What’s the best thing an American father can give his 7 year-old daughter? If you answered anything other than “straight up Disney Cred,” then you’re a better dad/parent/human than I am—which isn’t saying much, so maybe you should just slow down.
IDGAF, I gave my daughter Disney Cred. What the hell is Disney Cred? I don’t even know. It’s a phrase I just made up. I’m assuming it means street cred among Disney fans. A status conferred from one little child to the next for having the proper Disney branded accessories or requisite number of viewing hours or knowing all the YouTube channels where people play with Disney dolls and do annoying voices (there are more of these than there should be).
Or in Elsa’s case, having the newest Disney Queen named after you.
For 7 years Jill and I have been responding to “WHAT THE HELL KIND OF NAME IS ELSA, YOU JERKWADS?” with shrugs and blank stares. Sometimes, Jill would toss me directly under the bus, telling our interrogator: “Why don’t you go ask Asshat over there?” Meaning me.
She’d pretend that I unilaterally named our children. Claiming that all of our kids’ names started in my head and stopped with my decree. At least that’s how she chooses to misremember it. Which is LAUGHABLE since she makes the majority of the household decisions, going so far as to draft me into her War on Normal.
Her tune changed this last winter.
In one of the most perfectly timed, cruelest jokes ever, Disney released Frozen. While this movie (about a goddamned ice queen, who freezes the entire world because of puberty or some shit) was playing inside theaters, outside we were getting pounded with the polar vortex. I have no doubt that Disney paid for that weather to happen.
The movie filled theaters. Because there was nothing else to do. It was either watch Frozen or be frozen. And once those kids came home and everyone was completely snowed in, they began serenading us with the hit song from the movie, “Let it go,” prompting me to reply with my song “WILL YOU JUST FUCKING DROP IT?!” Which then became Lil Jon’s hit “Turned Down For What.” but that’s a long story and one I haven’t made up yet.
It was a loooong winter.
When Frozen came out, Jill must have seen it 8 times. Each time, coming home to report to me that the ice queen’s name was Elsa and how awesome is that? She even bought the soundtrack. To sing along with. All the time. Exactly what they did to Jack Torrance at the Overlook that one winter.
Jill was damn giddy about it. More so than Elsa herself.
Elsa seemed to take it all in without expressing enormous wonder and happiness over the new name recognition. Which I found strange at first. Because, let’s be honest, it’s not like we were tripping over Elsas up until now. We know a handful of Julias and some Emmas and a Skyler or two—but we’ve never met another Elsa. And here is this new mega-hit movie, enormously larger than life—having successfully frozen the real world along with the animated one—and it’s got everyone suddenly calling for Elsa. And our Elsa was all like “whatevs . . .”
Until she noticed that whenever her name was called, every girl aged 10 and under would turn and look at her like “What the fuck did your mom just call you?”
Every time Jill called out for Elsa. All the girls. Whatever they were doing, suddenly dropped. Eyes widening. Heads swiveling. Discretion abandoned, some shouting questions to Elsa like they were the press corps or paparazzi: “Is your name ELSA? Like in FROZEN?!” Then they’d cautiously approach. And they’d all belong to Elsa.
When we were in Arizona I saw this happen a few times. We’d be at the pool and she’d cough or something and I’d check on her.
“Elsa? Elsa, you okay?”
The girls swimming nearby, turning: Dafuuuuuuuuq?
“Wanna play ‘mermaids’?” Elsa, smiling to her new subjects. And “mermaids” they would play.
She even stopped a group of girls to introduce herself: “Hi, I’m Elsa,” and when it didn’t get an immediate reaction, she added: “Yeah, some people think my name sounds exactly like Elsa in Frozen.”
It’s all about making the connection.
The attention has died down some, now that the movie is in the rear-view and we all have such horrifically short memories and attention spans. I bet most of you are already reading someone else’s blog. Or a tweet. Myself, I’ve walked away from this post several times already. What was I saying?
The lasting effect for me, however, is vindication. The name “Elsa” has cracked the top 100 baby names this year. So no more “JERKWAD” comments. We named our daughter Elsa, before it became cool—ice cold, in fact. I guess that makes Elsa a hipster? Or us?
The Funny thing is: even though I have been vindicated by pop culture, all that blame heaped onto me by Jill for allegedly going rogue with the baby naming, didn’t magically transform into credit for being 7 years ahead of pop culture. It just morphed into silence.
I guess that’s the best this man can get.
Had I actually unilaterally named our kids, here’s what we’d be yelling at public pools:
The list is better when you factor in my last name: Terry.