversights like this.
@cbee: yeah, I guess I didn’t know how to phonetically spell the pronounciation. That’s the other concern–with a bunch of family in Hawaii (probably eventually my parents), it might get some raised eyebrows (“you’re named for the GODDESS Pele??”). On the one hand, my Darling Husband is like, “Yeah, but we live on the mainland, so your’e talking about maybe a few weeks a year of raised eyebrows” and the feminist part of me is like, “Eh, so it’s a bad thing for a boy to be named after a kickass female god?” But yeah, I get that you don’t want to mortgage your kid for some political notions…