I recently became the proud mama to a Vespa LX150 Primavera. Yes, she is a scooter. And yes, I’ve determined that she’s female. Until it is my time to birth a human, this beautiful piece of machinery is the closest thing that I’ll have to a child – minus the diaper changes and sleepless nights, of course. (Hat tip to all of the parents out there raising human children.)
Nevertheless, with this responsibility comes one thing with which all parents struggle: choosing a name. I’ll be bestowing on my baby a label that will stay with her for years. I want the name to be classic yet modern, and fun without being cliché. But most of all, I want it to feel … right.
Taking her for a spin around Chicago hasn’t produced any epiphanies, so I’ve decided to consult the Internet for assistance. This means that, yes, I’m desperate for help.
The year’s trendiest names
I figured that I’d start with the most popular names given to U.S. baby girls. It’s not that I want to follow those naming trends, but I did want to see if they’d spark any ideas.
A bigger trend that I noticed: The top six names for girls all end in “a.”
1. Emma 2. Olivia 3. Sophia 4. Isabella 5. Ava 6. Mia
Of these names, Isabella would be appropriate for an Italian-made scooter. “Isabella” … “Bella” … “Izzy." But none of these felt right.
I took the quiz What Should You Name Your Car, Actually. It involves selecting multiple-choice picture answers from questions such as “What’s your favorite movie?” and “Finish this sentence: I like big ____.”
I’m unclear how answers to these questions factor into an algorithm to determine the “perfect” name for my darling vehicle, as they cater to my personality rather than hers. But the quiz was fun.
The final result: Becca. Another girl's name ending in “a.” This one didn't feel right, either.
The “Name Your Car” formula
Choice can be overwhelming, so I love when a math-like formula can spit out a solution. Nancy of the blog Nancy’s Baby Names came up with a straightforward formula for naming your car (or in my case, a scooter):
- What year was your car made?
- To you, what gender is the car?
- At what age did you get the car?
I own a 2015 Vespa. For me, the scooter is female. I got it at the age of 35. So I go to the 2014 girl name rankings (as 2015 isn’t out yet) and scroll down to No. 35. The name: Scarlett.
As much as I adore “Gone With the Wind,” my baby is definitely not a Scarlett. Even if she were the color red, I would find the name a little too cliché.
Incorporate the color
A relative suggested that I consider my Scooter’s color: white. She tossed out “White Lightning,” which reminds me of “Grease.” Yikes, I don’t need people imitating John Travolta each time I say that name. “White Ninja”? For some reason, that one sounds racist. “Pearl”? Too prissy.
Name.Kitchen has compiled a handful of online name generator tools. One of these tools, Yossarian Lives, produces a mosaic of visuals based on specific keywords you enter. The idea is that this photographic montage could spark more words that could eventually lead to a name. It's handy for those of us who "think" in visuals.
I typed in "white scooter" and scrolled through the image results: a mosaic of white-sand beaches, eggs, beautiful women, forests and fairytale architecture. Nothing immediately sprang to mind, but I found myself wanting to travel to exotic lands -- ideally zipping around on my Vespa. There's something to this tool, so perhaps I'll come back to it for inspiration later.
Social media crowdsourcing
Whenever I come to a crossroads in decision-making, I like to toss the question out to my Facebook community, just to see what my friends from around the world might recommend.
This time around, the consensus seemed to swirl around one name: Vivian, or Viv.
I do some research on the name Vivian. It derives from the Latin word vivus, which means “alive.” According to the Urban Dictionary: “Any girl with this name is very likely to be pretty with an amazing personality. The name has a sense of beauty with a drop of danger and adventure and fun to it.”
Ooh, I like the sound of this one …
However, I think I’ll need a week of riding before I can officially bestow a name. There's something magical about leaning on intuition when it comes to naming things and people -- waiting for that "ah-ha" moment when a name resonates so well that you feel it in your gut. That hasn't happened for me yet, even with the assistance of the Internet.
So why rush it? It's not like my parents, a.k.a. the "grandparents" to my Vespa baby, are pressuring me.
Pressure for human motherhood by them, however, is another story.