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...you took Christopher and turned it into Krystougher.
December 27, 2013 2:19 PM   Subscribe

You named me... WHAT? Nine baby-naming rules.
posted by crossoverman (406 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Really just use rule 9.
posted by SkinnerSan at 2:23 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


#9. If ever we have a baby roomthreeseventeen, he or she will have their late grandmother's first name or late grandfather's middle name, both of which are perfectly nice, easy to pronounce and spell on the first try, and have nicknames that sound fine as well.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:24 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wanted to name my first kid It's Raining Florence and the Machines of Loving Grace Slick Henderson, but I thought better of it. Didn't want a kid, after all.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:29 PM on December 27, 2013 [39 favorites]


Friends of mine just had a baby (late on Christmas Eve!) and that poor kid has a silent Z at the end of his name. This breaks rule 5, but "Do not put unexpected silent letters in your kid's name" should be Rule 10.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:30 PM on December 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Though I did give my kid a hyphenated last name, and I've regretted it ever since. I am already apologizing to him about it regularly. (He's 3.)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:30 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I once knew a little girl named Audesc. See if you can sound that one out.

Also Nevaeh is the hot new name in the kindergarten set. That's heaven spelled backwards for those of you that need a little help.
posted by tamitang at 2:31 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do not name a baby after yourself? This advice is counter to a lot of family practices...

Anyway, this list still won't save the kid who ended up as Frank Stein....
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:31 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


We're on the verge of triple letters.

Leee Black Childers is, as usual, way ahead of us.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:31 PM on December 27, 2013


So your child is kid rabbit-rabbit?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:32 PM on December 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


1. Do not invent a name.

Heh. I think that rule has been long slain and buried. The missus works for an adoption agency, and the names of a lot of the birthmothers are...staggering. It's as if their parents just kept shaking Boggle until they got a sufficient combination of vowels and consonants to form a semi-pronounceable word.

Closer to home, our newlywed daughter has already been thinking about names whenever they decide to have kids. They want to use my name. I keep telling them to please don't do it. I don't think a kid should have the albatross of the name of an older relative hanging on their neck for the rest of their life.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:34 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


A rule I want to add is: do not name your child after objects in another language because the word is pretty if there is a chance that you will move somewhere that speaks that language, because do you really want people to know your child as 'Room' and 'Chair' because you thought the Irish for those words was cool?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 2:36 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I dunno, I think Chair is kind of an awesome name.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:37 PM on December 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


I don't think a kid should have the albatross of the name of an older relative hanging on their neck for the rest of their life.

Maybe not, but Albert Ross would be a kick-ass name!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:37 PM on December 27, 2013 [48 favorites]


If you give your kid a kooky name, there'd better be a story behind it. "You see, we named her Veniss because she was conceived in a pensione outside Venice. But Tyler's grandmother just died and her name was Missy and we wanted to honor her memory. And then I thought…Veniss! Plus the name has Macedonian roots, and I'm Macedonian!"
GQ, GQ, GQ, who do you think you're fooling? Anyone who can afford a pensione outside Venice isn't reading you.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:42 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Maybe not, but Albert Ross would be a kick-ass name!

Come on, you wouldn't want to hang that around a kid's neck, would you?

I'll be here all week
posted by Urtylug at 2:42 PM on December 27, 2013 [17 favorites]


Our rules for naming our son:

- Had to be equally appropriate as Supreme Court Justice and starting QB for the Patriots.
- First name had to work with my dad's middle name, which is now also our son's middle name.
- Had to be equally pronounceable in English and Portuguese, as half his family is in Portugal.

And so, after tossing a bunch of names around at random, we settled on Paulo Henry.

I'm quite glad the bun currently in my oven is of the female variety because we absolutely could not come up with a second boy's name that fit the criteria that we both actually liked. Plenty of names one of us liked and the other wouldn't name a dog.

Our girl's first name is after her father's favorite book and her middle name is my mom's middle name. Bonus: I googled and as far as I can tell, there are currently no strippers sharing the name. It's not a popular name right now, but it is common enough that I do worry that suddenly! It will become inexplicably trendy. Sophia has got to start the decline soon and if our name is next... Well, I'll cut someone. Not entirely sure who.
posted by sonika at 2:46 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Look out for all the little Daenerys's that'll soon be running around (heard a mother calling back her Hermione a couple of months ago)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:49 PM on December 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


1. When did GQ become buzzfeed?
2. Is this supposed to be advice for white people? Because we're only supposed to have traditional "white people" names? Or is this another trashing of African American names?
3. If you want to take your baby naming advice from GQ, you deserve whatever you end up with, "David." (Not intended as a slam against anyone named David.)
posted by rikschell at 2:51 PM on December 27, 2013 [67 favorites]


I also have a friend whose 1-year-old is named Daenerys.

Apparently I have friends who give their kids weird names. I did not realize that until just this moment.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:54 PM on December 27, 2013


I feel like a lot of this is really blatant dogwhistle against modern black American names, like reddit or some stand up comedian loves to do lately.

Especially 8, like half the bullet points in 7, and 4. An argument could be made for 6 as well.

There's really only a layer of frosting between this, and well, crap like this and the orangejello thing in here that i'm still fairly convinced the freakonomics guys just made up.

I mean i'll clam up if it's really just me, but something about this rubbed me the wrong way.

On preview, yea rikschell #2 was my first thought as well.
posted by emptythought at 2:55 PM on December 27, 2013 [48 favorites]


As someone who doesn't watch Game of Thrones or anything, how the hell do you pronounce "Daenerys" anyway?
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 3:01 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Daenerys is a great name for a kid.

(But then, I was named after a character in a fucking Richard Matheson novel, a sin I still haven't forgiven my father for. Even if he has been dead for twelve years.)
posted by dogheart at 3:01 PM on December 27, 2013


I know a little kid in Kentucky who's named Rand, not after Rand Paul or Ayn Rand, but after Rand al-Thor. I wouldn't be surprised if his parents have some regrets about that choice.
posted by Copronymus at 3:01 PM on December 27, 2013 [16 favorites]


Whatever you decide to name your kid is fine as long as it follows the cardinal rule. It must be able to be normalized as a nickname. I'm sure loads of Daenerys' will be going by "Dannie" or whatever she chooses to not embarrass herself with.

I don't think of this article as saying anything against black names, as for every Espn or Anferny there's a Moon Unit or Brookelynne.

It doesn't matter of you're living in the projects or in Malibu. I think this article is trying to state that a child's name should be about them, not about how creative I think I am.
posted by Debaser626 at 3:04 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Hermione" is actually a name, though.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:05 PM on December 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


how the hell do you pronounce "Daenerys" anyway

"Dennis"
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:05 PM on December 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


how the hell do you pronounce "Daenerys" anyway?

duh-NAIR-iss.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:05 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like a lot of this is really blatant dogwhistle against modern black American names, like reddit or some stand up comedian loves to do lately.

Totally disagree. The "Braelynn"-type names that this article is talking about are straight-up whitebread surburbia.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:06 PM on December 27, 2013 [39 favorites]


Yeah I tend to think of Nevaeh as a white-people name.

A fucking terrible white-people name.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:08 PM on December 27, 2013 [20 favorites]


I was named after a character in a fucking Richard Matheson novel, a sin I still haven't forgiven my father for. Even if he has been dead for twelve years.

It could be worse - I knew someone when I was a kid who was named after a character in a Tolkien novel.

I'm actually convinced my parents at least briefly considered naming me after a story character too - however, that name would have been the perfectly ordinary "Sally". But - that would have gone with my parents' actual names "Dick" and "Jane".

They deny they thought of doing this. But I know them too well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:09 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


It would be an interesting experiment to name your kid Loki. See what such a kid would make of his life. Maybe have him raised by badgers.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:10 PM on December 27, 2013 [29 favorites]


I did data entry for a children's organization and to be honest I hated everyone with a name over four characters after the fifth hour a day. When I lived in Italy, my name was always an issue because two of the letters didn't really exist, but hey, we made it work. The only thing is that maybe we should normalize pronunciation/spelling name help on a regular basis (maybe having kids read their name at the start of the year and recording it?) so that no kid has to deal with being the one with the name the substitutes can't pronounce.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:10 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is no end to shitty, dysphonious, made-up middle-class white people baby names, have no fear.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:10 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


dogheart: "(But then, I was named after a character in a fucking Richard Matheson novel, a sin I still haven't forgiven my father for. Even if he has been dead for twelve years."

Hi there, Legend.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


The awful fallout of the stupid-name trend is that if you work in any kind of profession where you need to write down people's names, you need to ask them how to spell even the "normal" common names, because there's a high chance someone will have turned Christopher into Krystoffer or Kelly into Kelleich (yep, actual examples).
posted by andraste at 3:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


how the hell do you pronounce "Daenerys" anyway

"jif" like the peanut butter
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [42 favorites]


Someday I'll tell my friend's son that he's named after his dad's D&D character from elementary school.
posted by charred husk at 3:12 PM on December 27, 2013 [28 favorites]


I worked with a lady who went to school with someone with the most god awful name: Nancy Ann


By itself, not so bad, but her last name was Cianci.


Nancy Ann Cianci.
posted by Debaser626 at 3:13 PM on December 27, 2013 [44 favorites]


I keep a list of strange first names I see on long lists in public documents. One of my all-time favorites is "Sleeth."

Sleeth. I mean, Sleeth.

Double bonus, his name came up a second time this year and I was all delighted to see him again though I know literally nothing about him.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:16 PM on December 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


Nancy Ann Cianci.

It got worse. She married Ron Cey!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:17 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not a member of the LDS, but if your baby name search/article/crypt warning doesn't at least mention The Utah Baby Namer web site, you haven't done due diligence and are doing a terrible disservice to your audience. I'm talking to your parents, Vulva Mae.
posted by mosk at 3:18 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Glad to know I'm not the only one with a, um, collection.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:18 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


A woman in my office just gave birth and her supervisor let us know the baby had arrived.

"What did they name her?" I asked

"Oh, they're still trying to come up with a name," she said.

"Let them know that the name Jane is a good, serviceable name that will last a lifetime without showing much wear."

"Well, it turns out they want a name that starts with P."

"It's a little known fact that an alternate spelling is Pjane (the P is silent)"

The baby was named Paitten plus a second name that begins with N (I forget now) that is technically part of the first name even though not hyphenated because they wanted the baby's initials to be POP (mom's last name begins with an O, dad's with a P). See, I mean, I get wanted the initials to look cool but I don't know how Paitten Name Oname Pname's initials aren't PNOP.

Oh well. I'm just babbling. There are certainly worse names than Paitten.

SKYLER for example. It drives me CRAZY that people misspell Schuyler all the time and apparently don't even know its origin.
posted by janey47 at 3:18 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I actually LOVE Skyler (a la Breaking Bad) and would spell it exactly that way if that's what we chose.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:20 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Since we intended to have only one child, my wife claimed naming privileges. She did good... first name after her father, middle name after mine.

When #2 made his presence known (an accident, not a mistake!), I got naming privileges. First name after my favorite character in a book I loved as a kid ("The Forgotten Door" -- so the name is a very acceptable "Jon"). In an effort to stave off sibling rivalry, I gave up half of my naming rights to his older brother, who chose another sensible name. Worked out well.

I have an acquaintance who named her daughter "Arrow." Someday, that girl will meet Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Apple and things will get interesting...
posted by lhauser at 3:22 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


S'QUYLRR
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:22 PM on December 27, 2013 [25 favorites]


I dunno, I think Chair is kind of an awesome name.

Outside the Francophonie, perhaps.
posted by aws17576 at 3:22 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I dunno, I think Chair is kind of an awesome name.

Doesn't sit right with me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:24 PM on December 27, 2013 [48 favorites]


Don't ask how I know this, but I know for a fact there is a young girl named Ce'Nedra out there in world. Really, who reads those books anymore, or thinks enough of them to name children after those characters? (Good God, what if she has brother named 'Belgarion'? Eww!).
posted by wobh at 3:25 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Flagged as racist.
posted by 256 at 3:26 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Daenerys is a pretty name. I worry a little that there's going to be kids called Khaleesi. But *shrug*.
posted by Zarkonnen at 3:28 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


what if she has brother named 'Belgarion'

It would just be Garion. If I'm remembering right, you've got to earn the Bel.
posted by bluejayway at 3:33 PM on December 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


Hi. I was a kid with an awful name, first and last. Now I am an adult with an awful name. I am forever spelling it out the first for people who have some once-amusing now-tiresome ideas about what vowels it needs. Then the last name has to sink in. Witnessing their facial expressions as it plays out, or listening to their reactions on the phone, this is my own little Groundhog Day. Yes, really, that is my name. No, I'm not kidding. No, that is not a stage name. Unh-unh, I did not pick that out myself. Nope, not a musician or stage magician. Let me summon my acting abilities as I pretend that wow I have never heard that crack before. Please, may the ghost of Carrie White grant me minor telekinesis so I can spend at least a month psychically kicking the shins of everyone who feels it necessary to go over something as if I had not once picked up on it during my entire life.
posted by adipocere at 3:34 PM on December 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


When we were pregnant, we decided to give our child a name that combined our ancestry - I'm irish, he's cajun-french. As the one who was going to suffer the pain of childbirth, I got to pick the first name, while he got to pick the middle name.

However, during the naming discussion, one first name he suggested was "Beauregard". And he was not kidding.

And he was a bit offended when I asked him why he didn't love our unborn son.

But come on! We were having a baby, not a frog in a tuxedo.
posted by dotgirl at 3:35 PM on December 27, 2013 [31 favorites]


I was going to make a comment about race, but then saw the article is from GQ and realized that there was probably need to note that the whole thing is geared to white middle to upper class people.
posted by jpe at 3:37 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like a lot of this is really blatant dogwhistle against modern black American names, like reddit or some stand up comedian loves to do lately.

Mostly that, but partly also against poor whites - I always suspect that part of the reason why people make fun of certain names is to prove that they're not hick or ghetto like those people. And people do associate certain names with class status.

My elementary school was a giant list of these offenders - but, partially on purpose. There was a movement to not give their kids 'slave names', so the parents would mine Igbo, Swahili, and Arabic (among others) for something that sounded nice. Only, they didn't speak the languages so transilterations and pronunciation might have been a little funky, and then there were those who made up a name wholesale because they didn't want any baggage involved (of course, that's completely backfired now).

I mean, there were Laurens and Michelles and Davids and Jonathans too. And a Sir Walter and a Dejeuner. But those were trying to give their kid something that sounded elegant and classy, even if they didn't really have the social capital to do something that the middle class would consider classy.

I think what I'm trying to get at is there's often thought and care involved in unorthodox name choices, and people tend to write them off as harsh or mean or stupid at best - drug addled at worst. It's a cultural marker that we don't always acknowledge as a cultural marker, and making fun of someone because of what their name is or what they name their kids seems pretty gross.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:40 PM on December 27, 2013 [68 favorites]


My sister's guy has an inordinate fondness for Icelandic culture, so I now have two nephews and a niece with Icelandic names. Lilja isn't so bad, my sister fought against Gylfi but eventually acquiesced, and I have no idea how they agreed on Öklyf Ísbjørn. Love my sister, love the kids, hope they enjoy spelling their names for everyone they meet forever. (My aunt told her if one of them comes home crying from school and insists on being called Max from then on, she better just roll with it.)
posted by caution live frogs at 3:41 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Flagged as racist.

...are people really not familiar with this trend in baby-naming? I feel like it's been going on for, like, two decades at this point. It's absolutely an overwhelmingly white, middle-class, suburban, soccer-and-minivan thing.

Try running some of the names from the article through Google Image Search: Baylynn, Daxx, Aythan, Jazzmin, Kaydiss, Krystougher, Jaxxon, Branlee, Kylee, Sandee, Brixie.

If you think this is racist against non-whites, you either don't spend much time around the whitebread soccer-and-minivan crowd (lucky you), or you're trolling.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:43 PM on December 27, 2013 [50 favorites]


Rule #10: If you hear a nice-sounding word, look it up in the dictionary before giving it to your kid as a name.
Last month I met a girl wearing a name tag that read "Nemesis." I started to joke with her but quickly backpedaled when it became clear this is her REAL NAME. I did not know what to say.
Kind of cool to be named after "the Greek goddess of retributive justice" but...
posted by evilmomlady at 3:43 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:43 PM on December 27, 2013 [18 favorites]


Just make sure the name isn't a little too on the nose.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:45 PM on December 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


I really like my 'weird' name (Finch), and hope it never catches on in a larger way. It was my gramma's nickname for me that stuck into adulthood.
posted by Windigo at 3:46 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


escape - whenever I hear someone making fun of someone for having a silly or difficult to pronounce name, it has never been some whitebread middle class person. Almost always it's because it's ghetto, hick, or too weird and foreign.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:47 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Love my little Klesttyr!
posted by oceanjesse at 3:48 PM on December 27, 2013


I think what I'm trying to get at is there's often thought and care involved in unorthodox name choices, and people tend to write them off as harsh or mean or stupid at best - drug addled at worst

I was reminded of this by the recent NYtimes article on homelessness that focused on Dasani and her family. Her mother specifically chose it as an aspirational name because of the water choices of the wealthy moving in to her neighborhood. Which was explained pretty extensively in the article, but the comments-- yikes.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:48 PM on December 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Lilja isn't so bad, my sister fought against Gylfi but eventually acquiesced

The guy currently holding the title of Only Icelandic Footballer Anyone Can Name is called Gylfi.

(Well, he's not quite wrested that title from Eidur Gudjohnsen, I guess, as somehow Eidur Gudjohnsen is still going.)
posted by hoyland at 3:48 PM on December 27, 2013


I dunno, I think Chair is kind of an awesome name.

I'd sit it!
posted by crossoverman at 3:50 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


whenever I hear someone making fun of someone for having a silly or difficult to pronounce name, it has never been some whitebread middle class person.

Okay, but (1) this article isn't making fun of the kids—it's chastising their parents for following a dopey trend that saddles their kids with needless difficulty and and isn't nearly as clever as they think it is; and (2) as I've just shown, the names in question are being given (and received) by members of the prestige class, not black folks / hicks / foreigners.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:51 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nancy Ann Cianci

My mom was coworkers with a woman with the same name!
posted by munchingzombie at 3:52 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


the porn star Chair Peters said a lot of things in his line of work, but one thing he never, ever said was "sit on this." much like another thing, it was a point of pride with him
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:53 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


(2) as I've just shown, the names in question are being given (and received) by members of the prestige class, not black folks / hicks / foreigners.

Right, but no one ever makes fun of them. We just roll our eyes at everyone naming their daughters Sophia and Olivia and whatnot.
posted by hoyland at 3:54 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't people get tired of seeing the same 3(I'm exaggerating) Anglo names over and over again?
posted by yonega at 3:54 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


...are people really not familiar with this trend in baby-naming?

That's the thing about white privilege: you don't even recognize the privilege.
posted by jpe at 3:57 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


When my youngest daughter was pregnant, her African American mother in law sat her down and told her pointedly that she was NOT to name her baby anything "ghetto." My former son in law and his brother had names that would have fit in at any White country club.


Meanwhile, at first my son and daughter in law were going to name their first Paraskevi (A perfectly fine Greek name) but changed their mind when my youngest daughter mentioned people would just wind up calling her Paris. So, Mary Elizabeth it was.


When I was young I rode the bus with a boy named Nikita. I think he had about 12 siblings and I guess the name pickings were getting slim. I actually years later saw him mentioned in a book about weird baby names-the thing is that now the name doesn't sound weird at all but back in the day we were all thinking Khrushev.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:57 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing I have observed about terrible names - and there are some terrible names, IMO - is that once you actually know someone Galadriel or Throgmorton or Reptilian Cork-Nethersole or whatever, it just turns into a regular name to you and stops sounding unusual. Really, it's no different from meeting someone from a distant place who has a name you've never encountered before. If you don't think naming a kid Allsing or Gunvald is weird, why flinch at Braelyynn?

Admittedly, when parents give their kids names with, like, negative classical allusions in them, it bugs me. I once knew a Leda Swann, which is creepy when you think about it. And I knew a couple of girls named for biblical queens who came to bad ends [the queens, not the girls, at least so far]. And I know a Jael, which isn't bad, per se, but it's a very definite choice. And I knew a guy named Adonis which - although fortunately he was extremely handsome - seemed like a bit of a risk to run, name-wise.
posted by Frowner at 3:59 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


My daughter's name is Rebekah, and people are constantly spelling it wrong. We spell it like the Torah does, which was the whole point, but she's never going to get a personalized keychain in a tourist trap and people think we're being fancy with it.

Also, every time Nancy Ann Cianci comes up, which as a Rhode Islander, is fairly often, I always end up losing another few minutes of my life repeating it over and over. So much fun to say.
posted by Ruki at 4:00 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look, I have a name that I either have to correct the spelling or pronunciation to everyone I ever meet. I genuinely don't even notice anymore--it's just part of how I introduce myself to people. It's nowhere near as tragic as people in this thread are making it out to be.
posted by mollymayhem at 4:02 PM on December 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Last month I met a girl wearing a name tag that read "Nemesis."

Of course, Dolores, a pretty traditional name, is kind of messed up.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:04 PM on December 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


Guess this depends upon your area and acquantiances. I live/work in Upper Middle Class land and there is plenty of making fun of other UMCs who pick names like Kaydiss or Braylee or whatever. (And very little making fun of lower class names, probably because they're discussing the children of people they know, which doesn't include many of them).
posted by wildcrdj at 4:04 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm another one in the awful name crowd. It's not as bad as it could've been. My dad was in one of those full-blown "Oh, we're really Irish! Oh, I miss the auld sod!" phases that aging white men apparently go through (and no he wasn't from Boston, which might've at least been an excuse) and was going to give me something horribly Gaelic with lots of vowels. My mom called an audible filling out the birth certificate so I got something less vowel-y but more traditionally female, so instead of constantly having to tell people how to spell my name, I'm constantly getting mail and phone calls and everything for "Ms./Mrs." me, and grade school was a special kind of hell for a boy with a girl's name. It's stupid and I hate it and the only reason I haven't changed it is because I'm far enough in my career now that people recognize it so changing it would be a professional pain in the ass.

The real damned irony is my family line isn't even Irish except in the "all white guys think they're Irish" sense, you can trace us back to a boat from England in the 1720s or so and before that it's all undistinguished English people.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:04 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, I think that while there are lots of terrible white-people names (and IME, all those Jayden/Braden names are white), the whole "names spelled funny lol" conversation is shadowed so strongly by the racist conversation that even if you're only talking about white people, you kind of can't have that conversation and have it not play into racism.

Also, I was recently talking to someone who thinks that "John" is a terrible, terrible name since it's slang for both "bathroom" and "someone who buys sex"...which actually illustrates how class/race-bound all this is....because "John" should be a ridiculous and embarrassing name on those grounds, right? And yet it isn't, because it's ultra-trad and has a lot of associations with whiteness.
posted by Frowner at 4:05 PM on December 27, 2013 [30 favorites]


I once met a man named Avatar Polymorph. This was at least not totally a lie as it was on his debit card.

Subsequently I found out he'd voluntarily changed his name which was a great disappointment to me.
posted by solarion at 4:08 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


My father in law went to school with a young man named Ardmore Vitula. I've always liked that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:09 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Once when I worked in retail I took a phone call from a woman whose name was Shirley Shirley, and she was crazy defensive about it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 4:10 PM on December 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


There is someone I have to email occasionally whose last name is Riddle and whose first and middle initials are "M" and "E"...and according to the email generating conventions of this person's employer, this creates an internal email of RiddleMe@[business.com] which has always struck me as awesome.
posted by Frowner at 4:12 PM on December 27, 2013 [17 favorites]


Also, I was recently talking to someone who thinks that "John" is a terrible, terrible name since it's slang for both "bathroom" and "someone who buys sex"...which actually illustrates how class/race-bound all this is....because "John" should be a ridiculous and embarrassing name on those grounds, right? And yet it isn't, because it's ultra-trad and has a lot of associations with whiteness Christianity.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:16 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just remembered a guy on the local news who had called his kid 2lu or something similar - it had an actual numeral in it. The guy seemed a bit of a hippy... I sure there's better ways to get back the man or something. Certainly one that's not gonna give your kid a who pile of problems until they get around to changing it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:18 PM on December 27, 2013


all johns are christian? that explains one thing, but what about protestant guilt, or orthodox guilt. monophysite guilt, even
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:20 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had a friend from New York who when she was pregnant said that the only rule you need to follow is that the name must sound good when shouted out of the fourth floor window of a tenement. So she was seriously considering naming her kid, male or female, Murray. Because "Murray! MUHR-RAYYY! DINNNER!" You can't get better than that.
posted by happyroach at 4:22 PM on December 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


The guy currently holding the title of Only Icelandic Footballer Anyone Can Name is called Gylfi.

Aron Johansson would like a word with you.
posted by asterix at 4:22 PM on December 27, 2013


Subsequently I found out he'd voluntarily changed his name

My university's Student Union President changed his name (for charity) to Sydney Harbor-Bridge.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:23 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


How uplifting.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:24 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is someone I have to email occasionally whose last name is Riddle and whose first and middle initials are "M" and "E"...and according to the email generating conventions of this person's employer, this creates an internal email of RiddleMe@[business.com] which has always struck me as awesome.

Former denizens of alt.shenanigans are doubtless fondly remembering Mary Elizabeth Cummings right about now.
posted by asterix at 4:25 PM on December 27, 2013


I actually love articles like these, since they make me feel better about my name (Kira), which was unusual when I was a schoolkid. No idea if it's become common since then, but I have always had to pronounce and spell it for people. On the one hand, I remain grateful that I didn't end up another in a class full of Jennifers. On the other, I have a weird twitchy aversion to people pronouncing my name with a long i sound, which always seems to be the first guess.
posted by madelf at 4:26 PM on December 27, 2013


I recently worked as a data entry typist, inputting thousands of names per day. Let me offer some tips.

Do not select a name has to be spelled out to be understood. Even a simple, short name like Zach could be Zac or Zack. Avoid names that have no typical standard spelling like Mikayla, Mikala, Mykaila, Mikaylah, etc.

Do not pick a name that ends in one or two Ls. When your kid gets an email account, gmail or even their school's internal email is going to append a 1 to it, if someone already got that account name. So when they write it down on an official form, the data entry typist has to figure out from your kid's crummy handwriting whether that is darnell1@example.com or darnel11@example.com.

If you do stupid things like this, your kid will lose access to basic services because nobody can input his name correctly without guessing. And a single incorrect character in a data entry form means invalid data.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:26 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was named after a train. My daughter will be named after a doll. All names were, at some point, invented. Wendy, for example, was largely invented by JM Barrie. It even (gasp) has a "y" in it.

This article is a bit stupid.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:27 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wendy's short for Gwendolyn, I believe
posted by philip-random at 4:29 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I actually love articles like these, since they make me feel better about my name (Kira), which was unusual when I was a schoolkid. No idea if it's become common since then, but I have always had to pronounce and spell it for people.

That could be because they know the Irish spelling is Ciara, but that nobody actually spells it that way.

(You do tell them you spell it the Bajoran way, right? Right???)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:30 PM on December 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


my husband has an incredibly normal name and yet he has to spell it for everyone because everyone wants to spell it in the feminine, even though the masculine is far more common. my first name was in the top 5 most popular for like 20 years, and i've spelled it for every pizza order, doctor's appointment, and phone survey. our last name is similarly very common (even has a big piece of media with the name in the title) and yet, i have to spell it every single time because people are always throwing extra letters and sounds into it. the idea that a simple name makes life easier for data entry and customer service seems to be a very false assumption.
posted by nadawi at 4:30 PM on December 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Wendy's short for Gwendolyn, I believe

It was hardly ever used for girls prior to Barrie, and even then not as a first name.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:31 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


My rule: Is the domain name taken?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:32 PM on December 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


You do tell them you spell it the Bajoran way, right?

That's Major Kira, if you're nasty!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:32 PM on December 27, 2013 [15 favorites]


Seriously, just let people name their kids what they want, and don't make fun of their choices. This has been true since at least Condoleezza became Secretary of State.
posted by willF at 4:33 PM on December 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


I frequently have to spell my name for people, but it's not like my mom deliberately chose a weird or inexplicable spelling. In fact, I'm incredibly grateful my mom had the foresight to spell it Yasmin, despite my being born in Germany where Jasmin would have been pronounced with a Y sound anyway. She wanted to make sure my name would travel well, hence plant name that's similar across multiple different languages, and with a fairly obvious spelling.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with my name, though I do get defensive when people imply that it's spelled the way it is for the sake of uniqueness. No, it's from the Persian for jasmine, my mom didn't substitute a Y for no reason. So I tend to give "uniquely" spelled names the benefit of the doubt, unless it's some nonsense like Krystougher.

Also, I'd usually side-eye people for naming a kid after a fantasy novel character, but Daenerys really is a lovely name. I think Arwen is a pretty name too, but I think that's a legit Welsh name too and not just from Lord of the Rings.
posted by yasaman at 4:35 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


You do tell them you spell it the Bajoran way, right? Right???

I hadn't before, but I will from now on. Much better than having to admit the truth of where my name came from.
posted by madelf at 4:35 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I kind of like Katniss as a name, as terrible as it sounds.

But no La-a joke Metafilter?
posted by Mezentian at 4:36 PM on December 27, 2013


The only names I really don't understand, though that doesn't make them wrong: posted by maxwelton at 4:42 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a (now) fairly common Irish name that can now be spelled approximately 1 million ways. So whereas before I was spelling it because no one knew it, now I have to spell it because the most common spelling is actually a misspelling.

Fucking freaks. Your goal in life shouldn't be making sure your kid is googleable.
posted by nevercalm at 4:44 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wendy's short for Gwendolyn, I believe

I don't know about that, but it brings up an interesting fact: "Let's shove a y in there" is not a new phenomenon in the slightest. Gwendolyn is a (vastly superior, IMO) variant of Gwendolen; Carolyn=Caroline, Vyvyan=Vivian, and so on. There are a lot of names like that.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:45 PM on December 27, 2013


My mother-in-law works at a hospital and just told me about newborn twins named Lemonjello and Orangejello.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:46 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


but deciding substituting a different vowel or doubling a consonant is snowflake enough, because...why

Maybe trying to uniquify it for looking up on social media?
posted by telstar at 4:46 PM on December 27, 2013


Anyone saddled with one of these monikers should thank their lucky stars they weren't named as badly as three people I personally met:

Crystal Shanda Lear

Ignatius Turdo

and (drumroll........)

Vaselina Lickett
posted by Enron Hubbard at 4:47 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


My mother-in-law works at a hospital and just told me about newborn twins named Lemonjello and Orangejello.

Nope
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 4:48 PM on December 27, 2013 [24 favorites]


That's weird because I was just reading about twins called Oranjello and Lemonjello.
posted by Mezentian at 4:48 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


My mother-in-law works at a hospital and just told me about newborn twins named Lemonjello and Orangejello.
I would really, really recommend checking that kind of story on snopes before you post about it. 9 times out of 10, they're false. About 8.5 times out of 10, they have sorta racist undertones.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:48 PM on December 27, 2013 [30 favorites]


Named our seventh son Kickemi. Which might have been cruel had we not been secretly dosing him with Grandpa's nitro every morning. Ha! Who had the last laugh then, bullies. Huh? Named our eighth son BLAMMO! just to rub it in. Nobody ever messed with him, I tell you what!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:51 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Interesting. My mother-in-law claimed they were born at *her* hospital, too. Nice to have more evidence that she's a lying bitch.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:52 PM on December 27, 2013 [17 favorites]


I didn't go to school with the Candace Bergen, but I did go to school with a Candace Bergen. It was.. unfortunate.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:53 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was waiting for Lemonjello and Orangejello to make their appearance (though I do have a friend who says that Lemonjello came into his bank).
posted by willF at 4:53 PM on December 27, 2013


I do have a friend who says that Lemonjello came into his bank

Pretty sure that was a euphemism.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:55 PM on December 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


Anyone who can afford a pensione outside Venice

Pensione basically means 'B&B'. It's a cheaper option than 'hotel outside Venice'.
posted by pompomtom at 4:55 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nancy Ann Cianci

The *REAL* Nancy Ann Cianci is the ex-wife of the former mayor of Providence, RI, Buddy Cianci.
posted by briank at 4:55 PM on December 27, 2013


1069, Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, and other names so weird that judges forbade them. Doesn't include The Hitler Twins(?), but apparently someone in California thought it was okay to call their offspring "Misteri Nigger"(second "i" silent), which even back in '92 seems a bit of a stretch.

But I was reminded of Lamb and Lynx Gaede.

Some parents are the worst.
posted by Mezentian at 4:55 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I know a Jael, which isn't bad, per se, but it's a very definite choice.

I know a lot of Yaels. Doesn't really strike me, which just shows how much "names you've heard of" makes things normal.

Avoid names that have no typical standard spelling like Mikayla, Mikala, Mykaila, Mikaylah, etc.

Is Michaela not the standard spelling?

Naming "schemes" concocted by parents...I worked for a guy who named all 523 of his children with names derived from his own name. Ego much?

What was it like working for Walder Frey?
posted by jeather at 4:56 PM on December 27, 2013 [16 favorites]


Also, I was recently talking to someone who thinks that "John" is a terrible, terrible name since it's slang for both "bathroom" and "someone who buys sex"...which actually illustrates how class/race-bound all this is....because "John" should be a ridiculous and embarrassing name on those grounds, right? And yet it isn't, because it's ultra-trad and has a lot of associations with whiteness.

Lou is also a toilet.
Matt is something you trod upon.
Jimmy often refers to doing crime.
Peter is a penis, or diminishment (peter out).
Jack is masturbation, theft, assault/destruction (jacked up), or lack (got jack).

It must really suck to go to a festival or rave and actually lose track of your friend Molly. Lots of people will join in the search, though.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:56 PM on December 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Lou is also a toilet

Loo, generally.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:58 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


By pronunciation, yo.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:59 PM on December 27, 2013


Lou is also a toilet.
Matt is something you trod upon.
Jimmy often refers to doing crime.


A baloo is a bear.
Wuzzle means to mix.
Sculch is junk.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 4:59 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


caution live frogs: "Öklyf Ísbjørn"

The second part of this means, literally, "polar bear". What's not to like?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:00 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Traditional names are best: Primus, Secondus, Tertius...Octavius...
posted by jb at 5:00 PM on December 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Unusual names with no real way to determine how they're spelled, or whose pronunciation cannot be readily determined from the spelling. This just seems like the kid is destined for a life full of hassle and an eventual easy-to-use nickname.

This wanders right into the racist/xenophobic shit, though. For example, a lot of Hungarian names tick both those boxes for me (well mostly surnames--I feel like I see the common first names often enough that they're familiar), but that's because I don't know Hungarian, not because they should be relegated to the scrap heap by Hungarians naming kids in the US.
posted by hoyland at 5:00 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Re: "Wendy", Barrie got the name from a little girl named Margaret who used to refer to herself as his "fwendy." She died at 6, and he used the nickname for the character of Wendy.

That's the story.
posted by OolooKitty at 5:01 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


My cousin and his wife just had a baby Khalissi at the beginning of December. (Reliable sources tell me this is a misspelling of some Game of Thrones thing.)

Much of my family already seems to be calling her "Lissie". I think Callie works better, but nobody asked me.
posted by madcaptenor at 5:02 PM on December 27, 2013


(Reliable sources tell me this is a misspelling of some Game of Thrones thing.)

Khaleesi. Means 'queen' roughly in one of the GOT languages. Perhaps closer to Chieftan(female)? Somewhere in the ballpark.

tbh not really all that different from naming your daughter Regina
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:06 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Interesting. My mother-in-law claimed they were born at *her* hospital, too. Nice to have more evidence that she's a lying bitch.

Yeah--and I heard the "Girl* named Shithead" one from a (white, professed liberal) urban schoolteacher (who enjoyed identifying as an "urban public schoolteacher") who swore that another (white) urban schoolteacher had a girl named this in her class. Passing this racist claptrap along when you're a schoolteacher working with disadvantaged students seems much worse than a nurse doing the same...it's basically a shithead move.

*Note that Shithead is possibly a legitimate name for a man, albeit with an unfortunate Anglicized spelling. I'm not qualified to confirm this.
posted by blue suede stockings at 5:07 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


It occurs to me, actually, that I have a perfectly sensible name carefully chosen by my parents so that it would be very slightly unusual but basically classic, with a standard spelling and simple pronunciation - and I have always disliked it, do not go by it and think it singularly unsuitable to my character and appearance. (It's a name with a sort of built in diminutive, a very wholesomely feminine name which would actually be perfectly suitable for either a cheerleader or a Supreme Court justice but which is utterly, utterly unsuited to me.) When you come right down to it, my parents might as well have named me Braedenne or Clarabelle.
posted by Frowner at 5:07 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty cool with most names, other than parent-generated variations on common names. At least with a truly unusual name, or a name from an ethnicity not familiar to most people, people might pause to get the spelling right. (And at least if your name comes "from" somewhere, then you have a reason for using it other than your own desire to be moderately k00ky.)

Speaking as someone with a frequently-misspelled and frequently-mispronounced last name, I don't know why you'd want to invite that sort of hassle into your kid's life. Those kinds of names cause record-keeping issues, plus it can make things extra stressful when you don't hear your name called, or when you're not sure if they're going to say your name correctly.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:09 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


A baloo is a bear.
Wuzzle means to mix.
Sculch is junk.


Alate means to have wings.
A Younker is a young man.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:10 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unusual names with no real way to determine how they're spelled, or whose pronunciation cannot be readily determined from the spelling. This just seems like the kid is destined for a life full of hassle and an eventual easy-to-use nickname.

You mean like Siobhan? Solange?
posted by blue suede stockings at 5:10 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had a set of rules for naming my daughter that basically boiled down to "traditional and feminine but not so feminine that she'd have to go by initials in a sexist job market". Also nothing similar to my own name because I'm Ginger and my mother is Virginia, and went by Ginny for many years. Phone calls during my adolesence were often confusing.

Then I married a man whose paternal surname ancestors for five generations had all been "John [middlename]", which meant if I had a son, the first name was pretty much a given. And when someone in the family says "John" during a family gathering, all heads turn. (Also, on the snickerworthy traditional names list for me: John Thomas. Not happening.)

The naming concern was not on the list of reasons we didn't have kids, but it was a relief not to have to deal with it. As for spelling, when I was married to my ex, people couldn't spell Phillips, and you'd be surprised how many people can't spell Ginger (like the spice). I trust exactly nobody to spell names properly and that has nothing to do with ethnicity.
posted by immlass at 5:12 PM on December 27, 2013


I think that Snopes page has some very well-chosen examples. The first story is blatantly racist in a way that seems old-fashioned, but you can see the connection between it and modern tales of names like "Le-a" when they are shown next to each other.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:12 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as a kid I had trouble with L's and R's and that meant I couldn't pronounce my first name (Eleanor) as anything but a mismash of vowels. Meanwhile, my parents hated all the nicknames for it so for a while I was introducing myself as anything I could think of. Quick and Jellybean were the most common, I believe

I mean, I'm cool with it now (and I get a lot of compliments on it), but as a kid I really couldn't stand it. And I still have to repeat it when introducing myself to someone new. No real way my parents could have predicted that, though.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:21 PM on December 27, 2013


Bad names:

Literally A Huge Fucking Idiot
Tha Skream Fartt
Sarahwithnohattheend
Moist-Crunch
Hitlerre
"John" "Smith" (wink) [the quotes and the wink are part of the name]
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:23 PM on December 27, 2013 [21 favorites]


Why I don't have kids:
  1. Gog and Magog would make great names for twin boys (I like biblical names).
  2. Elric would be my first born if a boy (I like literary names).
  3. Alfred Thomas Abbazena Fez-Muhammad Ragga Blah Jorgensen (Fez for short) would be the name of my second child regardless of gender (I like names that say fuck you to the world, and I had to deal with those damn bubble forms, my kid should have to too!).
  4. I haven't gotten anyone pregnant (I know how this happens!).
  5. Parents watch their kids too closely (well, at least the ones with kids that look worth taking. Most seem to be crap kids no one would want).
  6. My girlfriend says I can't keep any that follow me home from school (even if I feed them).
  7. My last name is not Yerashunas, but my kids' would be (I like breaking with tradition).
posted by cjorgensen at 5:23 PM on December 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


Moist-Crunch

Surely not a bad choice for Ms Dearhart and Mr von Lipwig...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:25 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


In Ursula LeGuin's Always Coming Home, people name babies after birds, generally, and then after puberty (and again later if they choose) children may choose their own names, which are generally simple; Listens, or White Tree or Clear. I always thought this was a nice system, as I think my kid would have been Owl for his serious expression or perhaps Crane (he was long and skinny and awkward).

It is kind of strange that we have to decide what name suits a person who hasn't even opened their eyes yet. I wish it was more common for us to use simple, baby-only names or just wait a while to name them.
posted by emjaybee at 5:26 PM on December 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


My girlfriend says I can't keep any that follow me home from school (even if I feed them)

To whom?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:26 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


They were delicious!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:28 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


This makes me want to reproduce, solely as a means of imposing more polysyllabic Welsh names on everybody. YOLO, undsoweiter.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 5:28 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


In Ursula LeGuin's Always Coming Home, people name babies after birds, generally, and then after puberty (and again later if they choose) children may choose their own names, which are generally simple; Listens, or White Tree or Clear.

I've tried this. The kid spent the first eleven years of his life named Great Tit, but now is named Spider-Man Shiny-Charizard McSkrillex.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:29 PM on December 27, 2013 [55 favorites]


All in all I'm pretty pleased with my name, though I do get defensive when people imply that it's spelled the way it is for the sake of uniqueness.

Only since living in Boston* do I get this, and I get it now EVERY. TIME. I have to spell my name.

"Sonya, S-o-n-y-a? Or is it I-a?"
"It's J-a, actually."
"Sonja with a j? That's different. Never heard of that."
"It's the traditional Swedish spelling."

Once, I was actually just so damn tired at having this conversation at 7AM for a fasting blood draw that I honestly said to the lab tech "Apparently my mother didn't think it through."

And here I have passed the curse on to my son, whose name is not Pablo. Or Pavlo. Or "Po.. WHAT?"

* I've lived in New England my whole life, but Vermont, Western MA, and Rhode Island simply let it go at continually mispronouncing my name and left value judgement aside.
posted by sonika at 5:30 PM on December 27, 2013


The kid spent the first eleven years of his life named Great Tit, but now is named Spider-Man Shiny-Charizard McSkrillex.

Still better than Braydenn (yes, I have actually seen this name.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:30 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread reminds me of the hilarity around Sheila Dikshit in the local media a few years back. Went exactly how you'd expect.
posted by Mezentian at 5:31 PM on December 27, 2013


The only rule for our kids was that they couldn't be shortened any further (to avoid unexpected nicknames). We ended up with Ted, Sam and Heath. Middle names all came from grandparents, which were quite sweet, and included Lancelot, which is a GREAT name in my book.
posted by sweet mister at 5:32 PM on December 27, 2013


While we're on the topic of Le Guin, in The Dispossessed all the characters from the anarchist moon are named by computer - everyone gets a six-letter, two syllable name which also serves as a sort of SSN...and of course, it's set up so that it's always "Shevek" or "Takver" or "Bedap" and not "Llmxop" or "Iiieee" or something. You can't really leave town and start over on the anarchist planet. I admit that I am kind of attracted by the no-choice-of-names thing - you're the only Bedap there is, and there aren't really any associations with the name except the ones you create. (I suppose that the names get reused eventually, but it's a small society and in any case there would never be more than a handful of Sheveks alive at any one point.)

My imaginary children were Growler and Spigot, with their sisters the triplets Diamat, Histomat and Tiamat.
posted by Frowner at 5:33 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Iiieee

hey i like that song

with their sisters the triplets Diamat, Histomat and Tiamat

and younger brother Automat

i'll be going now

posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:35 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


To me, bad names are the great equalizer. I've met people of all races, classes, ethnicities, whatever who've given their kids crazy-sounding (to me, at least) names. I once met a lower-income Bahamian woman whose daughter was named Spatula. And a girl at my school from the "upper-crust" neighborhood was named Beverage.
posted by staggering termagant at 5:37 PM on December 27, 2013


And a girl at my school from the "upper-crust" neighborhood was named Beverage

That's Bever-ahj
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:39 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm so white that even though I have a (mildly) unusual name, people are constantly calling me "Sarah" by accident.

I don't correct them. YOLO.
posted by rue72 at 5:41 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


wobh: "Don't ask how I know this, but I know for a fact there is a young girl named Ce'Nedra out there in world. Really, who reads those books anymore, or thinks enough of them to name children after those characters? (Good God, what if she has brother named 'Belgarion'? Eww!)."

Yeah, since they were husband and wife, that *would* be icky. Durnik or Kheldar for the boy would be fine.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:59 PM on December 27, 2013


I was just thinking how I love talking about names, and it's a shame that so many conversations about names get derailed by unconscious/unintentional/ignorant racism and class bias. (Because really, the whole "ha ha Braelynn" thing is really "ha ha someone who is either lower middle class or nouveau riche wants to sound fancy, but isn't classy enough to know how to really sound fancy"...I, an uptight person from a WASPy background, think that, for example, Sinclair is a neat name, and I pride myself on knowing how to pronounce "St John" when it's used as a first name, and I know how one pronounces Taliaferro (it's pronounced "Chumley", of course...) and those are all equally fake-fancy with Jayden and so on.

And the endless Rubies and Sebastians and Claras now that my cohort has offspring - that's pure middle/upper-middle fake-fancy right there...if there's anything more class-marked than wanting your kids to sound like they come from some nebulously Belle Epoque children's book, I don't know what it is.
posted by Frowner at 5:59 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]



Of course, Dolores, a pretty traditional name, is kind of messed up.


That's my middle name and the spelling of it, not Deloris. I like my name.


I have a hyphenated first name, Dolores, then a hyphenated last name. My parents couldn't decide on a first name, and I added my maiden name back, years after we married.

"John" "Smith" (wink) [the quotes and the wink are part of the name]

My father-in-law is named John Smith. He hates the whole, oh really, thing he gets. When I use the just part of my name "Susan Smith" I get the same thing, but it is easier to use that socially instead of explaining my whole name.

I do not understand people bitching about names. Get over it, not everyone has to be named the same dozen names that every one else has.

I have nieces and nephews with different names, and there isn't a thing wrong with it. What's wrong is people being assholes about a child's name.
posted by SuzySmith at 6:00 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The name Krystougher makes a kid sound like he was Kal-El's next-door neighbor--that or an easily-defeated bike lock. That said, we have a kid at our school who tells me that his middle name is Batman, which I find pretty cool if true*.

*I also had a 6-year-old tell me that his mom knows He-Man. "Pretty nice guy" he told me.
posted by blueberry at 6:02 PM on December 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Penny is a good name for a child and you are free to name or re-name your children Penny as a result of this posting. Excelsior!
posted by angerbot at 6:07 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Penny is a good name for a child and you are free to name or re-name your children Penny as a result of this posting. Excelsior!

Oh, no no. I grew up with that name. It is a terrible thing to do to a child.

People will assume it's short for Penelope (it's not).
People will spell it wrong (Penney, Pennie)
People will definitely make fun of it ("Can you spare a dime?")

Seriously. If you love your child, do not do this to them.
posted by dotgirl at 6:09 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I think Chair is kind of an awesome name.
Wait a second, rabbitrabbit, I think I have the book cover image for your next Attack of the Clones fan-fiction!
posted by blueberry at 6:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


My wife thinks that if either kid had been born without a penis I would have backed down on "Surfer Rosa Lucille" but with all of my heart I can say: I would not.
posted by Random Person at 6:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


We know a little boy named Finley, who prefers to be known as Nitro. I thought that was pretty cool.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 6:12 PM on December 27, 2013


And the endless Rubies and Sebastians and Claras now that my cohort has offspring - that's pure middle/upper-middle fake-fancy right there...if there's anything more class-marked than wanting your kids to sound like they come from some nebulously Belle Epoque children's book, I don't know what it is.
Hah. Those are the ones that are all over my Facebook feed. Also Otis, Linus, and Freya. And there is a Loki, although he's probably about 10 now.

I've sort of stopped mocking names now that my friends and siblings have started having kids, because it's now clear to me that any name can be mocked on some grounds. One of my siblings gave his kid one of those fake-fancy names. (My nephew's middle name is actually Sebastian.) The other one gave his kids super ethnic names from their mother's ethnicity. Their names would fail a lot of people here's tests: they're not really easy for English-speakers to figure out how to pronounce, and they're not well-known or common names in the US. Also, one of them sounds like a kind of pasta. But you know, fuck it. They're names that have meaning to my brother and his wife, and at this point they're the only names I can imagine the kiddos having. Plus, I went through my entire childhood never being the only kid with my name in my class, and I'm fairly certain that they're not going to have that problem until they get to college.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:13 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Any kid I meet named Sebastian is getting called Bastian and that's just about the way it is.
posted by angerbot at 6:16 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


People will spell it wrong (Penney, Pennie)

if so, then people will spell anything wrong, including Jhon and Timm and Petre, so hardly worth the bother of worrying about.

The coolest kid name I've heard recently came from the Swedish movie Together, concerning a hippie commune in the early 1970s. His name was Tet, as he was born in early 1968 during the Tet Offensive.
posted by philip-random at 6:24 PM on December 27, 2013


Here are some others from my running list. (My list is not "bad" names, just names that caught my eye or interested me. The ones below are just interesting or make you go "huh," not objectionable.)

Siee -- which I think was South-East Asian
Strba -- sounds like a Croatian village (who knows, maybe it was)
Elex -- which is probably a form of "Alex" but makes me think of a "telex" machine. Or "L.X." I think it's objectively very pretty but probably going to be annoying for the child later on.
Glorier -- not GloriA, but Glorier, like a Glorier of God
Jkya -- no idea, your pronunciation guess is as good as mine
JarKeith -- probably two parents' names as a portmanteau? but makes me think of JarJar Binks
Careal -- pretty, but this child is in for a lifetime of being called "cereal"
Antishay -- probably this is pronounced like "Ann-Tisha" or something, but in my head she is a twin and the twins are named "Shay" and "Antishay" and they are going to duel for control of the universe
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:25 PM on December 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm going to go give my daughter Claire a big hug and try to extract a confession that I did at least one thing right in raising her.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:28 PM on December 27, 2013


I've always thought there was something fundamentally insidious about name-shaming. Even apart from the obvious racism and classism so much of it is hinged on, some of the arguments verge on victim blaming or even threats. I always want to ask the finger waggers who all these unnamed bullies are, because they really make it sound like it's them and their kids.

The thing is that it never stops there at the naming, either. The same people will later chastise you for anything you do that might make your kid stand out in any way, from the way they dress to the movies they watch. (I am serious. I was once lectured that I was turning my child into a pariah for not taking him to see a popular movie that he hadn't expressed any interest in.)

As long as parents aren't naming their kids something obviously and intentionally offensive, I don't know why people think it's even something it's acceptable to complain about. Just trust parents to give their children names that express their love for them in whatever way they think is best.

And quit acquiescing to imaginary bullies, for crying out loud.
posted by ernielundquist at 6:35 PM on December 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


Biblical names can bite you if current context is not examined- according to Facebook posts, a high school acquaintance who was a Christmas- and- Easter christian has named her son Onan. He is too young for school yet but but i cannot wait to hear about his first day of kindergarten.
posted by holyrood at 6:37 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


If I ever have a child I want him or her to have one of those Welsh names the correct pronunciation of which leaves your interlocutor covered in saliva.
posted by um at 6:38 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think one thing we can all agree on, is that even the most mundane name in the world will get misspelled, frequently.

My husband is Matthew, two t's. But he gets people spelling it Mathew, one t, constantly. It's an ancient, extremely common name, it's in the damn Bible with two t's, but there is a significant contingent of humanity that just can't grasp this fact.

Possibly a monosyllabic name might avoid misspelling...Bob, or Sue, or Joe. But I would bet money, you will get Bobb or Soo or Joh at some point.
posted by emjaybee at 6:40 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was kinda excited about the whole "Jake Craze" because it meant a generation of people 20 years younger than me would think I was one of them

Also my nickname around my Dad's house is "Shmagorskel Finkel-Monkeyhaus", too bad he didn't have the balls to make it official, then people might actually remember me instead of going "ohhhhh wait so you're the guy who scored that documentary about Fleshlights and did the Christmas album with autotuned wrestling promos, your name is so boring I forgot all about you"
posted by jake at 6:47 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Daenerys is a pretty name. I worry a little that there's going to be kids called Khaleesi. But *shrug*.


AT THIS VERY MOMENT THERE ARE OVER 100 BABIES IN THE U.S. NAMED “KHALEESI”
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:47 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


My husband is Matthew, two t's. But he gets people spelling it Mathew, one t, constantly. It's an ancient, extremely common name, it's in the damn Bible with two t's, but there is a significant contingent of humanity that just can't grasp this fact.

I'm a Michael. You'd be surprised how many people can't spell it.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:47 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


If I were named Wendy I think I'd want to spell it Ouendye.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:48 PM on December 27, 2013


Also my nickname around my Dad's house is "Shmagorskel Finkel-Monkeyhaus", too bad he didn't have the balls to make it official, then people might actually remember me instead of going "ohhhhh wait so you're the guy who scored that documentary about Fleshlights and did the Christmas album with autotuned wrestling promos, your name is so boring I forgot all about you"

1. link to christmas album pls

2. Holy shit, you're the guy who did the music for Double Dragon Neon. You are a treasure. Neon Jungle is too perfect for words.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:53 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Someday I'll tell my friend's son that he's named after his dad's D&D character from elementary school.

I think little Orcbane knows.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:56 PM on December 27, 2013 [25 favorites]


The awful fallout of the stupid-name trend is that if you work in any kind of profession where you need to write down people's names, you need to ask them how to spell even the "normal" common names, because there's a high chance someone will have turned Christopher into Krystoffer or Kelly into Kelleich (yep, actual examples).

It's not only unusual names that get this. I have a totally normal biblical name. It's as if I say to people, "Hi, my name is Michael" (or Matthew or Luke or John -- seriously, we are talking about the most ordinary of names here), and they routinely write down "Mykel" or "Michul" or "Maicull".

Shipping labels, government forms, email salutations... all of them produce the most ridiculous spellings -- spellings so odd that even the most aspirational of parents never considered them.

It probably would have been better if my parents had picked an unusual name, because then at maybe people would stop and ask the spelling instead of going full speed ahead into the back alleys of the dictionary.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:09 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I taught a semester of art history here in the Midwest a couple of years ago, and one of my students was a C'Nedra. I admit to having been delighted.
posted by PussKillian at 7:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


When you give your child a "normal" name, you're either naming them after one particular person whose shadow they'll live in, or you're really naming them after everyone who had that name.

Neither is particularly appealing to me.

- Father of 3-day-old "Mondegreen"
posted by Jonathan Harford at 7:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


nevercalm: "Fucking freaks. Your goal in life shouldn't be making sure your kid is googleable."

On the contrary, the future is in ungooglable names. Names that ensure privacy because SEO has made google search for them, or anything close, totally unproductive.

Free MP3 Download, ESQ.

Local Singles Williams.

Free Ipad Abromowitz.

Antivirus Trial Freeware.

etc.
posted by idiopath at 7:16 PM on December 27, 2013 [30 favorites]


Naming a child 'Trial' would be singularly honest.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:17 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


My favorite name is 'Szczepan', which is Polish for Stephen, but it looks like Saucepan.
posted by helicomatic at 7:18 PM on December 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


My husband is Matthew, two t's. But he gets people spelling it Mathew, one t, constantly. It's an ancient, extremely common name, it's in the damn Bible with two t's, but there is a significant contingent of humanity that just can't grasp this fact.

My husband is a Matthew too, but in Quebec, they just can't grasp that it isn't Mathieu or Matthieu. So he is forever assuring people that no, really, it IS M-a-t-t-h-e-w whenever he fills out forms or has to give his first name.

My name is slightly unusual (Marisa), but I was constantly having to tell people since childhood that it was always one R and one S, instead of the standard double Esses most other women with my name seem to have. (Or that it wasn't Melissa. My name is NOT Melissa.)
posted by Kitteh at 7:20 PM on December 27, 2013


We name our children as if they are our avatars, and launch them into the future like new brands. Not sure if that is good or bad or just an interesting side effect of the singularity, but it seems to be escalating. As if we no longer trust the language of the past to speak for us. And maybe we shouldn't. It's not as if we really had a common past to begin with.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:23 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Imho, we should add Resaca to more baby name books, especially non-Spanish speaking ethnic ones. Ain't just a place ya know. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 7:24 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still think it's entertaining that "Madison", which was basically a laugh line when Daryl Hannah picked it off a sign in "Splash", not only entered the ranks of baby girl names the following year, but has been in the top ten for about the last 15.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:26 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Someone should start a movement to bring back Puritan baby names, like Praise-God Barebone and Preserved Fish.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:31 PM on December 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Your goal in life shouldn't be making sure your kid is googleable.

I have a fairly uncommon given name and a very uncommon surname. Google results for my name all lead back to me, as far as I can tell, which is a little disconcerting, especially when it's people being crappy about my old political blog. This would have been another reason to give my child a non-unique first name (and my husband's surname, which is significantly more common than mine). It's not exactly security through obscurity, but being googleable is not always a benefit.
posted by immlass at 7:46 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Doctor & Normal for the boys

Grandma (after my dad's mom) & Khamir for the girls

Though really any of those names could be for a boy or a girl. Clearly I am never having children.

Clearly is also a good name for a boy or a girl. (hat-tip)
posted by carsonb at 7:52 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I always wished I had an adverb for a name.
posted by carsonb at 7:53 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah and the best nu-name I am aware of presently is Sir Thomas Jackson.
posted by carsonb at 7:54 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Threads like this make me realize how glad I am my parents named me Chris.

Granted, there are like 12 of us at my company now, but no one misspells it or asks how to spell it.

However, I've not spent any time in Scandanavia and there abouts, where Kris is a more common spelling.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:54 PM on December 27, 2013


Actually, the Lemonjello story is completely true. It was originally Lemonjellowicz but immigration officials at Ellis island changed it.
posted by yoink at 7:56 PM on December 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


I think a combination of Puritan nomenclature and twenty-first century innovation is in order. E.g., "Flie-Phornicayshun" and "Whut-Ghodd-Whilll".

And "Wrestlingg Anjells".

OMG so much potential
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 7:58 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


An affluent woman I knew named her son Dyson, and while I know it's been a name for probably longer than the pricey vacuum cleaner brand has been around, that's all I can think of when I hear the name.

Mercedes doesn't have that same effect on me, but Bentley also brings out the eye-rolling.

Have yet to meet a Calphalon, Mikasa, Krups or Sub-Zero yet.
posted by pernoctalian at 7:59 PM on December 27, 2013


MetaFilter: the quotes and the wink are part of the name.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:05 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I dunno, I think Chair is kind of an awesome name.

But it was Cathaoir in Irish. Cathaoir and Seomra. Which sound all nice and fancy until you move to Donegal from NY and all the other kids gape and wonder why you're called after objects... Though, mind you, there was an Assumpta in my class and we thought that was normal, so what did we know?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:05 PM on December 27, 2013


if I ever have a kid I am going to name them whatever the fuck I want and give all the parochial assholes who care what I name my kid a giant middle finger
posted by threeants at 8:09 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Don't get me wrong, I get a good chuckle out of emerging naming conventions, just like I enjoy playfully deconstructing indie rock or people's hair or deodorant ads or whatever other cultural thing. But to the extent that weird names actually bother people...I have an issue with that.
posted by threeants at 8:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


What if your kid is the parochial asshole who cares about what you name your kid? Still going to flip them off?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


If that's an actual question; I imagine if I had a kid who didn't like their name, I'd encourage them to go by whatever they liked.
posted by threeants at 8:13 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I used to work for a photography company (now gone to the administrators) that photographed schools. Over the years, I kept a record of the more interesting names that I've come across.

Girls:
Krs-Tan-Ne, Q-Sharntae, Rocket, Stellar-Bella, Payschence, Anntwynnette, Onica, Jahjewel, Lyric, Friday, Tequila, Cher-Kirrah, Madelon, Star-Bright, Sarah and Sarah-Jane (twins), Mercury, Quest and Destiny (three sisters), Mystique, Misktikal, Precious, Saphire, Cree, Monicazue, Aquatannia, Deakoray, Cyan, Erecia, Cheyarne, Montarna, Dallas, Sydney, Wisdom, Precious, London and Mecca (these last 5 from the same school different families), Sativa and Indica (sisters)

Boys:
Rino, Audi, Tai-Rex (say it in a broad Aussie accent), Ice, Anon, Jakzyn, Marseilles, Le Roux, Tenacious, Mack Butt, Solja, Chai, Brucewayne, Danny (surname Danny), Wraith, Captain, Tiger, Allen and Allan (identical twins), Earth and Mars (brothers), Mythias, Oriel, Ra, Lord Aesir, Jarliam, Roorie, Lynkyn, Johnny-Mack, R-Jay, Jett, Wealthy

This is not counting, of course, the cultural ones that only appear odd to Western eyes, like Shi-Ting, Dong Bum and Pornsak. I miss that job so much!
posted by ninazer0 at 8:14 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Thank you Mom and Dad! I have always liked my name-short, (it used to be) pretty unique, and everyone knows how to spell it. Granted the priest didn't like it. And I'm doing the same for the bun- no rules against Gods and/or movie titles right? Right?
posted by T10B at 8:20 PM on December 27, 2013


Yeah, actually, that last comment came off sounding waaayyyy douchier than I intended. Sorry, threeants. Wasn't gunning for you. Just meant it isn't only disinterested third parties who take issue with names.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:23 PM on December 27, 2013


Named my son Jarren 22 years ago, it is a Munujali (His Aboriginal Tribe) word meaning" Blue Skies". It is also close enough to Darren and Jarod and other names in common usage. He has always been happy being the first Jarren and it gives him a link to his history in this country.
posted by Phred Phredson at 8:25 PM on December 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh, and I missed little Amigdala. Also, if your surname is Dickle, do not name your daughter Tess - I don't care how funny you think it'll be.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:31 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's ok; as I'm always telling little Xyxyphyss and Lucifer, they have to try a name at least once before deciding they don't like it.
posted by threeants at 8:39 PM on December 27, 2013



Clearly is also a good name for a boy or a girl.


I went to school with a very WASPy girl whose first name was Fairly. We always figured she'd marry a White or a Rich. Or maybe one of the Wellborns.
posted by thivaia at 8:41 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is an awesome movement here on the west coast of Canada for people to start using their indigenous names. Lots of consonant and guttural heavy coast Salish, Kwakwa'kw'akw and nuu-chah-nulth names getting bandied about now. I love it.
posted by salishsea at 8:41 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Naming your daughters Sativa or Indica is forward thinking in an optimistic kind of way.

Mack Butt, I don't know if I can give your name the same benefit of the doubt.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:43 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


After 38 years, I'm still kinda miffed that I, the product of 4 grandparents born in Ireland was given a good Irish name, pronounced Bridget, but my mother had to go ahead and insist on spelling it "Brigitte". But still call me the Irish pronunciation. Not confusing at all. Oy.
posted by gaspode at 8:47 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I always was told the one simplest rule for naming you child was: open the backdoor and yell the name to come home for dinner three times, if it is wrong you will know. "Christopher...... Jenny....... Dinner" is way better than "Ocelot....... Frelephone...... Dinner". It doesn't help with spelling I suppose.

I literally did this for my second child and it helped.
posted by mrgroweler at 8:47 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would have been happy if my name actually was Mary Ellen Carter. Instead, it's a term of endearment in our country's other official language, which makes it a tiny bit awkward when I am doing business in Quebec and I have to introduce myself in that language as "Darling".
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 8:47 PM on December 27, 2013


I used to envy my friend Aragorn, but that was when we were 12.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:48 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


My husband is a Matthew too, but in Quebec, they just can't grasp that it isn't Mathieu or Matthieu. So he is forever assuring people that no, really, it IS M-a-t-t-h-e-w whenever he fills out forms or has to give his first name.

I know a Steve who endlessly fights (and mostly gives up) with people who want to spell his name Steeve (oddly common in Quebec). I'm a Jill, which, yeah, that works well here, especially when it's pronounced much like a guy's name.

I'm pretty sure I've been bitter about my first name all over Mefi a lot before because it's a pretty terrible name here.
posted by jeather at 8:49 PM on December 27, 2013


Totally disagree. The "Braelynn"-type names that this article is talking about are straight-up whitebread surburbia.

In my mind, names like Braelynn are white trash names.

And in fact, I didn't hear any "dog whistle" about African American naming here, to me this article was aimed at the names given by white trash and nasty suburbanites.
posted by jayder at 8:56 PM on December 27, 2013


I also like that Preserved Fish was not only named "Preserved Fish", but he was the third Preserved Fish in a row.

Yep.

Preserved Fish III.

That makes it even better.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 9:03 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Best unusual name I've ever encountered: Phyllistine
posted by naoko at 9:03 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's not the fact that a name is unusual that most people are mocking when they poke fun at unusual names; it's the parents' reasoning for giving their child an unusual name. IE, name must exemplify the unique individual that is my child! name must stand out and that will make my child stand out! name must ensure my child won't run with the pack!

Because a child who's a Jhyll will grow up the same as if she were a Jill, and her name will have no bearing on that fact apart from possibly providing some minor annoyances from teasing, or from having to constantly spell it, or from generally disliking it (the last two of which are shared by everyone, unusual name or common name).
posted by andraste at 9:22 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a friend whose son was named P.K. Just initials. No names behind it. The kid is a pretty cool kid with a sense of humor. If you were to ask him what the P.K. stands for, he will answer, "Joesph" with a straight face.

Even spelling Johnny Gunn when I get a reservation is sometimes tedious. Is that Johnny with an "H"? How many "Ns" at the end of Gunn? (Six, one for each bullet.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:26 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


So a man walks into the courtroom and appears before the judge. The judge looks at the paperwork and realizes this is a simple name change. The clerk calls Ralph Lipschitz's name. The judge says, "Mr. Lipschitz, you are here for a name change? I certainly understand why you might want to change your name, but for the record, what do you want to change your name to?" "Steve Lipschitz, your honor"
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:30 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I once worked with a Niquole who said to a Montreal-born Nicole, "Did you know MY name is the REAL FRENCH spelling?" I guess she must have never fact-checked her parents when they told her that one.

Anecdata, but I grew up with an awesome guy whose hippy-dippy mother gave him a wyldly variant spelling of a traditional name, to go with their somewhat comical-sounding last name. He is super smart, kind, personable, well-traveled, educated, etc., and yet... he works a low-paying, stressful job for which he is way overqualified, married the wrong person and stays unhappily married to her, has all kinds of dreams but never chases them--basically, all the cliches of quiet desperation. It is hard not to wonder what his life would have been like had he not been saddled with that awful name. Not everyone has the moxie (CrimeFighter) to own a name like that.

Now I'm wondering if anyone has yet named a kid Anecdata...
posted by lily_bart at 9:34 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now I'm wondering if anyone has yet named a kid Anecdata...

I am totally calling dibs on naming my firstborn Citation for the thrill of yelling upstairs "CITATION, PLEASE!"
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:34 PM on December 27, 2013 [26 favorites]


I would just like to say that I don't know what's wrong with my husband's family, but when I found out the name of his newest cousin, the very first thing that fell out of my mouth was "Oh THANK GOD Grandma is dead." (Seriously, hearing that name would have killed her; she'd have had a seizure from laughing so hard.) The parents think they've named the child after a (complete whore of a) Greek goddess but have in fact named their daughter after a popular ice cream bar.

My husband's sister made up names for her children, and they are frankly just ridiculous. When people complain about contemporary children's names, we don't even bother to compete: we just tell them we have the winner, and tell them our youngest niece's name. Nobody has been able to better it so far. And this is before we even tell them that in Scottish slang, it means "the shit." Since my husband and his sister were RAISED IN SCOTLAND, you'd have thought this would have occurred to her, but apparently not so much...

PS: These names are so uniquely Googleable I'm not putting them in this thread but if you're absolutely dying to know them, DM me and I'll be happy to share the hilarity.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:39 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"it's the parents' reasoning for giving their child an unusual name. IE, name must exemplify the unique individual that is my child! name must stand out and that will make my child stand out! name must ensure my child won't run with the pack!"

Is this how the parents describe their reasoning, or an assumption?

If there's anything that would offend me about naming, it would be seeing the child not as a person in their own right, but merely as a statement the parent is making to the rest of the world. And certainly I can see many unusual names being an example of that mindset.

However, perfectly ordinary names also can be examples of this. A parent might choose, say, Clara because of the way they imagine such a name will signify a certain respectable, upper-middle-class sensibility. Furthermore, the parents who are inclined to see their children as extensions of themselves or merely as lifestyle accessories and status markers will be doing so, anyway, regardless of the names they choose and in ways that are far more toxic to the children.

So I think this psychoanalysis of parents' naming choices is either presumptuous and unwarranted or correct but irrelevant. Good parents will be good parents regardless of how they name their children, what observers read into a good parent's choice of name is not actually going to mean that they're a bad parent. And bad parents don't need to name their children bizarrely to be bad parents.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:40 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ra is a pretty great name for a kid, tbh. It seems like an automatic confidence booster, a name that demands a dramatic pause and a booming intonation. There's no casual way to toss it off. It's always gonna be, "Hey, nice to meet you, what's your name?" "My name is.....RA."

But really, you could do a lot worse than looking to the ancient Egyptian pantheon for baby names. I'd totally name a kid Isis.
posted by yasaman at 9:47 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread is reminding me of my thoroughly racist neighbors, who liked to think of themselves as only classist, and who explained away their aversion to "miscegenation" as being about the welfare of any children who would be produced. As they told it, they were only thinking about how any poor child of mixed race parentage would never be accepted by either either 'race' and would always be looked down upon like there was something wrong with their 'heritage.'

Of course they were incapable of seeing how their own racism was exactly the problem they were purporting to fight, but it seems many mefites don't either.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:49 PM on December 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


Is this how the parents describe their reasoning, or an assumption?

I've known some parents to describe those sentiments when the subject has come up.

Good parents will be good parents regardless of how they name their children, what observers read into a good parent's choice of name is not actually going to mean that they're a bad parent. And bad parents don't need to name their children bizarrely to be bad parents.

Couldn't agree more. I don't think a "strange" name is a sign of good or bad parentage in itself at all, nor do I think that what I regard as a silly reason to give a child an unusual name is a sign of bad parenting. Sorry if I came across that way.
posted by andraste at 9:50 PM on December 27, 2013


I get annoyed like this guy does at weird spelling Fayden Keydenn Jaedin Heydinn white suburban stuff. BUT

My name is so common that me and 2 of my close friends had it, and we all had to go by our last names for our entire lives because of it. This is what happens when you go with the run-of-the-mill stuff.

A good friend of mine and her husband named their little dude Dekker, after his father's favorite singer (Desmond Dekker) who passed away just before he was born. That name is cool and unusual and I approve.
posted by Hoopo at 10:00 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sociologist Dalton Conley named his children "E" and "Yo," explaining:
The original intent of "E" was that she could decide what it stood for. ... Once you name your first kid E, the pressure is on. You can't just name the second one "John" unless you are conducting a controlled experiment on sibling differences. I had wanted to give our boy an ethnically ambiguous name to challenge assumptions about race and assimilation.
I recommend giving the whole piece a read, because Conley examines the cultural brew that permeates USA citizens' naming habits.

(When we named our daughter, the only criteria were: It had to be the kind of name that works as either a byline or in a lede, it had to have nickname potential so we could find a variation on her name that fit her as a baby or child, and it had to have a meaning that resonated with us. Our daughter's name means "Happy Traveler," which is what we wish for her.)
posted by sobell at 10:02 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only names I have a serious problem with in my list were the identical twins Allen and Allan. Part of my job was to check for duplicates and this one drove me crazy until I pulled the group photo for Allen/Allan's class and realised that there were a set of twins rather than a set of duplicates. It cost me a good half-hour checking and re-checking the name list, their payment sheets, their school ID's and so on. I can't help thinking that it's the perfect set up for a life of crime - "It was not me - it was my evil twin whose name sounds the same as mine!". Presumably they go by nicknames because that sort of thing is going to get OLD at dinnertime.

Navigating adulthood with the paperwork and the forms is going to be interesting for them.
posted by ninazer0 at 10:03 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that, in the unhappy event that I unleash offspring upon this world, I will just have Greg Nog do the naming. He has not consented to this, but I am confident that I could prevail upon him.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:05 PM on December 27, 2013


'Control Group' seems like a decent name for a sibling.
posted by HFSH at 10:12 PM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]



Of course they were incapable of seeing how their own racism was exactly the problem they were purporting to fight, but it seems many mefites don't either.


Having disposed of the idea that the article was racist (seriously, have y'all ever read Esquire? It's a magazine aimed at incandescently white people who can afford $1100 shoes, and the tone, and examples, the article uses make it obvious that it's poking fun from within an ingroup, not punching down) now the thread is racist?

Well, there was the one comment that gave me pause because the examples all sounded maybe black or at least poor-white, but then I realized the poster lives in Sydney, so I guess African-American has nothing to do with it. Other than that, I really don't know what you're referring to.

I mean, if it's racist to make fun of people who name their kids Baylynn, Daxx, Aythan, Jazzmin, Kaydiss, Krystougher, Jaxxon, Branlee, Kylee, Sandee, or Brixie, then I don't want to be right.
posted by hap_hazard at 10:23 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Be very, very careful with initials.

I have a friend of a friend whose name is something like Stephen Thomas Draper. That name seems safe, but keep in mind that many universities have a firstinitialsecondinitiallastname email name policy. I understand he was very upset when the administration refused to give him an account name other than stdraper. Frankly it was rather cruel of them not to comply with his request.

STDraper. Be very careful with initials.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:25 PM on December 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


-I dunno, I think Chair is kind of an awesome name.

--Doesn't sit right with me.


"I never cared for Colonel Angus. He rubs me the wrong way."

I always get annoyed when I hear a mother complain, "I came up with the idea of naming my baby [NAME] so that he'd be unique, and I planned it for, like, seven months before he was born, and then after he was born I started meeting people everywhere with boys named [NAME], and now there are four other [NAMES] at his daycare." Granted, I don't hear this once a week, but I hear it a couple of times a year. And while you can't make too many assumptions, none of them SEEMED like people who'd have no access to the Internet. You'd think if that was the case, they'd have mentioned it - "I'd have looked up [NAME], but I couldn't," or something to that effect. A few were people I knew personally, who I know had the means to look up the popularity of names before bestowing them.

I have a dead common name for my age cohort. There was never a time, from Kindergarten through college, when I was in a class without another person with the same name. You knew the teacher liked you when they called you "TheUnderpantsMonster" and not,"No, the other TheUnderpantsMonster." Dad picked a really unusual name for my sister, after a movie character he liked, and Mom (being a twin herself) picked my name to rhyme with hers. But this was all pre-Internet, so they didn't know.

In the end, though, Rule #9 is what matters.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:40 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a friend whose son was named P.K. Just initials. No names behind it.

Years ago, I worked with a lady whose name was B. J. --- she said her parents just liked the sound of that particular letter combination and that it really didn't stand for anything...
posted by TwoToneRow at 10:42 PM on December 27, 2013


I went to school with a very WASPy girl whose first name was Fairly. We always figured she'd marry a White or a Rich. Or maybe one of the Wellborns.

Fairly Scrumptious,
You're... fairly... fairly scrumptious.
Scrumptious as a diet Jell-O parfait.
When you're near us,
You're fair to middling;
Honest, Fairly, you are barely second fiddling.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:57 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sociologist Dalton Conley named his children "E" and "Yo," explaining:

I think it is very important to note that he did not just name his second child "Yo," he named his second child "Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles," with the "Xing," "Heyno," and "Knuckles" added at 3. Some unfortunate social justice implications in the article too, if you're into that.

Some sociologists, when I read their stuff, I really get the sense they're studying the social world because they don't have a goddamn clue how to operate in it.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:19 PM on December 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


My imaginary baby girl is named Shukri, which my Somali students told me last year is a little bit old-fashioned. "That's like...a mom's name."
I was told years ago (when I was hoping a girl student named Shukri would marry a boy surnamed Fonseca and change her name to the prettiest name I had ever imagined) that it was the name of a flower in Somali.
Google tells me that it's a boys' name which means "thanking," but I've only met Somali women named that.
I just think it's one of the nicest names I've ever had the pleasure of saying. I've been (non-creepily) whispering the whole time I've been reading this thread.
posted by MsDaniB at 11:53 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a friend whose name is Diana, a perfectly normal name, but she was trying to give it to the waitress at a very busy and noisy restaurant to enter into their pager for the table and she had to spell it three times. And not only that, but it ended up as #8Dinan. Not just Dinan-- #8Dinan.

Similarly, my friend Pierre has has his name misspelled on his Starbucks cup so many times. Pier. Pyar. Peer. P-Air. There is no unmisspellable name.
posted by KathrynT at 11:53 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Our son has a name you have to spell out for people, but it is no big issue. Heck, his dad has a super-common Anglo first name and a 'regular' sounding surname but we always have to spell it out because a) the first name, there are two common (as in dating back decades) ways of spelling it and b) the surname has various ways you could spell it. So if my decidedly 'normal Anglo-named' husband has managed to grow up always having to spell his name and is not scarred by the experience I think my kid, with a Dutch name in an English-speaking world, is going to be okay.

And if you hate your name, you can change it. I did. Sure it doesn't save you childhood 'trauma' but you have no excuse to whine about it when you are an adult.
posted by Megami at 12:09 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of my favorite things about Idiocracy was its ability to combine the ridiculous with the plausible and this was well illustrated by the names of the characters. You don't have to try very hard to imagine a day when someone is not only named Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho but that person can rise to become five time Ultimate Smackdown wrestling champion and President of the United States.

Also, Beef Supreme. I'm surprised there isn't already a celebrity athlete/reality show star named Beef Supreme.
posted by Random Person at 12:38 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, Beef Supreme. I'm surprised there isn't already a celebrity athlete/reality show star named Beef Supreme.

I've tried to give my pets strong, regal names so that they'll be tough little ball-busters. But it has totally backfired -- they're sweet at best, neurotic at worst.

I named my cat Katya, after Catherine the Great. Except that her name turned out too similar to mine, neighbors were always mixing us up. So I answer to my cat's name now, albeit she does, too. It's sort of irrelevant because I usually end up calling her "potato" or "spaghetti" or "Katooshkala" anyway, like any proper pet owner would.

Probably, it would have been better to name her Potato in the first place. She could have risen above her name to become commanding and haughty. So maybe I'll give my kid that chance by naming my firstborn Beef Supreme.
posted by rue72 at 1:24 AM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Of course the best response to hearing an overly creative baby name goes like this:

"So... Braylynn with two "Y"s, eh? ... You mean like the famous pornstar?"

"... WHAT!?"

"Oh... nothing..."

... and then when being pressed on it, pretend you never said anything.
posted by sour cream at 3:13 AM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Back in 1970 my wife refused to allow me to name my son James Bond... I named him Sean instead. Worked for me.
posted by HuronBob at 3:31 AM on December 28, 2013


Thorzdad: "1. Do not invent a name.

Heh. I think that rule has been long slain and buried.
"

Good. For example, historically black people forcibly brought into the US via slavery had their names and heritages ripped away from them, and so have had to create new ground.
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:55 AM on December 28, 2013


Heck, his dad has a super-common Anglo first name and a 'regular' sounding surname but we always have to spell it out because a) the first name, there are two common (as in dating back decades) ways of spelling it and b) the surname has various ways you could spell it.

My full name is super-WASPy, but I've still had to spell my last name a ton of times. I think because it's kind of long and people's brains just sort of short-circuit with long names even if they're easy.

What's really weird is that I've also recently had to start correcting the spelling on my first name too. I spell it "Kimberly", with just the "LY" at the end. And for years, I'd give my name and people would say "spelled like how it sounds, right?" And they'd write it correctly. I'd occasionally meet a couple people who spelled it "LEY" at the end, but they were the ones who had to correct people - "It's Kimberley, with an 'l-e-y'."

And then somewhere around 2002 or so, suddenly that flipped - and "Kimberley" became the default. And I was the one who now had to correct everyone - "no, there's no 'e', just 'l-y' in my name." I've always wanted to know what happened, because that seemed so sudden and universal a change.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:43 AM on December 28, 2013


...Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette?! That poor girl. Not one of Penn's smarter moves.
posted by JHarris at 6:04 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Empress: Kimberley Locke happened.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:09 AM on December 28, 2013


I think the idea of naming your kids for where they were conceived is the best idea, and should be the rule. I look forward to seeing a lot of Buicks, Barns, Woods, Garden Sheds, Motel 6s, Mazdas, Chevrolets, Rooftops, Supply Rooms, Coat Closets... and the occasional Elevator.
posted by taz at 6:12 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the idea of naming your kids for where they were conceived is the best idea, and should be the rule. I look forward to seeing a lot of Buicks, Barns, Woods, Garden Sheds, Motel 6s, Mazdas, Chevrolets, Rooftops, Supply Rooms, Coat Closets... and the occasional Elevator.

TMI, but hilarious - our son, Grandma's Pullout Couch and our daughter, Shower.
posted by sonika at 6:18 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


See?!
posted by taz at 6:21 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Any kid I meet named Sebastian is getting called Bastian and that's just about the way it is.

Ha, so I actually am called Sebastian (well, I use my middle name at least half the time for reasons). Bastian is just about the one thing I won't go for. Bastian Schweinsteiger has a name, I have a name and they're not the same, damn it.

(And, for the record, Sebastian is an excellent name. But I am old enough that I don't have American contemporaries. (Nor do I know people naming their kids Sebastian. I've never met another American one.) The one quasi-downside is that I have a hilariously Central European name, which means I have gotten some strange comments when I turn out to be largely American seeming. That said, an astonishing number of people can't spell it. As far as I know, there are two common options--Sebastian and Sebastien--but I get people expecting Sebastion surprisingly frequently.)
posted by hoyland at 6:52 AM on December 28, 2013


Of course, this whole article was written by a guy who has a last name for a first name, where it can be mistaken for a woman's name.

I mean, not to put to fine a point on it, but if we're going to go after other kid's names, it's probably for the best to pretend your name is Mike or Tim.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:02 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a (terrible) current CW show, the Carrie Diaries, hoyland, which is about the exploits of Sex & The City's Carrie Bradshaw when she was a high school student in 1985. One of her potential love interests is a hot, rich, WASPy bad boy named Sebastian. I want to call up the producers and explain to them that the name Sebastian didn't say "rich, mysterious WASP on a motorcycle" in suburban Connecticut in 1985. It said "my parents are not from the US" or "my parents are very eccentric, and not really in a hip way." Sebastian is an aspirational name now, but it was just a weird name for people born in the 60s and 70s.

But the Carrie Diaries is so very, very confused about the '80s in so many ways that I don't think that's the place to begin.

(Yes, I did just get Hulu Plus. Why do you ask?)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:08 AM on December 28, 2013


Lou is also a toilet. / Matt is something you trod upon. / Jimmy often refers to doing crime.

A British friend related that an American guy once came up to her and said, "Hi, I'm Randy" and she replied huffily, "Well! I'm certainly not!" and stopped just short of slapping him.

I like the idea of letting kids pick their own names later. My youngest likes his old-fashioned germanic first name which goes well with his germanic last name, but fervently wishes we'd given him the middle name "Von." If only we'd known he'd grow up to have such a great sense of humor, we'd have done it.
posted by evilmomlady at 7:11 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do those of you with frequently misspelled names have a fake "Starbucks name" that you give out when ordering? My first name is a completely normal Americanization of a classic Irish name, but since I was named after my grandmother, it is a name that hasn't been popular since a couple of decades before I was born. Unfortunately, it has a lot of vowels in it, as well as a consonant that could be spelled a couple of different ways, so it is frequently mangled by baristas. I have started to give my Starbucks name as "Kate." ... Which has also been misspelled. There's no winning this game.
posted by matildaben at 7:30 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: "Is this how the parents describe their reasoning, or an assumption? ... So I think this psychoanalysis of parents' naming choices is either presumptuous and unwarranted or correct but irrelevant. Good parents will be good parents regardless of how they name their children, what observers read into a good parent's choice of name is not actually going to mean that they're a bad parent. And bad parents don't need to name their children bizarrely to be bad parents."

Yeah, see, they tell you straight up. And they're usually pissed about it -- "We named him Aydyn because it's such a unique and unusual name and I'm SO FURIOUS that other parents STOLE the name!" (I have a semi-friend who named her child the same thing as a fairly large city that she apparently didn't know existed, and now is furious -- FURIOUS -- there's a city that's been there hundreds of years named the same thing as her child. She has an Ivy League education. It's mind-boggling. She's really, really angry about the existence of the city, because she was sure she'd hit on a unique name and apparently did not google it.)

There are different sorts of trendy or weird names, and obviously a whole world of "ethnic" names. But when we're talking specifically about Brynne and Gryffyn and Aydyn and Daxx and so on, these are sorts of names that go with a particular kind of parent, who are annoying in particular kinds of ways. Their kids don't take tylenol because it's poison but they have clearly-chokable amber teething necklaces because amber is MAGIC and makes teeth not hurt by MAGIC. They are on delayed vaccine schedules because they are too educated to skip vaccination altogether but are suspicious that it will cause autism. They drink artisinal coffee because Starbucks isn't fancy enough and their kids often wear coordinating Hanna Anderson outfits. They decorate plastic water bottles to coordinate with their birthday party theme colors. Their children have parent-diagnosed food allergies which remain forever unconfirmed by doctors. They're judgmental about other people's strollers. They jump lines and abuse handicapped parking spots and get self-righteous about children not being welcome at professional cocktail parties at 9 p.m. and threaten low-level gatekeepers of all sorts, because their children are special and not subject to the rules.

They're not necessarily BAD parents, they're just OBNOXIOUS parents, and there's this belief running through the entire thing that their child is too special for normal rules, and very often the fist signal of that is a name that just isn't QUITE following normal rules.

Sometimes it's just a name, or sometimes Aydyn's parents rapidly outgrow their pretentiousness and obnoxiousness when faced with an actual baby, and the names grow on you because you love the kid in question. But as anyone who spends a lot of time around the sort of people who shop at Gymboree can tell you, gratuitous Ys and certain other baby-naming trends are a highly-correlated signal with the kind of parent that you're going to want to strangle by the third PTA meeting.

There's a second sort of signalling baby name that's a little less-common but that you also see in this social group; there's a certain type of EXTRA-MANLY dad who gives his son an EXTRA-MANLY name (Ax Danger, Rocco Blaze, Dragon Maxx, Hunter Brock) and only lets him play with trucks, wear camouflage clothing, forces him into sports at age 2, rebukes him for mothering a GI Joe toy, etc. He will inform you his child is named "Ax" because he didn't want a "wussy name like Steve or John" (not making this up). In this group, usually the mom is perfectly nice but we can tell right off the bat we're not going to get along with the dad. (But it's okay, he'll ban his boys from playdates with our boys out of the fear our boys will wuss his up.)

Names people give their children are really powerful social signals and sometimes people signal "I'm obnoxious." Notice it's also BABY names people are worried about -- not so much six-year-old names -- because by the time the the kid's a little older the parents have often settled down and anyway the kid is his own person now.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:36 AM on December 28, 2013 [27 favorites]


My dad wanted to name me Nolan Ryan [last name], but my mom nixed that and now I'm Scott Ryan.
posted by Evilspork at 7:41 AM on December 28, 2013


(I have a semi-friend who named her child the same thing as a fairly large city that she apparently didn't know existed, and now is furious -- FURIOUS -- there's a city that's been there hundreds of years named the same thing as her child. She has an Ivy League education. It's mind-boggling. She's really, really angry about the existence of the city, because she was sure she'd hit on a unique name and apparently did not google it.)

People sometimes fix those kinds of mistakes with pronunciation: "Oh no, her name isn't 'Venice," it's 'Veh-nee-cee.'"
posted by Dip Flash at 7:46 AM on December 28, 2013


Kinda like how Hyacinth Bucket pronounces her surname Bouquet.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:50 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do those of you with frequently misspelled names have a fake "Starbucks name" that you give out when ordering?

I don't, but you'd never catch me in a Starbucks (if there was one in several thousand km). Yeah, I am that good.
But I find servers are pretty good at remembering who I am anyway, and getting an approximation of my name. It's all good.
posted by Mezentian at 7:58 AM on December 28, 2013


Four new babies in my orbit. The sets of parents are not acquainted and live in different parts of the US. Out of 3 boys and a girl, we've got 2 Parkers and 2 Finns. No kidding.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:20 AM on December 28, 2013


Ra is a pretty great name for a kid, tbh. It seems like an automatic confidence booster, a name that demands a dramatic pause and a booming intonation. There's no casual way to toss it off. It's always gonna be, "Hey, nice to meet you, what's your name?" "My name is.....RA."

I know someone named Ra, actually. Ra really owns their name - they're not quite what you'd look for in a sun god, but they're a force to be reckoned with.

As far as "Sebastian" goes - I used to have a job where I had to gather information from a lot of strangers. Back in, oh, 2002 or 2003 I talked to this guy from out east - thick accent, sounded like he was in his late forties or early fifties. I forget his first name, but his middle name turned out to be Sebastian, and he was kind of embarrassed about it. "Oh, I love that name," I said. (Which I do, because I am a good member of my age cohort.) "It's going to come back into fashion again soon, you'll see -" He didn't believe me, but I was right.
posted by Frowner at 8:23 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


matildaben: "Do those of you with frequently misspelled names have a fake "Starbucks name" that you give out when ordering? "

My wife does this at Starbucks, for ordering pizza, whatever. She has a relatively common Welsh name that not one in a million Americans would recognize. She just uses "Sarah" for ordering stuff.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:27 AM on December 28, 2013


Sociologist Dalton Conley named his children "E" and "Yo," explaining:

So I just read this article, and this leapt out at me:
"There's lots of ways to spell it," I explained. "Why do you want to change your name? Don't you like being unique? Don't you like that your name made you famous?"
WRONG. The correct response is "There's lots of ways to spell it. What do you like about 'Sean'?" or "What makes you interested in changing your name?" or similar.

Dude just piled a guilt trip on a 10 year old with a totally fucked up name. I mean the kid has names that would make Upper Class Twits Of The Year blush, and you're wondering why he wants to change it? Kids are acutely aware of differences.

I think the idea of naming your kids for where they were conceived is the best idea, and should be the rule.

In which case I'm pretty sure I should be named Okay Fine It's Your Birthday and my younger sister most likely should be called Drunk.

I do have at least one friend who should be called Mile High, on those principles. And at least in Toronto there's a whole whack of kids born a few years ago who should be called Power Out.

these are sorts of names that go with a particular kind of parent, who are annoying in particular kinds of ways.

I used to work for this exact woman. Surprisingly, her kids had relatively normal names: Garrett (boy) and Jamie (girl). The mistake she made was neither of those names ran together nicely with her last name, but oh well. (She kept her maiden name on marriage for professional reasons. The kids have her name, not the dad's, even though they were very much married at the time. Yes, that gives you a very accurate picture of their now-dead marriage.

only lets him play with trucks, wear camouflage clothing, forces him into sports at age 2, rebukes him for mothering a GI Joe toy, etc. He will inform you his child is named "Ax" because he didn't want a "wussy name like Steve or John"

I look forward to dad's head exploding when kid grows up to be a 'manly' man... who has all the gay sex with other 'manly' men. In a just universe, this would happen, and dad would learn a valuable lesson far too late. More likely, kid's either growing to grow up as an insufferable douchelord (I went to school with a few of those kids and based on drops and drabs I've heard through the grapevine, they've basically turned into assholes, sometimes criminally violent ones), or painfully closeted.

Out of 3 boys and a girl, we've got 2 Parkers and 2 Finns. No kidding.

Someone likes Glee and... something.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:29 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


lily_bart: "It is hard not to wonder what his life would have been like had he not been saddled with that awful name. Not everyone has the moxie (CrimeFighter) to own a name like that."

Related ObSF: Isaac Asimov, "Spell My Name With an S."
posted by Chrysostom at 8:31 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Biblical names can bite you if current context is not examined- according to Facebook posts, a high school acquaintance who was a Christmas- and- Easter christian has named her son Onan. He is too young for school yet but but i cannot wait to hear about his first day of kindergarten.

I guess if any name deserves reclaiming by a sex-positive reproductive-freedom supporting culture, it should be Onan.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:33 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Do not name your child after the following things:
- Yourself


This. Coming from someone who was named after his father because his mother really liked the sound of the name Andrew. (It's a perfectly fine name, but two in one nuclear family is one too many.)
posted by acb at 8:35 AM on December 28, 2013


She kept her maiden name on marriage for professional reasons. The kids have her name, not the dad's, even though they were very much married at the time. Yes, that gives you a very accurate picture of their now-dead marriage.
Wait, what? It's conventional for kids to have their dad's last name, because patriarchy, but I don't think there's necessarily anything off about the marriage if a family chooses to do it the other way.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:38 AM on December 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


This wasn't "let's be hippy dippy and buck the trend," it was "I am the boss and the kids are being named what I decree, Sperm Donor husband!"

I could have been more clear maybe.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:40 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think a combination of Puritan nomenclature and twenty-first century innovation is in order. E.g., "Flie-Phornicayshun" and "Whut-Ghodd-Whilll".

And "Wrestlingg Anjells".


Also good for naming your new prog-metal/math-rock/post-rock band if the other names are taken.
posted by acb at 8:42 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Right, but no one ever makes fun of them. We just roll our eyes at everyone naming their daughters Sophia and Olivia and whatnot.

If Sophia and Olivia are considered strange, made-up names like Daxx, Jaxxon, or Renesmee, something is awry.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:56 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Names are important. My parents gave me a double name, guaranteeing that I would be outed as a Midwesterner for life. It's my name, and, no, you can't call me Su. It's SuAnne. If your name in Gunther, your teacher, boss, friends, etc., can learn to spell and pronounce it. Yes, your Greek last name is difficult for me to pronounce, but if I can learn to say 'Kardashian' I can figure it out. There was a trend in African-American communities of using apostrophes and creating names. It's no worse than any other naming trend and it's a cultural expression; get over it. Pay attention when someone gives you their name, ask for the spelling, and type it in correctly. Respect people's names. My last name has never been the same as my son's, how freaking hard is it for a teacher to learn that simple fact? And, no, you can't call me Mrs. HisLastName unless you are writing me a large check.

Don't name your baby Vulva, Pepsi, Dork, Asswipe, or anything that is specifically rude or unusually stupid.

I did not believe that the US would elect a president named Barack Hussein Obama. Apparently, unusual names are not as much of a barrier as I thought.
posted by theora55 at 9:01 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


My mother teaches public school in Baltimore. One of her students is named Stone Cold Austin something. His first name is not Stone. It is Stone Cold. I weep for this kid.
posted by starvingartist at 9:09 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone likes Glee and... something.

Leverage.
posted by KathrynT at 9:10 AM on December 28, 2013


As a Genevieve, I totally have a "Starbucks name" - I revert back to my childhood "Jenny." My name causes people to short out somehow. They see it's longish and starts with a G and they default to a certain Arthurian princess. Or sometimes they opt for Geneva instead. And if they make a stab at spelling it (I don't generally use the French pronunciation so really it's spelled as it sounds) they almost always want to start it with a J.

On the other hand, I get compliments on it all the time. Usually it's the name of someone's grandmother, although I have met the occasional toddler.
posted by PussKillian at 9:17 AM on December 28, 2013


Moderately related, from Fry & Laurie: Your name, sir...
posted by Going To Maine at 9:18 AM on December 28, 2013


This wasn't "let's be hippy dippy and buck the trend," it was "I am the boss and the kids are being named what I decree, Sperm Donor husband!"

That's a pretty weird and sexist reading. There are a lot of reasons why a woman might want her kids to have her last name--that she might be dealing with logistics of school/doctor's visits/etc. more than her husband is one. I know a woman who really wanted her son to have her last name because she had a difficult pregnancy and birth and felt like she was being rendered invisible by the whole process, but her husband was adamant that the kid had his--I don't think that's a sign that he saw her as an egg-donor, but rather how emotional the prospect of naming is for many parents of either gender.

My daughter is getting my last name because my husband and I decided it was a fair way to do it; had it been a boy, it would have had his.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:21 AM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Phobwan, I assume that feckless is characterizing the marriage based on other details, and is re-thinking the woman's surname for the kids based on those same details.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:24 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


French people must erupt in snickers when they hear that people are naming their kids "Branlee" (it's slang for masturbation).
posted by desjardins at 9:24 AM on December 28, 2013


There's an Olympic-medal-winning British equestrian whose first name is Pippa. She married a guy whose last name is Funnel, and took his name. Pippa is short for Philippa.

My name is not at all weird in the state where I was born but is very unusual everywhere else. I generally use my middle name (which works well as both an Anglo and Asian name) as my coffee name.
posted by rtha at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2013


With regards to #2 on this list, when my wife was pregnant with our son, she thankfully vetoed all of my "cool" guy name suggestions (Brody was my top choice). We finally settled on Aidan until at the 11th hour my wife decided the name was becoming too trendy (this was 9-10 years ago), so we should switch to something else. Her logic made sense, except we ended up agreeing on Jacob as an alternative, which instead of being "kind of" trendy has actually been for years the absolute most popular name for boys in the US. It follows most of the rules in this article (not "creative", not made-up out of thin air, no unnecessary vowels or "y's", not hard to spell or pronounce, proven history, etc.) but I don't think my son has even been in a class, on a sports team, etc. where there aren't a few other Jacob's to make things confusing.
posted by The Gooch at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2013


That's a pretty weird and sexist reading. There are a lot of reasons why a woman might want her kids to have her last name

No, it's an entirely accurate reading based on working for her and watching her marriage.

Plenty of women who retain maiden names (which I think is a good thing personally) do so for great reasons. Plenty of parents who have the kids retain the mother's surname instead of the father's do so for great reasons.

She is neither of those people.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:28 AM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


And if you hate your name, you can change it. I did. Sure it doesn't save you childhood 'trauma' but you have no excuse to whine about it when you are an adult.

Name change in my county is $300.00. I've never been in a position where there wasn't something more important to spend $300.00 on. I guess if my name was "Adolfina Slobodana F*ckleberry" or something I might cancel Christmas for a couple years for the Name Change Fund. For that price tag, I'd have to learn to live with something like "Kaixin," but I wouldn't feel obligated to never have a negative word to say about it.

I've tried to give my pets strong, regal names so that they'll be tough little ball-busters. But it has totally backfired -- they're sweet at best, neurotic at worst.

T.S.Eliot was right that cats have three names. Each of mine have had a formal name; an everyday name; and a shmoopy, fluffymuffins pet name.

Do those of you with frequently misspelled names have a fake "Starbucks name" that you give out when ordering?

I do, but for the opposite reason. My name is so common I don't want to end up going up for someone else's order. I only do it when I'm paying cash, though; I don't want them to see a different name on my credit card and think I'm up to something sketchy.

This. Coming from someone who was named after his father because his mother really liked the sound of the name Andrew. (It's a perfectly fine name, but two in one nuclear family is one too many.)

My sister and I narrowly avoided being named [Dad's Name], Jr. by being born the wrong sex. He wouldn't even discuss names for girls until until he was presented with them (this was before routine prenatal ultrasound). I don't think there are more than four given names on the birth certificates of the assembled males of my mother's family, but most of them don't use their legal names,anyway.

It's conventional for kids to have their dad's last name, because patriarchy, but I don't think there's necessarily anything off about the marriage if a family chooses to do it the other way.

One of my friends and his wife did a John and Yoko and took each other'slast names as middle names. Their daughter has Dad's last name as a middle name and Mom's last name as a last name, and their son has Mom's last name as a middle name and Dad's last name as a last name. I think that's as good an arbitrary system as any, and if I was Imperious Leader it'd probably be the default arrangement I'd put in place.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:39 AM on December 28, 2013


And if you hate your name, you can change it. I did. Sure it doesn't save you childhood 'trauma' but you have no excuse to whine about it when you are an adult.

It's not really all that easy to change names as an adult, and though I dislike my name on some levels, on other levels it's just how I identify as myself.

And who needs an excuse to whine?
posted by jeather at 9:44 AM on December 28, 2013


No, it's an entirely accurate reading based on working for her and watching her marriage.

I absolutely believe you, but using that one action as shorthand for "obviously a miserable marriage" ends up characterizing everyone who uses the mother's birth name for their kids as being in a miserable marriage.
posted by jaguar at 9:45 AM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


A British friend related that an American guy once came up to her and said, "Hi, I'm Randy" and she replied huffily, "Well! I'm certainly not!" and stopped just short of slapping him.

At the company I used to work for, there was a guy named "Randy Dickman". I hope he never goes to England.
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:46 AM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not really all that easy to change names as an adult

Not easy, but sometimes worth it. I've had several trans friends who've had to go through name changing of course (except one boy whose parents had given him a really ambiguous name at birth, so when he transitioned he was like "Hey, it's my name. Works just as well for a boy as it did when I had girlparts!", and I knew a pair of sisters in HS who changed their last name to their stepfather's, and gave him the paperwork for Christmas.

Apparently they also gave him thirty pounds of fresh chopped onions because he bawled.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:47 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


French people must erupt in snickers when they hear that people are naming their kids "Branlee" (it's slang for masturbation).

I always wondered how Jean-Luc Picard could date a woman named Vash with a straight face when vache is the French word for "cow." Was there nobody in the writers' room who had taken French I in the ninth grade?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:47 AM on December 28, 2013


[One comment deleted. Folks, maybe we can let the derail about that one family's naming decision drop now? Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:50 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not easy, but sometimes worth it.

Absolutely. I don't think there's anything even slightly wrong with changing your name as an adult, but if you mostly dislike your name because it's hard to say in French and you don't like the nicknames, it's not necessarily worth the effort and money.
posted by jeather at 9:51 AM on December 28, 2013


I always wondered how Jean-Luc Picard could date a woman named Vash with a straight face when vache is the French word for "cow." Was there nobody in the writers' room who had taken French I in the ninth grade?

Nor anyone at the FCC or anywhere in Standards & Practices, because Picard swears quite openly at least once on the show, in French.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:54 AM on December 28, 2013


I fellow I once new changed his name from "Matt" (Matthew?) to "Mattt" (Mattthew?). I think he did this to get an internet domain, but I'm not positive.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:59 AM on December 28, 2013


*I* always wondered how a French guy has a British accent.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:31 AM on December 28, 2013


*I* always wondered how a French guy has a British accent.

Learned English from an Englishman.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:37 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


In terms of legally changing your name: the thing that has kept me from doing so is that I'd have to explain to my parents that I was rejecting the name they gave me. (I'd be afraid to keep the name change secret since it would be on all my legal documents.) There would be So. Many. Ructions. And I bet that's an issue for a lot of people - naming is emotional. It's very easy to say "just go ahead and pay this [significant but not impossible fee] and get a different name" but there are a lot of social implications. (You have to redo work paperwork, make sure your old references know your new name, deal with birth certificates and diplomas, etc. I'm not saying that this is impossible, but it's a logistical challenge, which is why I have my legal name and my real name.)
posted by Frowner at 10:40 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


my kid's name is spelled with a silent "p", like in swimming pool
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 10:50 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the modern era, having a name that is easily Googleable is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you know EXACTLY what's showing up at the top of the search results. On the other, so does everyone else.

And Forrest Gump came out when I was in middle school, which was its own special kind of hell. Still comes up 20 years later.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2013


I knew a girl in college in 1994-5, who was named Monica Lubinsky. I am guessing she did not enjoy later part of the Clinton presidency much.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:08 AM on December 28, 2013


Missing from this list is the abuse of the -eigh ending, as in Kimberleigh, Ashleigh, Kayleigh, Hayleigh, etc.

I have learned that there is an actual child in the United States named Oakleigh - like the meth head/deer hunter sunglasses but with extra added obnoxious.

I can see what's coming next: Kateigh, Misteigh, Anneigh, Dorotheigh, Mareigh...
posted by univac at 11:15 AM on December 28, 2013


...Onehorseopensleigh...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:54 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


And Forrest Gump came out when I was in middle school, which was its own special kind of hell. Still comes up 20 years later.
Gentleman Caller has EXACTLY this problem. We have to remind people that he spells his first name like Mr. Whittaker, and not like that half-wit.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:18 PM on December 28, 2013


Could we have a rule where everyone stops going into foaming fits about other peoples' names?
posted by kyrademon at 12:18 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I changed churches last year. The pastor and his wife are named Stacy and Casey, respectively.

Yup, Stacy is the man and Casey the woman.

Boy, that's fun when I introduce them to new people.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:25 PM on December 28, 2013


Do those of you with frequently misspelled names have a fake "Starbucks name" that you give out when ordering?

Heh. I work at Starbucks and it makes me feel sad when people have decided (assumedly from experience) that their real name is too hard. For some reason this is almost always folks with South Asian names. I totally sympathize with not wanting to suffer a potential micro-aggression, but I gotchu, Vidya! Your name is phonetic!

however, serious side-eye to the guy who deemed it necessary to spell out "Nigel" for me -_-
posted by threeants at 12:25 PM on December 28, 2013


Do those of you with frequently misspelled names have a fake "Starbucks name" that you give out when ordering?

My husband, Nuno, after having the mistake made for the thousandth time gives his name now as "Bruno" at Starbucks and for dinner reservations and such.

I've never seen it misspelled, so "Bruno" seems to be a pretty safe name if you're looking for an easy in the general public kind of name.

I alternately have friends with super common names (ie Sarah) who come up with super uncommon Starbucks names just so they know which drink is actually theirs.
posted by sonika at 12:43 PM on December 28, 2013


Could we have a rule where everyone stops going into foaming fits about other peoples' names?

I... don't think so?

Could we have a rule where we stop framing any form of disagreement, ridicule, or criticism as a symptom of some psychological disorder, in the service of trying to make life, the internet, or Metafilter into some kinda Safe Space where everyone is a Protected Class and noone ever gets their feelings hurt? Because fuck.

No? Well OK then.
posted by hap_hazard at 12:43 PM on December 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


Heh. I work at Starbucks and it makes me feel sad when people have decided (assumedly from experience) that their real name is too hard.

I give my real name, but don't bother spell it. Whatever you put on the cup to distinguish it as mine is fine by me. For this reason, the once or twice the barista has instinctively spelled it correctly - I nearly lept over the counter and kissed them. But, y'know, I wanted the drink and not an escort outside by a nice security gentleman - so I restrained myself. Barely.
posted by sonika at 12:55 PM on December 28, 2013


a certain type of EXTRA-MANLY dad who gives his son an EXTRA-MANLY name (Ax Danger, Rocco Blaze, Dragon Maxx, Hunter Brock)

There used to be this one dude on my college's LGBT e-mail listserv who was not a college student and in his late 20s, and who would keep talking about how if we needed to protest something we needed to do it "manfully." And you know, I have some sympathy for people who get kinda fucked up by the intersection of sexuality and culture. But this dude either had some industrial grade Daddy Issues, internalized self-loathing, or was typing with one hand the whole time (quite possibly all three). It was hella uncomfortable to interact with him even at a digital remove. You just want to give people like that a Tom of Finland coffee table book and a referral to a therapist and a hug.

Anyway, whether or not he is in fact trawling Craigslist m4m at night, I get that same vibe from the dad you quoted.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:21 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I always knew my mother-in-law as Bridget, but I didn't call her by her first name until I was married (11 years in - up until then she was Mrs MrBee'sMum to me. I kind of passed the point of moving to first name terms...never mind.)

Anyway when it came time to send out the invites I wasn't sure if it was spelled Bridget or Brigid as both are common in Ireland. I asked my future husband which it was - and he didn't know. (This says something about his family.) We were going to a little pre-wedding afternoon tea with her oldest sister and all the women on that side of the family (the first time I was meeting them all) so I decided to ask them. When we got there, I noticed they were all calling her Bridie, which is a common diminutive here for Bridget/Brigid.
Eventually I was seated beside her sister, so I asked:
"How do you spell MrBee'sMum's name?"
"Well I think she uses B-R-I-G-I-D. But her actual name is Veronica."
"Right."

What struck me was the fact that not only had I no idea it was her real name, my husband had literally never heard this fact. (Ah, you think your own family is weird...)
posted by billiebee at 2:45 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


For some reason this is almost always folks with South Asian names. I totally sympathize with not wanting to suffer a potential micro-aggression, but I gotchu, Vidya! Your name is phonetic!

I really don't get English speakers having difficulty with South Asian names. As far as I can tell the Brits & Indians came up with a fine system of transliteration and if you just say the syllables you read you generally end up with at least an accented correct pronunciation. "Th" is hard though.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:09 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I almost want to go into a Starbucks now just so I can tell them my name is Katniss.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:12 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


"From now on my name is Sugar Magnolia."

"My name is Jose Hermanez."

"They call me Mr. Tibbs!"

"Mrs. Richard Basehart! Mrs. Richard Basehart!"

"From now on I'll be known as Vivian Vance!"

"That's it! All bets are off! We go back to the old names for the rest of the experiments! And now the Mads are calling!"
posted by JHarris at 4:21 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really don't get English speakers having difficulty with South Asian names. As far as I can tell the Brits & Indians came up with a fine system of transliteration and if you just say the syllables you read you generally end up with at least an accented correct pronunciation. "Th" is hard though.


Well, Tamil & Malayalam have this zh thing going on thats hard on most modern native speakers as well.
posted by asra at 4:42 PM on December 28, 2013


Shaming people for inventing their children's names is a little hard when they have a clear motive to do it because their surnames are Jones and Williams. Bob and Susan just won't do for first names, not when you could be confused with hundreds of others.

If your surname is Sztrysser, you have less motive.

Up-shaming is better, though it's a little harder to do in the U.S. than in the U.K., where upper-class twits used to be named ffoulkes (surname, never capitalized) or Vyvyan (first name).

Girls whose names sound like law firms (Campbell Morgan Cabot) used to be an upscale or upwardly mobile affectation in the U.S.
posted by bad grammar at 5:10 PM on December 28, 2013


Could we have a rule where everyone stops going into foaming fits about other peoples' names?

Not until we have a rule where everyone stops throwing balloons full of guacamole at goats dressed up as unicorns while singing Appalachian folk songs.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:38 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


All names were, at some point, invented.

Not so. A name almost always means something, even if the person using it doesn't know. Peter means "stone", for example, and Muhammad means "Praiseworthy".

On the other hand, Jaelyn, Braelyn, and Kaydin are postmodern names, made from phoneme soup.
posted by anemone of the state at 5:49 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have learned that there is an actual child in the United States named Oakleigh - like the meth head/deer hunter sunglasses but with extra added obnoxious.

Also a suburb in Melbourne. It used to be predominantly Greek; not sure if it still is.
posted by acb at 5:58 PM on December 28, 2013


I just came here to say that my piano teacher had two sisters as students and their names were Lemonjello and Orangejello. I am not trolling. It's possible my mother still has the old piano concert programs, if anyone thinks I'm trying to be a jerk. They were not black, if that is relevant information for anybody. I AM NOT A TROLL.
posted by Rora at 6:40 PM on December 28, 2013


Rora, I don't think you're being a jerk, but I won't believe it until I see the piano concert programs.
posted by willF at 6:49 PM on December 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


I come from a HUGE family (my mom is the oldest of 9 and I have 27 first cousins on that side), and there are only 5 male names that anyone has used. Robert, Andrew, Michael, William, and Martin. Every year we get a picture of all the men with the same names together, and it's AWESOME.

There is nothing like being at a big wedding and hearing "Andrew please report to the stage" and seeing 10 of your relatives gather for a picture.
posted by elvissa at 6:54 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I almost want to go into a Starbucks now just so I can tell them my name is Katniss.

Someone beat you to it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:20 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Names have etymologies attached partially because we want them to have some sort of halfway hidden meaning, though. Whether the historical usage of the name actually corresponds to what's listed in a baby name book can sometimes be a little murky. Which is why different baby name books can go back and tell you different origins for the same names.

A millenia from now people might look up Jaelyn and find out it was the combination of an English word for a bird combined with an older Celtic name, meaning pond.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:01 PM on December 28, 2013


I used to think that the two people I'd met named "Latrina" would be most justified in hitting their parents with the "what were you thinking?!" stick.

Then I saw a newspaper caption where the second-worst-named kid is "Pleasure". The girl next to her is "Aynalie Joy".
posted by NumberSix at 9:00 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was cribbed from last years list of the most popular names, when my wife and I were picking out baby names

#4 Jayden
#9 Aidan
#40 Brayden
#79 Ayden
#96 Hayden
#106 Kaden
#119 Caden
#123 Kayden
#151 Cayden
#166 Kaiden
#174 Jaiden
#409 Braeden
#493 Jaydon
#618 Zaiden
#636 Aydan
#640 Raiden
#664 Aydin
#693 Kaeden
#703 Aidyn
#712 Aryan
#898 Kadyn
#903 Jaydin
#929 Rayden
#985 Kadin
#999 Jaydan
posted by Ham Snadwich at 9:40 PM on December 28, 2013


i think i just threw up in my mouth a little


#712 Aryan

this is a joke right

guys

guys
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:48 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's mostly folk looking for a good Hindu name. And perhaps the stray neo-Nazi.

huggies.com.au is very helpful here:

Songs about Aryan
Title Artist
Aryan Man Awake Prussian Blue
Aryan Mist Van Morrison
Aryan Pride Final War
ARYAN NATIONS Bound for Glory
aryan boy Jacob Diefenbach

posted by sebastienbailard at 10:08 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I kbow someone whose LAST name is Lemongello. I guess that had to come from something.

Elvissa, my relatives on both sides did that with just Robert and Ronald. Until my cousins refused to keep it up with their kids, anyway. Too much confusion between Robbies. And Ronnie's.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:14 PM on December 28, 2013


I know a Loki, 3 years old. He hit my dog with a stick and then cried when the stick was taken away. It's just not a name to grow into.
posted by quercus23 at 2:18 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a little cousin named Rocco! He almost immediately became Rocco Bama Marinich because 2008, so basically that was a Good Name to have.

I plan on naming my child "I," and giving them no middle name until they are ready to choose one for themselves. So it's I, Marinich until they're 13 or 18 or whatever, and then they can be I, Supercop or whatever it is that strikes their fancy that year.

If I have a second kid, they will be named "A" because they're not special and ought to learn it at a very young age.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:28 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


My sister's husband quite seriously floated the idea of calling their first child "The" if it was a boy, so he would be known as The Lastname. Thankfully they had two girls and decided the family was complete so I never had to find out if they'd have gone through with it.
posted by billiebee at 5:45 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thread is tl;dr at this point but just wanted to point out (or reinforce the notion, if it was brought up before) that when choosing an unusual name, do your research. In Finland, Melina is a sort of rare but rather elegant female name. Unfortunately, some enterprising parents decided to tweak it and go for something a bit more unique. My wife, who works in healthcare, encountered the result: a girl named Melena.
posted by jklaiho at 5:54 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back in the 1970s I went to Catholic school with a large brood of kids whose parents were hippy catholic "Jesus Freaks". They named each of their kids "____ of God" - Light of God, Love of God, Shield of God, Sword of God, etc,. The parents were also notorious for launching into full-on groping make-out sessions during the "sign of God's peace" part of the mass. Those poor kids.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:44 AM on December 29, 2013


BUTT OF GOD
posted by en forme de poire at 10:50 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


#640 Raiden

People will know where to look if there are any fatalities nearby.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:13 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting, perhaps, that up until the fourth game the various versions of Mortal Kombat actually spelled it Rayden, with a Y. Because karate-fighting thunder gods aren't necessarily going to name their kids any better than your average mortal Kayleyn or Gyorgye.
posted by JHarris at 12:40 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm on a mailing list for an ocean modeling program, and a Chinese fellow posted a question a few days ago. His [chosen] English first name was Hitler.

People engaged with this so called Hitler guy, answering his questions and whatnot, but only addressed him by his last name. You could totally tell that they were awkward listserv emails.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:40 PM on December 29, 2013


I like to think of all the esteemed scholars rolling their eyes like "lol this guy wants to be hitler"
posted by oceanjesse at 4:41 PM on December 29, 2013


It was only an intervention in the final moments that prevented me from being named Astroturf. And there went my dreams of playing shortstop in the MLB.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:57 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do those of you with frequently misspelled names have a fake "Starbucks name" that you give out when ordering?

You mean...not everyone tries on a different name or nickname depending on their mood? Fake Starbucks names are how I pretend I'm a spy.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:21 AM on December 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't have a Starbucks name, but I guess my equivalent is my "ringing a taxi from a Protestant taxi firm so I'll not use my blatantly Irish (ie Catholic) name just in case" one. Names are huge signifiers here in a lot of cases. Growing up we learn subtle ways of working out what religion people are, but names are one of the big giveaways. I may as well wear a nun's habit when I announce mine.
posted by billiebee at 5:04 AM on December 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


The people at Starbucks really don't care what name you give them, so long as you answer when called. They say that they ask your name because they want to be friendly, but really they just don't want you to steal the similar drink they made before yours.

In fact, feel free to give fake names like, "Ares, God of War." It's distinctive, easy to call out, and might amuse your tired barista. Beezelbub is a bit hard to spell, but 007 is fast.

/some of my best friends are baristas
posted by jb at 6:55 AM on December 30, 2013


I do, but for the opposite reason. My name is so common I don't want to end up going up for someone else's order. I only do it when I'm paying cash, though; I don't want them to see a different name on my credit card and think I'm up to something sketchy.

Maybe in the States, but in Canada they really don't care. Put whatever you want for your name on the cup, including "Twilight Sparkle" or "Optimus Prime".
posted by jb at 7:01 AM on December 30, 2013


I come from a HUGE family (my mom is the oldest of 9 and I have 27 first cousins on that side), and there are only 5 male names that anyone has used. Robert, Andrew, Michael, William, and Martin. Every year we get a picture of all the men with the same names together, and it's AWESOME.

I am a gay, and I met my manfriend because we were both at a party with approx 30 people total and the host realized that six of us (including him) had the same super-common Anglo name and decided we should all take a picture together.

My manfriend's Starbucks name is Eduardo.
posted by psoas at 10:33 AM on December 30, 2013


In fact, feel free to give fake names like, "Ares, God of War."

Or you could give them a real name like "Mars, yes, like the planet, yes, like the god of war, exactly".
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:23 AM on December 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


My first name might as well be SarahWithanH, because of the two spellings and my maiden name ended with -sen (not -son!) so it was always MaidenNameWithanE. My married name has a double D, but everyone wants to make it a double B. None of them are made up or uncommon, so spelling woes (or government and database issues, really?!?) should not dissuade you from a name you like. I graduated with 10 Sara(h)s in a class of ~200. At least 5 of us had a -sen/-son last name since Central MN is very German. My husband also has a top ten level common name and it gets misspelled. I didn't even know how to spell it until I was in high school.

My favorite is when someone sends me a chat or email at work or an FB message and still misses the H. It is right there in front of you! I don't get mad, but I do laugh. I am also pretty good at spelling my coworkers' names and that might be due to mine being so often misspelled.
posted by soelo at 11:24 AM on December 30, 2013


At least 5 of us had a -sen/-son last name since Central MN is very German.

That's Scandinavian, surely?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:38 PM on December 30, 2013


Or you could give them a real name like "Mars, yes, like the planet, yes, like the god of war, exactly".

Heh, my friends name is actually Marz. Yea, with a Z.

This made me realize i know a lot of people with weird names. Atomic, Trillian, SabreWilde, Zenia, Zaria, Gavia, Ringo(girls name), Anais(not ah-na-eese, An-eye-ass. yea.), Sirruh(pronounced Sarah),

Also pretty sure i know a guy named Noble, but i'm not 100% on that being his actual birth name.

Not making any value judgement on these names, just that scrolling through my facebook friends or phone contacts and actually thinking about it, it's like yea... weird.

Also have a somewhat uncommon name, but well known because several celebrities and a famous author have had it. EVERYONE mis-spells it, and a guy i know with the same name who works across the street from my office says the same thing. The funny thing is, i've met people who spell their name the other, commonly incorrect way, and they constantly get it mis-spelled the way mine is. Ugh.
posted by emptythought at 2:28 PM on December 30, 2013


Yes, Scandinavian, not German. I am mostly German (and easily confused today), and have heard many different explanations of the reason behind the E. Most of them were from teachers and none of them matched the little I know about my paternal grandfather.
posted by soelo at 2:46 PM on December 30, 2013


have heard many different explanations of the reason behind the E.

I'd always assumed this was because Danish and Swedish are different languages and Norway's a bit of a mix because of the whole bokmål/nynorsk issue (or, more accurately, the influence of Danish rule that gave rise to that issue).
posted by hoyland at 3:15 PM on December 30, 2013


My Norwegian-American paternal grandmother from Wisconsin/Minnesota was born with Hansen but it became Hanson for her and her siblings at some point, I have no idea why or when.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:44 PM on December 30, 2013


less of the judgey, more facts and ideas

My take on names is that they fall in a special zone of memetic conflict in capitalist society, one they share with music, dress, and dance.

Names identify us, not just in the sense of distinguishing us from others (their first order usage), but also they identify which pack of monkeys we are part of.

In a free market society, as rational consumers we are not meant to have a monkey pack - we should be striving for our selfish best interest, so our names our clothes our music our dance should reflect our ambition, our individuality, our entrepreneurial individualist spirit. At the same time we don't know how to stop being monkeys, so we also use names to distinguish the in and out groups, to decide who we share the fruit with and who we throw our shit at.

I'd rather not be a monkey or an optimized rational actor in a marketplace. Maybe we can accept that we have many overlapping and conflicting reasons for picking names (whether for children or for ourselves), and not judge so much. Then again I am from Portland, which is famous for weird names, dressing like a total slob (or freak), and listening to weird music you have never heard of. Maybe this is an ivory tower fantasy that culture could be so open minded outside of little hare brained utopias.

I still think mocking people for their naming choices (or worse yet they name they are stuck with) is a dick move.
posted by idiopath at 3:51 PM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


My Norwegian-American paternal grandmother from Wisconsin/Minnesota was born with Hansen but it became Hanson for her and her siblings at some point, I have no idea why or when.

The frequent occurrences of Hansen as a surname outside Denmark, Norway and Schleswig-Holstein* is due to immigration, though immigrants to English-speaking countries often changed the spelling to match the English lastname: Hanson in order to accommodate English orthographic rules.

*i.e. Germany; huh.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:40 PM on December 30, 2013


I've noticed a couple of weird things about people misspelling my name.

Like I've said, my first name was very common. It's in the top five for my decade of birth, and I've never encountered anyone IRL, in the celebritysphere, or online, who spells it differently than my parents did - even the rare girl much younger than I who still gets it. And yet, people still seem to want to write it down with different numbers of certain consonants.

My last name is fairly common, too, although there are a few spelling variants out there. However, it's often misspelled, but that's not the weird part. The weird part is that almost everybody who misspells it uses the right letters, but reverses a particular vowel and consonant so that if you said what they wrote down it would sound like a completely different word.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:28 PM on December 30, 2013


*i.e. Germany; huh.

Schleswig-Holstein is on the Danish border and bounced back and forth between Denmark and Germany for a while and a war or two. There's still a Danish-speaking minority there.

I've not gone back to check the dates, but I think it (or at least Schleswig) was under Danish control when Denmark switched from patronymics to surnames, so it wouldn't be that surprising to have rather more Danish-speakers there than there are now and that they derived surnames from patronymics as happened in now-Denmark proper. (AFAIK, surnames became a thing in Germany rather earlier, so presumably there were people with surnames as well.*)

*Which is the situation in Iceland, coincidentally, where some people acquired surnames (from dealings in/with Denmark, I think) but people generally have patronymics.
posted by hoyland at 4:37 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


and matronymics
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:59 PM on December 31, 2013


But come on! We were having a baby, not a frog in a tuxedo.

Little known fact, all Cajun men are actually frogs in tuxedos (I have ancestors named Theophile and Victoire).

Also, PUH-LEEEEZ say that you named the resulting kid either Natalie or Rosalie. Which I'm pretty sure are the go-to "Cajun and Irish" names to have. No idea what you'd do for a boy. Jean-Paul, I guess, because the pope.
posted by Sara C. at 10:25 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a semi-friend who named her child the same thing as a fairly large city that she apparently didn't know existed, and now is furious -- FURIOUS -- there's a city that's been there hundreds of years named the same thing as her child. She has an Ivy League education. It's mind-boggling. She's really, really angry about the existence of the city, because she was sure she'd hit on a unique name and apparently did not google it.

I am desperate for this child's name to be Ljubljana, or maybe Helsinki. Addis Ababa?
posted by Sara C. at 11:17 PM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Archangel?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:19 PM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


My money's on Tirana.

That or Zagreb.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:23 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


"What do you mean, there's a city called 'the Hague?'"
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:35 AM on January 1 [3 favorites]


"She's Istanbul not Constantinople..."
posted by Dip Flash at 8:59 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Yes, parents should be able to name their kids what they want. What those defending those parents are overlooking is, we wish they would think a bit more about their offspring's future life. Because if you saddle a kid with a name like Moxie CrimeFighter, that's going to be the first thing people focus on when they meet her for the rest of her life. Best case she'll just have her name legally changed or go by a nickname the rest of her life. Worst case, she'll become bitter like the poor defensive woman above named Shirley Shirley. Parents should want every advantage for their kids -- what does a showboat name really do for them?
posted by JHarris at 9:08 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


For all this talk about names, it's still really interesting to imagine how you would have reacted if, on 9/12/01, somebody were to tell you that the President to follow George W. Bush would be named Barack Hussein Obama. For all the judgments that we make about other people judging names, it's important to remember that people are less predictable than we think, and that people find other ways to make judgments, positive or negative.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:17 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]


FWIW, my wife and I are expecting, so we've been poring through baby names. Let me tell you, it is ever so much more fun to find "bad" names than it is to find "good" ones. Or, if not "bad" names, then at least names that would give people a start.

My current favorite is CHERNOBOG.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:27 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Slagathor Unimog Glorious-Five-Year-Plan $Lastname! Works for a boy OR a girl!
posted by KathrynT at 9:29 AM on January 1 [3 favorites]


Sandbag Flump-Drop
Stonefist Crushmight
Willowthistle Stembreak the Weak
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:33 AM on January 1


I don't know about the whole "scarred for life" angle, actually. Some names will do that, yes. Shirley Shirley? What were they thinking?! But little Moxie is probably in an elementary school class with a Ryleigh and a Brie and a few Jaydens and a flock of Addisons. Moxie Jillette is not that bad a name. I mean, the middle name is embarrassing, and god help her if she ever ends up in law enforcement, or worse, gets arrested. But Moxie? Enh. It's not even close to the weirdest name I know.

This week visiting back home I discovered that apparently some of my siblings have a friend named Tenner. That is not a name, that is a slangy bill denomination. I kept asking, "You sure his name isn't Tanner?" and "Is it short for Tinsley?" And, yes, this is a white middle class person.
posted by Sara C. at 9:33 AM on January 1


She has an Ivy League education.

This always confuses me. People with a decent education can still be idiots about things.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 9:34 AM on January 1


I also like the "Night In The Museum"'s Brundon. They couldn't even get his nametag right because who in the hell would call their kid Brundon, no definitely Brandon.

Or, succinctly put by IMDB quotes:

Brandon: It's Brundon.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 9:37 AM on January 1


Yeah, I don't know about "scarred for life" necessarily. Earlier I mentioned knowing a Theoden as a kid - his big sister Krishna was my childhood BFF, and they had a sister Guinnevere. Krishna now has two kids of her own - Daedelus and Cordelia. Weird names were just that family's thing.

And the thing is - I first met Krishna on the very first day of Kindergarten, and was likethis with her all through to when we all went off to college - and not once do I remember any instance of anyone giving her or Theoden shit because of their names. They may have done a take at her name (the very first memory I have of Krishna is both of us on the seesaw, and I was asking her over and over "wait, WHAT'S your name?"), and they all had to spell their names a lot for people, and Krishna did start joking in junior high that "I'm the one that gets all the money from those guys in the airports", but that was it.

They all use their names today (I linked to Theoden's byline as a sports columnist, and Krishna is in academic administration and uses her name. (She did change it, but only because she learned that "Krishna" was traditionally a boy's name, so she looked up what the word for "girl" was in Hindi and added that.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:48 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


That's not the word for "girl" in Hindi. It's also not the correct spelling of the name Priya. In a way, she was doing better with just Krishna. (I've known a few female Krishnas, it's not that big a deal.)
posted by Sara C. at 9:52 AM on January 1


urbanwhaleshark: "This always confuses me. People with a decent education can still be idiots about things."

Yeah, it's just, like, it's not like she's never heard of large European cities, or doesn't have the cultural capital to know how to google a name. I included the detail because I want to be clear I'm not making fun of her for being uneducated; she is very educated. And it's not actually a "terrible" or weird name; it works quite well as a name. She put all this effort into naming him something "unique" and somehow managed not to discover there was a city called that when it's along the lines of "Leeds" or "Toulouse" or "Lucerne" -- they might not jump immediately to mind if I said "name European cities" but if I said "Have you ever heard of Lucerne?" you'd probably be like, "Isn't that a place in Europe or something?" And then -- this is the part that is nuts -- she's SUPER ANGRY AT THE CITY FOR EXISTING. Really, really angry. FURIOUS. Because it is RUINING HER CHILD'S NAME. (He's like nine now.) If the city comes up in conversation, like someone mentions they were just there on a business trip, she flushes red with anger and snaps about how she HATES that place because it STOLE her child's name.

The kicker is, you know how little towns in the Midwest are often named after cities in other parts of the world? (Paris, Cairo, Kokomo, etc.) THERE IS A $CHILDSNAME TOWN TWENTY MILES FROM US. That she apparently ALSO managed to be unaware of.

And it's not really the unawareness, it's the INCANDESCENT RAGE about these places that have the same name as her child. If she were like, "Oh, yeah, I was trying to be unique and I just didn't think about cities, just people, I'm still kinda annoyed about it," it would not be weird. It's the continued, unabated anger at these cities for ruining her child's unique name. It's ... bizarrely solipsistic.

Like I said, it's a perfectly fine name. Her attitude about the whole thing is just illustrative to me of the very strange emotional freight that some parents bring to the "MY CHILD MUST HAVE A UNIQUE NAME" thing and that's part of what people find offputting the unique name thing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:40 AM on January 1 [4 favorites]


I was just looking through my family tree for names that weren't too uncommon in their time, but would be totally buckets of weird for a kid today:

Ladoiska (which must have been pronounced with enough schwaness for one census taker to spell it "Lodaska," but a quick Google shows plenty of Ladoiskas and Lodoiskas in the mid-nineteenth century)
Gilpha (which they must have pronounced with a soft "G," since one census taker spelled it with a "J"
Lucerna (they must have heard about the city just in time to change one vowel)
Durthula (my favorite)

Going back to the 1600's when literacy for the middle classes was just catching on and spelling was fluid for good reasons, there was also an occasional "Allis" or "Emaly."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:59 AM on January 1


Sandbag Flump-Drop
Stonefist Crushmight
Willowthistle Stembreak the Weak


What are monsters in Diablo 2?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:12 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


In a way, she was doing better with just Krishna. (I've known a few female Krishnas, it's not that big a deal.)

I believe the woman has a right to decide what she wants to do with her own name.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 PM on January 1


Fligglemot Grundishep
Plaumplop Hunipbalk
Jralnoolin Drebnar-Sconk

I can do this all day. Inventing random passwords is simply not a problem for me, although remembering them can be challenging.
posted by JHarris at 12:37 PM on January 1


THERE IS A $CHILDSNAME TOWN TWENTY MILES FROM US

God Bless lovely little Pontiac.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:43 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out whether I'd rather the kid's name be Liege, Grenoble, or Munich.
posted by Sara C. at 12:45 PM on January 1


Fligglemot Grundishep
Plaumplop Hunipbalk
Jralnoolin Drebnar-Sconk


What are three new disposable characters in Star Wars Episode 7?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:54 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to figure out whether I'd rather the kid's name be Liege, Grenoble, or Munich.

Lodz. Vilnius. Bratislava. Reykjavik.
posted by jeather at 1:06 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Brno.
posted by rtha at 1:45 PM on January 1


Phenix City man, father to Crimson Tide and Alliegh Bama, offers support to Andalusia family who named child Krimson Tyde

Unsurprisingly, no support for Alabamans who cannot spell "Phoenix."
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:18 PM on January 1


Without clicking that link, I'm going to assume that Phenix City and Andalusia are both places in Alabama. Andalusia is pronounced An-duh-loo-SY-ah.
posted by Sara C. at 2:31 PM on January 1


NAILED IT.

Definitely click the link for unironic use of the expression "young'un".

(Jury is still out on pronunciation of Andalusia. Would also accept Ann-duh-luge-a.)
posted by Sara C. at 2:35 PM on January 1


May cause red tide poisoning
posted by Sys Rq at 2:55 PM on January 1


"Liege"

Liege is like the Belgian Detroit or Toledo, Europeans and especially Liegeois would be forever mystified why anyone would name their kid after it, and probably theorize that maybe you meant the coffee or the waffle.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:04 PM on January 1


But it's fun to say, looks fancy, and is masculine enough. I can totally see some dumbass American naming their kid that because they saw it somewhere and thought it would make a good name.
posted by Sara C. at 4:22 PM on January 1


I am now certain that Liege is about to have a moment in the sun as a boy's name. It has the "lee" sound that is so popular for girls but hard to find in suitable male names, sounds "old and classic" without having the trouble of your Gaylords and Ashleys, and evokes kings and knights without being as boring and unfashionable as say Richard or Francis. It's happening now; there's no stopping it. It's been entered into the zeitgeist.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:04 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


it's along the lines of "Leeds" or "Toulouse" or "Lucerne" -- they might not jump immediately to mind if I said "name European cities" but if I said "Have you ever heard of Lucerne?" you'd probably be like, "Isn't that a place in Europe or something?"

Oh, I was hoping it was Petra. Hmmm. Hanover? Basel? Skopje?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:11 PM on January 1


But it's fun to say, looks fancy, and is masculine enough.

And there's a purty song about it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:21 PM on January 1


I first met Krishna on the very first day of Kindergarten, and was like this with her all through to when we all went off to college - and not once do I remember any instance of anyone giving her or Theoden shit because of their names.

I think this might be a white privilege thing, though - while people might privately think that a name is kind of silly, they're not likely to straight up ask someone how much crack their mother had been smoking to come up with that name if they're white. Dejeuner cited that as the reason she changed her name - she wasn't exaggerating, and she's not the only person I know that's happened to.

But if you get people assuming that someone was a crack baby because of their name, I really don't think the parents of the oddly named kid are the ones that need to change their behavior there.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:26 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


every couple of hours now—twice every day, at most—i think of nancy ann cianci and lapse into fifteen minutes of helpless giggling
posted by Quilford at 5:54 AM on January 2 [4 favorites]


As I trudged through the snow to word, I was idly wondering how many Americans would pronounce "Liege" as "Luigi."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:43 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


while people might privately think that a name is kind of silly, they're not likely to straight up ask someone how much crack their mother had been smoking to come up with that name if they're white.

No, the white people equivalent is "Were your parents hippies?"

Seriously, people think all sorts of awful things about someone who names their baby Krishna or River or Orion.

Of course, if you're a suburban soccer mom type with kids named Rock, Tagg, and Brie, nobody will say anything about it, you're right. There is "privilege" in a certain kind of offbeat naming.

That said, I think "was your mom on crack" says more about the person saying it than the person bestowing the name. Hell, someone naming their kid Dejeuner has probably at least a passing familiarity with French, which is more than one can say for most people whining about crack babies and welfare queens. It's also fairly unlikely that the typical "hurf durf La-a" level racist knows that "dejeuner" means "breakfast".

I'm assuming here that "Dejeuner" is pronounced "day-joon-ay", which is the only way it really makes sense as a "ghetto" stereotyped name. Also I think the word "dejeuner" is really pretty and it sort of does sound like a nice name, if you're also familiar with a name like Desiree.
posted by Sara C. at 9:11 AM on January 2


No, the white people equivalent is "Were your parents hippies?"

I can verify this was my reaction years ago when I was introduced to a new coworker named "Gentle".
posted by The Gooch at 10:29 AM on January 2


The boy at the top of the social ladder at secondary school was called Connie, short for Cornelius (or Conleth?), and the one at the bottom, whose name was mocked, was a Jonathan.
posted by rollick at 6:03 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


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