So it hits you one summer-like morning, where the birds are chirping, the cicadas just waking up, and the sunshine is smacking you straight in the face because you forgot to shut your blinds last night: there are two/three/four people you'd very much like to 'ship!
This is awesome! And as anyone knows in the Pokémon community, our kind of 'ship derives from the -shippy suffix, as opposed to using numbers, name splicing, name smooshing, or simply initials.
Sure though, the Pokémon fandom also imploys initials, name splicing, and smooshing. But that's easy to do! AAML (Ash and Misty Love), Shishi (Satoshi and Shigeru) and TakeKoji (Takeshi and Kojirou). See? Easy peasy.
But the -shipping suffix is by far more complicated than it seems. Yes, a lot of you seem to think it's easy: take a couple, find a common connection of sorts, take that word/those words as the basic "word" and slap -shipping on the end.
Please. It's not that easy. And it's all of you who make it so much more complicated. Yes, you. All you future 'shippers-who-use-the-suffix. Why? Because you're not thinking outside the box. Let me tell you what you're missing:
a 100% complete (In)Complete List of 'Shippers.
"But LT," you cry, "how can that be?! That doesn't make any sense what-so-ever!"
Hah. Does too. And I'll explain it.
As complete as the List keeps trying to be, it will never be complete. It's logically impossible to track down every last combination of two/three/four/etc people and coin a 'ship name for them. Yes, it is. And that's why it's never going to stop being called the (In)Complete 'Shippers' List.
But what it lacks is already pre-made 'ship names.
Let's take a recent example. A dear lost soul asked, "What's the name of Ash's Bulbasaur and May's Bulbasaur?"
I knew it had a name; I'd seen it around Bulbagarden in comparison to Advanceshipping. Couldn't place it, despite having a good sense of 'ship names. Went to see if it was on the List. Lo and behold, 'twas not. That was strange. I didn't know where to start looking, but lucky enough, I found it in Bulbapedia's entry on Advanceshipping. Well, that was a lucky break, right?
LONG STORY SHORT: 'ship names exist, but not always formally "submitted" for addition to the list, despite being coined and commonly known to some. The List is NOT PERFECT, nor does it have every 'ship name given. So if it's not on the list, ask first, just in case. Someone might have the answer.
But that's not what we're here for.
GUIDE TO NAMING YOUR NEW 'SHIP
1) Be it Ever So Humble, Chances Are...You Are Too Late
Before making something up, check Bulbagarden's list. Out of any 'shipping list you'll find on the WWW, this is going to be the most up-to-date and the most reliable. For SPPf members, if you don't know where Bulbagarden is...you haven't been around the Serebii forums long enough. And if you know of it, but never bothered to look...well, look now.
Crtl+F for one of the names you are looking sure, and be SURE to use their known English name. Some of the Japanese names are there, but these are special cases. Also, characters with alterate names are listed, such as the Jackson/Vincent, Dani/Marina, and Yoshi/Jimmy controversies. But in those cases, it's only for a few. Names not in parentheses are the more common list name.
Oh, and double-check your spelling of the name if you aren't quite sure. Damian versus Damien or Shauna versus Shawna (alternate spellings, same person), or Pheobe versus Phoebe (common mispellings). You might even get results for both; who knows. Check...then check again, just in case.
Please note: dub names are beginning to repeat. We currently have two Tysons, two Lizas, two Joshuas, two Mays, two Daisys (less so), two Drakes, two Spensers, and maybe a couple Jimmys and Marinas. The list tries its best to distinguish their origin for you, as to not get mixed up. Pay close attention. And Brendan? Brendan =/= Brandon. The former is the RuSa hero, the latter is a Frontier Brain, not a typo.
If you do find your 'ship there, DO NOT CHALLENGE IT. It's coined, end of story. There will be no, "But this is better!" arguing. Why? Because someone beat you already, and if it's proven to be by a fair amount of time, it's officially been established. There's no changing it. There are exceptions, of course, but this results in the Brock/Lucy and Ash/Anabel fiascos, and that's covered later on.
If there's no proof you can find, peaches and cream. You could have a pairing that's nameless. Yay!
Now comes the part people mess up on: the name itself.
2) The Dictionary is Mortal, and So is the List
Alright folks, I'm going to be honest: the List is not to be taken full stock in. Just because a word or a choice of words isn't there, doesn't mean it's not taken. This is VITAL to understand. Do not, and I mean DO NOT, look at the list, see the base word not there and expect it to be free.
Now read carefully.
Before you submit your shiny new 'ship name (aka SNS), take into consideration with the known above. The word isn't there, right? But what if someone already used it, but it was never submitted? Oh no! You don't know!
That means there's only one way to fine out. How many search engines do you know of? Google, Yahoo, AOL, Ask Jeeves, AlltheWeb.com, there are so many to choose from! Guess why I mentioned them?
You're going to be using them to search for your 'ship name. Yes. With three different suffixes.
These are a couple tips to help you:
a) 'Ship names are shared between fandoms!
Pokémon is not the only fandom who uses the 'shipping suffixes. I can't stress this enough. Yu-Gi-Oh and Fire Emblem are the ones that readily come to mind. This is perfectly alright. Quite a few are shared; no one has a beef with it, and neither shall you.
But you're going to miss the point.
DO NOT just glaze the first page, see nothing pokemon related, then turn back and think it's okay. It's NOT. You want to make sure it's 100% positive that it's not in use. You will be looking through ALL the pages the search engines bring up. If nothing seems to be Pokémon related, you're free!
If there is a Pokémon couple attached to your SNS, refer to point "a.1".
a.1) Don't Be a Scrooge: Share and Give Way
Upon the chance you discover that your SNS has in fact been claimed by a Pokémon couple and it's not in relation to Bulbagarden's 'Shippers List, guess what? SUBMIT THAT COUPLE TO BULBAGARDEN, no matter who it is. It's now your responsibility. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. It's claimed, and rightfully so. "a.1" makes "b" all the more important.
b) Thoroughness Equals Happiness
If you do find your SNS already married and poorly known, don't be a widow-maker and steal the SNS for your own selfish reasons. Because if it gets popular, for whatever reason, your secret will get out the moment someone does a search for it.
The result? On that someday, it's going to be obvious your SNS is a twin. Luckyshipping is a triplet, didn't you know? Do you really want someone to share your SNS with someone else? Hardy. You want to be the only one. You want to be the original.
For Example: when I coined Neglectshipping, you know what I did? I double-checked to make sure it was a free 'ship. I searched on Google. No hits. None what-so-ever. Zip, zero, nada. This is June '03. In Sept '04, someone suddenly says Neglectshipping is Ash/Cassidy.
Cue record screech. Say what now?! I immediately search engined it to death. No evidence existed of it being used for Ash/Cassidy. But people continued to say it was. Thus began my battle to make one version the more well-known of the two. I'm still fighting it.
And it's more unfair when Ash/Cassidy is ALSO called Awkwardshipping. Extremely unfair.
You. Don't. Want. Your. SNS. To be a twin. Ever.
Are we clear? Good! ^_^ Now. Unto something different.
3) Congratulations, You Had Quadruplets!
Speaking of twins, there are also parents. Parents are when character A and character B were spawned so many 'ship names, it became ridiculous.
When searching for the 'ship name of your couple on a list, don't stop at the first hit it lands on. Parents can be any couple. And I'll give you an example.
When Lucy's episode debuted in Japan, 'ship names for it EXPLODED. Squintshipping, Blushingshippng, Luckshipping, and so many others. This is NOT cool. And these mini-booms create confusion and fighting.
Do you even want to know what happened with Ash/Anabel? Personally, that was hell. Pissed me right off. Thankfully, a decision was reached, and is now formally and forever known as Abilityshipping.
You want to avoid this at all costs. Parenting sucks as much as twinning. And sometimes, one leads to another.
Arroganceshipping is both Morty/Falkner and Gary/Drew.
Honorshipping is Morty/Falkner.
Redthreadshipping is Gary/Drew.
You never know when a 'ship has been twinned or parented, so don't stop at the first 'ship name you come across with your couple in it. Chances are, if there's a twin, there's also a single. This is not always the case, but it doesn't hurt to check. If a twin has a single, the single is the better bet for the name to use. No one likes to be confused by seeing one 'ship name, getting their hopes up, and finding out it's the Other One. Use the single. Not the twin.
In the case of Neglectshipping vs Awkwardshipping, Awkwardshipping should be the choice 'ship name for Ash/Cassidy, because it's the single. And that should leave Neglectshiping for Brendan/Misty, because yes, that was an original 'ship at its birth.
By the way, those Gary/his hand 'ships? Inside fandom joke; you had to be there (for the record, I wasn't). Don't try to add more, don't try to contest them. They're funny. Let it go.
In the case of parented couples with three or more and not so popular, like James/Misty (a serious "woah" case), you might want some opinions on which is used most frequently. This could require some search engine work and forum posting, but don't just nab the first one you see.
-is your couple already named? Check.
-is your SNS already taken? Search.
-are too many names driving you nuts? Ask.
-did you know so many names even existed? Learn.
Don't be ignorant 'shippers. Don't be arrogant 'shippers. Be smart 'shippers. Don't pussy-foot. Go the extra mile. And don't say, "I didn't know," when you have the power to.
And for the love of Ho-oh and Lugia, if you are new to the 'shipping game, don't play like you know the rules. Jumping on the bandwagon before you know what's what will only cause a traffic accident. Play smart, boys and girls, and pay attention to the drivers around you.
-Luna Tiger (currently using the name Natane; AKA Toraphi)