Once again, Girls Gone Child has expanded her family – and our list of given names.
Our special Saturday Baby Name of the Day is Boheme.
Rebecca Woolf is the blogger behind Girls Gone Child, a project launched when she found herself unexpectedly expecting her firstborn, son Archer Sage. She’s also the author of Rockabye: From Wild to Child.
Earlier this year, she announced that she was expecting again – and this time, twin girls! Speculation raged for weeks, intensifying after she revealed their initials – R and B – and their top two boys’ names – Revere Blaze and Vox Shepherd.
The girls arrived earlier this week: Reverie Lux and Boheme Shalom. Three of the four names have some precedent, but Boheme? That one knocks my socks off!
Bohème is the French word for a bohemian – there once was a Kingdom of Bohemia, but it has long since been used to describe a certain style – artistic, unconventional, free-spirited.
In French, the term bohemién was initially interchangeable with gypsy, but by the nineteenth century it applied to the artists in Paris’ Latin Quarter. Henry Murger penned Scènes de la vie de bohème beginning in 1845. Based on his own life as a struggling writer, the story inspired the most famous use of the term: Puccini’s masterwork, the opera, La bohème.
The tale ends tragically, with the death of the lovely Mimi. But she’s immortal in the enduring tale, one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide, adapted for movies and more.
In this case, Boheme brings to mind Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face – avant garde, but in a very accessible, attractive way.
Boheme just barely works as a baby name, but here’s why I think it wears as well as many unusual choices:
- With names like Genevieve and Vivienne on the rise, Boheme will be one of many mademoiselles;
- Short form Bo is boyish, but also has precedent, like the medieval Isabeau, as well as 80s pin-up Bo Derek;
- She sounds something like poem, making her pronunciation easier to explain;
- Even if you’ve never heard an aria, you’re probably dimly aware of the opera – if only because Broadway hit Rent owes its plot to Puccini – and have a sense that the Boheme in question is a girl.
Overall, Boheme is startling. The only other use I could think of was Patrick Swayze’s cross-dressing character in 1995’s To Wong Foo – Vida Boheme. But much searching turned up two things – a very small number of Bohemes in the US Census records – maybe half a dozen. And here’s an equally ahead-of-the-curve mama who had Boheme on her short list of possible middle names.
She’s an unusual choice, but one that feels just right for the GGC family – and who knows? Maybe more baby girls, too.