you can't name him that.
January 27, 2015 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Don’t Even Try to Pick the Perfect Baby Name: "I was left with the same old words I’d had before, the same short list of names worn thin by the lives of other men ... For every boy name there is a man in the world who has ruined it."
posted by changeling (233 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pretty paranoid parents, if you ask me.

Kids won't make fun of your child because of its name.

They'll taunt it for other reasons, individual reasons, how you dress them, their ethnicity/religion, their intelligence (too high, too low), it's weight (too skinny, too fat).
posted by el io at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


For some reason, changeling, you posting about babies makes me uncomfortable.
posted by slipthought at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2015 [52 favorites]


Yes, this is very familiar. Name after name was rejected for bad associations one or the other of us had. We wanted something out of the ordinary without being too out there, something that was obviously trying too hard. "Lazlo" had brief appeal, only to inspire gasps of horror from my parents (who tried so hard to never give any opinion at all).

Finally, we had a name, one without strong associations, not inspired by anything in particular, just one we liked. Unusual without being too weird, not a "thing" in pop culture.

Yeah, pop culture can cut that out from under you. I was home taking care of our baby Archer when I heard about this new show that was going to be coming out soon...
posted by Four Ds at 2:16 PM on January 27, 2015 [37 favorites]


“Well,” I ventured on a night out with friends, “we call him Gus, kind of as a joke, but it’s starting to feel like it’s actually his name.”

My aunt and uncle did this with my cousin Ben before he was born, referring to him jokingly as "Mungo" - a Scottish saint, and the most hilariously awful name they'd ever heard.

By the time he was born, they'd really gotten used to Mungo, and were hesitant to part with it! So now it's his middle name.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:19 PM on January 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


We’d cross it off the list, not wanting to be — God forbid — cliché in this, our most significant display of personal taste.

Give your kid a name that
1) isn't from your own cohort (those are friends names, not babies!)
2) isn't from your parents cohort (those are mom and dad names, not babies!)
3) isn't from your grandparents (old people, ugh!)

and you end up with your great-grandparents cohort. on mefi previously

And this is how I know three Olivias under the age of 5.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2015 [21 favorites]


Dear god. There are people actually feel entitled to comment on the names other people are thinking of giving their babies?

Who the hell would do that?
posted by kyrademon at 2:23 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


They definitely freaked out a bit much, but then, I've never had to name a child, either. It was kind of depressing that a name that I thought would be awesome for a child is a shared thought (it's rising in popularity AS WE SPEAK), and then, just the other day, my sister asked for the opinions of friends and family on whether they should go with that name or another...to name their dog.

The dog's name is Indiana...
posted by Atreides at 2:23 PM on January 27, 2015


You can't really blame these parents for going overboard in trying to choose a good name. The dad's name is Dustin. Dustin. I mean, that is literally the worst name.
posted by phunniemee at 2:23 PM on January 27, 2015 [34 favorites]


I have 2 nieces called Olivia, out of five. It will probably turn out to be some sort of Angry God thing, like the taking of the firstborn, but instead of death there is some sort of curse such that families have to call one girl from every litter Olivia.
posted by biffa at 2:23 PM on January 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


The dad's name is Dustin. Dustin. I mean, that is literally the worst name.

Yes but unless the last name is Forprints.
posted by ORthey at 2:25 PM on January 27, 2015 [30 favorites]


"Dear god. There are people actually feel entitled to comment on the names other people are thinking of giving their babies?"

I've had friends keep all their potential names a secret, until after the baby was born, for just this reason. They accepted input - 'oh yeah, tell us any good names if you want' and then would be non-committal ('thanks for the input').

I assume they did this for just this reason.
posted by el io at 2:27 PM on January 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Enheduanna for a girl, Gilgamesh for a boy; the first author or the first literary protagonist. "Heddy," "Anna," or "Gill" for everyday use.

Enheduanna is perfect, Gilgamesh is so insanely pompous as to drift into "boy named Sue" territory
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:28 PM on January 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


I find names fascinating, so I get the interest in baby names as a sort of fantasy-football thing, but it baffles me that so many parents seem to let this edge over into a source of genuine anxiety. Like, do your due diligence by not naming your kid Poop or Hitler, but beyond that there's always going to be someone who finds your kid's name stupid, unoriginal, weird, tasteless, dated, etc. etc. You can always change your kid's name! Your kid can always change your kid's name! Then again I have a super-generic 80s name that my parents chose because it was popular, so I don't have personal experience being named something like Fluffernutter or Switzerland or McClavicle and maybe I'm underestimating how much of an influence that has on someone's life.
posted by threeants at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seven months later, though, when we call him his name, we don't think of other babies. He is ours, finally, and his name is a round head in footie pajamas.

This was my experience as well. We had a rough time coming up with names, especially for boys. My wife works in an elementary school, so she had no end of bad associations (can't use [NAME] because of that difficult kid from 8 years ago, etc.) After our kiddo arrived, none of that ever came up again. You get caught up in everything else you need to do and the sleep deprivation and this one's YOURS. That's what I try to tell people struggling with this; it most likely won't matter much before long. And did I mention the sleep deprivation?
posted by sapere aude at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, and don't even try to name him/her Nutella.
posted by Metro Gnome at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gus is a fine name. We need more Gus's, Anguses and Gustavs.
posted by bonehead at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Asswipe Johnson
posted by cazoo at 2:34 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Who the hell would do that?

humans, all of them. every last one, terrible and stupid. people asked me to change my dog's name because my calling her Peanut made them uncomfortable. TOTAL STRANGERS. ASKED ME TO CHANGE THE NAME OF MY DOG.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:34 PM on January 27, 2015 [34 favorites]


When we were naming our daughters I became uncomfortably aware of how much names are a symbol of class judgement these days. I guess it made it hard because I really don't want to be trying to say something through my kid's name; I just want to give her a nice durable one that will last her a long time.
posted by selfnoise at 2:34 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't have kids, but I remember talking to a friend's wife about those favorite names many of us secretly sit on. she finally got me to share my long-beloved boy name: Jory.

she made a face. "ugh, sounds like Gordy. you know, the pig."

my first middle-grade book comes out in two months, starring an eleven-year-old boy named Jory, and I love him and it. screw you, friend's wife.

anyway. I think names are a lot like tattoos. if you tell people about your baby name or tattoo idea before you get it, someone's always gonna have a comment. but once the baby's out & named, or your skin is inked, that shit's permanent and people know to shut their mouths. (in front of your face, anyway.)
posted by changeling at 2:35 PM on January 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Gilgamesh! Now there's a name! And I'm not sure what it says about me that when I read "Gus," I assumed it was for Augustus, despite actually knowing a Gustavo.
posted by Four Ds at 2:35 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a personal rule on names like Gus. If the name is actually derived from a longer name, like Augustus, then give the kid that name, and then call him by the shortened version. No Jimmys without James, no Hanks without Henrys, and no Bills without Williams.

My sister had a dog named Gus.
posted by Atreides at 2:36 PM on January 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


people asked me to change my dog's name because my calling her Peanut made them uncomfortable.

Maybe they were allergic.
posted by Jpfed at 2:36 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I have a nephew named Tully, a name that I think makes him sound likes chauffeur. So, I call him Jethro.
posted by jonmc at 2:36 PM on January 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


iirc one person said it was "triggering"

unless you saw a homicidal maniac dressed as mr peanut slaughter your entire family, go the fuck away, i hate you
posted by poffin boffin at 2:37 PM on January 27, 2015 [60 favorites]


Dustin. I mean, that is literally the worst name.

"What are you doing, Dustin?" "No, I'm allergic, so I hire someone to do that."

Seriously, though, the sooner new parents adopt the following guidelines for naming their kids, the sooner we can start to free ourselves from some of the sillier shackles of tradition and cultural continuity. A baby's name should be:

1. Easy for a native speaker of at least one of the parents' languages (whichever the kid is likely to encounter most often) to write, given the pronunciation, if applicable.

2. Easy for the same native speaker to pronounce correctly, knowing only the spelling.

3. Not known to have ever been given to another person, ever.

My name is Mark. Why am I saddled with biblical or god-of-war associations, for example, when I could just be called Pelcharn or Bruplix and be free to do my own damn thing?
posted by busted_crayons at 2:37 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


i would name a kid beelzebub or huitzilopochtli or akhenaten or whatever and just not give a fuck

like oh what you don't like my kid's name, motherfucker? BAM there go your crops BANG your herds are all dead BOOM your farm is flooded now
posted by poffin boffin at 2:41 PM on January 27, 2015 [55 favorites]


maybe behemoth
posted by poffin boffin at 2:42 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


My only rule for future kid names is no alternative spellings. My brother is and has always been "Marc with a c." I'm not saddling anyone with that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Just use the Roller Derby Name Generator:

Quinn Thunderclap
Journey Werebeast

All reasonable names.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


maybe behemoth

Another thing I don't like about conventional names is that they are very often gendered. I don't really see the need for this, since it's not generally a good idea to try to infer someone's gender from their name anyway, so what's the point?

What I mean is: how about Betheymoth instead?
posted by busted_crayons at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I've had friends keep all their potential names a secret"

My brother had fun by leaving a decoy list lying where prying eyes would find it. I don't think "Damien Lucifer" was on the list but it should have been. I have an aunt who might be sufficiently credulous...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


If I ever had kids I'd just name them like my MMO chararacters... Cmdr'Shepard, Lin-Beifong, and Angua-Uberwald are pretty normal names, right?
posted by kmz at 2:46 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


The always entertaining Baby Name Voyager, which will let you view the precipitous decline of the Pearls and Rubys, the sudden rises of Tiffanies and Dylans, and the curious case of Adolph. One of the best infoviz gadgets ever.

1968: Peak Jenny?
posted by ssr_of_V at 2:46 PM on January 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


oh and if i had twins i would name them jefferson davis hogg and abraham lincoln hogg regardless of gender
posted by poffin boffin at 2:46 PM on January 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


"when I read "Gus," I assumed it was for Augustus, despite actually knowing a Gustavo."

Augustine, surely.
posted by oddman at 2:48 PM on January 27, 2015


Growing up, a pretty close friend of mine had a much younger brother, on the order of a decade between them. They couldn't decide what to name him, so they just started calling him Baby Lastname. This got shortened to "B-Lastname, and oftentimes just 'B' Eventually like, a year later, they settled on a pretty common name, but everyone just called him B-FirstnameTo this day, that 20 year old kid gets called Baby or "B" on a fairly regular basis.

But in naming our own kid, my wife and I had a little bit of conflict. I have a really common biblical name, and growing up, I was always Firstname S. as opposed to Firstname B. or G. It was kind of obnoxious, and actually confusing*.

The Paternal side of her family, everyone gets called John. For no cited reason, other than tradition. It took a solid six months of discussion. Its 'John' on every document, but 'whatever-other-name-you-pick' at school, in life, etc. This also includes his cousin, who is like, 3 weeks older than him. I was dead set against having such a generic name. She wanted, pretty bad to name him this way, to appease the family.

Fortunately, because I was able to articulate eventually why I wanted our kid to have a unique name, she actually agreed and we both enthusiastically settled on an uncommon name that could be shortened or lengthened, with no middle name, just our last names hyphenated. Since its uncommon, people usually quizzically repeat his name on first meet, but it oddly enough really fits him. He seems happy with it, and switches pretty normally between the different lengths of name. We both feel like it was a good fit.


I remember to this day at a church camp, someone yelling out "FIRSTNAME, STOP BREAKING THAT RULE" at night during a time we were to be returning to the bunks. I got blamed for it. Wouldn't have happened with a more unique name. Shit like that tended to happen to me for some reason. Such a pain in the ass.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:51 PM on January 27, 2015


Some friends of mine declare once that they would name any future kids Batman and Jesus do they would be equally cool.

They also found any non-shortened names pretentious (someone preferring Margaret to Meg, say, or William to Will). In the end, their kids wound up being named Hewitt and Osbourne, so what do they know?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:52 PM on January 27, 2015


My only rule for future kid names is no alternative spellings. My brother is and has always been "Marc with a c." I'm not saddling anyone with that.

This just depends on the locale. Being Mark with a K in Quebec was often a pain. I've been "Sorry, it's Mark, not Marek" in Poland, too. This all argues in favour of the idea that my parents should have had the sense to name me Lepopitz instead.
posted by busted_crayons at 2:52 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


A friend of a friend who lives in the US, but was born in Sweden, gave his kids (now pre-teens) nice, traditional, classic, Swedish names.

Elsa and Olaf.

They hate him.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:53 PM on January 27, 2015 [65 favorites]


When my father taught college he had a female student whose surname was Hooker. Her parents had named her Ima.

On the other hand, my parents picked a name that started with R at random so I'd have the same initials as my father but not be a third (he was already a junior). I was in my teens before they realized that (1) there are no less than four famous people named Roger Williams, and (2) by "skilled with the spear" Webster's dictionary was hinting at such usages in other cultures as "He rogered her right there on the soccer field" or "he had the biggest roger she'd ever seen," which is also why Roger is just about the only male name which has no corresponding female version.
posted by localroger at 2:54 PM on January 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Aberystwyth for a girl, Lucius Cornelius Sulla for a boy.
posted by runincircles at 2:54 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm a huge sucker for taking a grandparents' name when possible. Lucky for me my grandpa was Bronislaw. How cool a name is that?
posted by Sphinx at 2:57 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Dear god. There are people actually feel entitled to comment on the names other people are thinking of giving their babies?

Who the hell would do that?


Can't authorities in most places prevent parents from legally giving their children certain names? Google brings up tons of examples like "Sex Fruit" being disallowed in New Zealand and "Metallica" nearly being disallowed in Sweden.
posted by XMLicious at 2:58 PM on January 27, 2015


that 20 year old kid gets called Baby or "B" on a fairly regular basis.

I once dated someone whose cousin was called "Bro". His sister had been unable to pronounce his name correctly when she was a toddler, so she just called him "Bro", because he was her brother. It kind of caught on with the whole family, and everyone just called him Bro as a result.

Entertainingly, he was in college when I met him, a WASPy young man from an extremely wealthy family, fond of wearing white baseball hats, and a key player on his school's lacrosse team. He was the most Bro he could have been. The prophecy was fulfilled.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:58 PM on January 27, 2015 [43 favorites]


I really, really wanted 'Akira' or 'Tetsuo', which I thought sounded awesome with my Jewish surname, but the lovely wife nixed 'em. We ended up with a name that is very original in Chile but turned out to be in the top 10 most popular names in the Netherlands, which is where we found out we were expecting him, so something about ambient unoriginality.
posted by signal at 2:59 PM on January 27, 2015


Jory is a very sweet name. If I ever get another dog I am going to name them Jory.
posted by cairnoflore at 2:59 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I also knew a girl growing up named Terra. Her mom remarried a dude with the last name Hyneman. The poor kid got her last name changed by her mom, like right before middle school started.

She had the paperwork ready on her 18th birthday to change it. I still feel so terrible for that girl.
posted by furnace.heart at 3:01 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also, I have previously told the story of my friend who named his kid "Logan".
posted by Greg Nog at 3:02 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Rita Rudner: "It gets harder to name children when you get older. Because by the time you’re in your thirties every name you think of reminds you of someone you hate. We have to hurry; we’re down to Jethro and Nefertiti."
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:02 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I met a young man by the name of "Chaos" not too long ago. A polite and engaging fellow, so I guess his parents knew what they were doing.
posted by Iridic at 3:02 PM on January 27, 2015


Marc with a c reminds me of that druid Eric Withakay.

I'd probably name my kids after gods because I'm unimaginative like that. But I've decided that if I ever get pets, they would be called Plonk, Ziffermillion, and Golfing.
posted by halifix at 3:03 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


A girl in NZ called Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii got her name changed because it was too embarrassing for her.

Benson and Hedges (twins), Violence, and No. 16 Bus Shelter were all legitimate names though.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:05 PM on January 27, 2015


Kids won't make fun of your child because of its name.

Having spent a significant part of my childhood called either Gertrude (because apparently Margaret sounds old fashioned?) or Margarita Baloney, I beg to differ.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:05 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had a roommate try to re-name my cat, who was named Fiskars... he kept saying that it wasn't a cat name, we should change it to Whiskers or some god-awful thing. Yeah, just pet him on the belly for a minute, you'll see.
posted by Huck500 at 3:06 PM on January 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


Ziffer is apparently German for numeral. I don't like it anymore. It makes too much sense, like a plausible reason for a name.
posted by halifix at 3:06 PM on January 27, 2015


oddman: ""when I read "Gus," I assumed it was for Augustus, despite actually knowing a Gustavo."

Augustine, surely.
"

Perhaps Constantine, as Gus is a common diminutive for Constantine among ethnic Greeks (or so I was informed by a former coworker with that name who went by Gus - a google search seems to bear this out.)
posted by namewithoutwords at 3:10 PM on January 27, 2015


We had this huge issue in my family where we gave our baby a name that my parents utterly detested and tried to get us to change. The name was "too ethnic" in their view in relation to our own ethnicity. I think there is a big generational gap with respect to "ethnic" names - lots of younger people seem to be embracing older/outdated names that were once considered ethnic (esp. Jewish (so many Sams and Bens and Jacobs) or Irish (Liam, Declan, etc.), where I live), but my parents were totally not on board. I suspect this is related to the "great-grandparent cohort" issue.
posted by Mid at 3:11 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kids won't make fun of your child because of its name.

Yes. Yes they will. I can only presume you escaped that particular torment that still, in my thirties, people feel it's perfectly fine to riff on either my first or last name as though I hadn't literally heard those jokes from everyone I have ever met since I was an embryo.

Sure, kids will find things to mock other kids for, because kids are mainly sociopathic little monsters, bless 'em. No need to hand them ammunition.

For me, if I ever have kids, and if one is a girl, some variant of Margaret/Marguerite/Margot will be in there for both of my grandmothers.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


you can name the boy Murder Killstab and I think he'll be fine wrt mocking
posted by poffin boffin at 3:14 PM on January 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


yes but as a parent one must be concerned about names becoming destiny.

or at least invest in a good suit of armour, either/or
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:15 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Our kid name rule is that it has to be easily spelled and pronounced by all non-morons. Is that with an I or a Y?--out. Is the E silent?--out. Is it JAR-bark-yoo-lar or Jar-BARK-yoo-lar?--out.
posted by resurrexit at 3:16 PM on January 27, 2015


you can name the boy Murder Killstab and I think he'll be fine wrt mocking


Hey Mulder Dumbstab you see any UFOS lately huh
posted by curious nu at 3:17 PM on January 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


Encountered a girl named Victory - she was the most insufferably bratty kid in class - and a boy named, I shit you not, Kal-El. Also have a friend who named two of his boys Azeroth (yes, the planet in Warcraft) and Aragorn. I love my nerd tribe more than anything, but...
posted by restless_nomad at 3:19 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Girls: Day they are born.
Boys: Direction they are born in.

Easy-peasy.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:19 PM on January 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


I have met two people named Jor-El and am aware of, though have never met, a third. That's three people named after Superman's Kryptonian father, probably by nerdy parents who wanted something original. And yet, I've never met or heard of a single Kal-El.

I'm not complaining. I probably won't have any kids ever, but if I do, I'm totally going mythical or fictional characters. If people are going to associate a kid with someone else because of a name, it should be an awesome one. Like Telemachus or Barda or Lego or something.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 3:20 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Speaking of pop culture, I know a family that has twins named Penny and Desmond. They were born in the spring of 2010.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:20 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


We discussed this, all babies must be named after ANICENT KINGS

CLOVIS, RETURN TO US IN GLORY
posted by The Whelk at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


Girls: Day they are born.
Boys: Direction they are born in.


I would like you to introduce you to my children, Thankfuckitsoverday and Downwards.

One of my middle names is Desmond! Family tradition on my dad's side.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kids won't make fun of your child because of its name.

Let me guess...you were homeschooled?
posted by hal_c_on at 3:22 PM on January 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Also I would just like to mention for the official permanent record that I am still very sad that Metroid Baby and ignignokt did not name their baby Bulbasaur.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Cause it was clearly a Squirtle
posted by The Whelk at 3:25 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


1. Easy for a native speaker of at least one of the parents' languages (whichever the kid is likely to encounter most often) to write, given the pronunciation, if applicable.

2. Easy for the same native speaker to pronounce correctly, knowing only the spelling.


These were my two ground rules for names. Surprisingly, I had to convince my wife, despite her name suffering from both misspelling and mispronunciation on a pretty much constant basis.

Also, the article touches on this but I feel like this is much more of a problem for boys' names. Looking for names in the space between "so common it's boring" and "so obscure it's odd" we came up with dozens for a baby girl, but virtually nothing for a baby boy (which is what we wound up with).

And we also didn't tell anybody, because while people will gladly tell you what's wrong with a potential name, it's much harder for them to do with a name already on the birth certificate.
posted by bjrubble at 3:26 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kids won't make fun of your child because of its name.

Marge: Homer, I've been thinking - if the baby's a boy, what do you think of the name Larry?
Homer: Marge, we can't do that! All the kids'll call him Larry Fairy!
Marge: Well, how about Louie?
Homer: They'll call him Screwy Louie!
Marge: Bob?
Homer: Slob.
Marge: Luke?
Homer: Puke.
Marge: Marcus?
Homer: Mucous.
Marge: What about Bart?
Homer: Let's see...Bart, Cart, Dart, Eart...nope, can't see any problem with that!
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:26 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Cause it was clearly a Squirtle

They evolve out of that once they start eating solids.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:26 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Boys: Direction they are born in.

People be naming their kids 'Breech' all over the place.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:28 PM on January 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Why is 'uniqueness' a factor in naming a child anyways? I'm always a little surprised it comes up as a desired trait.
posted by Carillon at 3:29 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seconding (or thirding) that kids will make fun of you for your name. I was made fun of for my name throughout all of my schooling until college. This included rhyming my name with a popular show that everyone considered gay, which to them meant I was also gay, which meant I was bullied for being gay even though I wasn't gay. The other thing was that people would intentionally mispronounce my name just to be rude. Whenever it happens now in an innocent setting (such as at the doctor's office) it still causes an extreme spike in anxiety for me. It was so bad in my youth that I will commonly put another person's name down for a table at a restaurant simply to avoid the possible agony of them saying my name wrong.
posted by gucci mane at 3:30 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Carillon, because being Elsa C. for your entire life is annoying.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:30 PM on January 27, 2015


Unrelated, I was just looking up the biography of Amedeo Avogadro. Now that's a name.

His full name was Lorenzo Romano Amedeo Carlo Avogadro di Quaregna e di Cerreto. Which must have been awful on the playground.
posted by mochapickle at 3:30 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Honestly, it'll be easy for me if I ever have a kid. I've been naming D&D characters for years, I'll just re-use one of those. The choices currently include such classics as Zszdiirajss, Chrism, X9JRC68, Viveltre, and The Dreamer Lost In Twilight's Embrace (Drea for short).

No sweat.
posted by kyrademon at 3:32 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Forgot to add, as much as I dislike naming people after a fictional show, my friend really wants to name his kid Vash, which I think is actually a pretty cool name.

For girls I like Genevieve, Emma, Jocelyn, and there were some others but I gotta remember them.
posted by gucci mane at 3:32 PM on January 27, 2015


Why is 'uniqueness' a factor in naming a child anyways? I'm always a little surprised it comes up as a desired trait.

In my relatively small junior high, there were over a dozen boys with my name just in my year. It gets wearing to have to go by a nickname instead of having one happen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:32 PM on January 27, 2015


Why is 'uniqueness' a factor in naming a child anyways? I'm always a little surprised it comes up as a desired trait.

Well, getting referred to as "the white Jennifer Lee" is a little weird.
posted by phunniemee at 3:32 PM on January 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


I've been a Michael/Mike my whole life roomthreeseventeen though. It's not a huge deal, to me at least which colors my view to be sure about the whole situation. It seems others may have viewed it as more of an issue though. I guess that makes sense.
posted by Carillon at 3:33 PM on January 27, 2015


P.S. "Greg the Egg" here. To be honest I was too perplexed to be mortified by such an odd, moderate epithet. In retrospect I'm glad my classmates weren't aware of the word "smegma", or I'd've probably been called "Smeg". Which would have been decidedly worse.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:33 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Boys' names are harder. There are fewer of them, by perhaps an order of magnitude. And for me and my wife, we picked names that could straddle two (very different) languages. The pool of potential bilingual names is small indeed.
posted by zardoz at 3:37 PM on January 27, 2015


That's "os-wee-pay"!
posted by Poldo at 3:37 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


The best and worst advice we got was to name our kid something that everyone can spell but isn't used very much.

So, we ended up with Molly. Now everyone we run into has a dog named that, or our kids name comes up on the news talking about drugs. Just fucking great.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's interesting what people pick when they're able to choose a brand new name as an adult (e.g. in the case of trans people). Here are some names of trans men that I've run across on YouTube/Tumblr: Skylar, Konnor, Benton, Ashton, Blake, Asher, Dayne, Rae, Chase, Emery, Val, Ryan, Alex.
posted by desjardins at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


One would think that a person with a weirdly-spelled name, like Quelly instead of Kelly, would mention this fact to the poorly-paid intern trying and failing to find their profile in the computer system for several excruciating minutes while a line of impatient customers stands behind them glaring.

You would be wrong. They never do.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:39 PM on January 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


> P.S. "Greg the Egg" here.

"Greg" here too. My ex-coworker decided that it was hilarious to equate me with "pegging".
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 3:39 PM on January 27, 2015


I really, really wanted 'Akira' or 'Tetsuo'...

KANEDA!!!!!!!!!

We discussed this, all babies must be named after ANICENT KINGS

The pharaohs of Egypt alone can provide all the names you'll ever need, from short and punchy ("Mekh") to odd ("Djer") to sure-to-be-misponounced ("Shepseskare") to unparsable letter salad ("Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare").
posted by The Tensor at 3:41 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Kids won't make fun of your child because of its name.

Also as an NZ kid with a "faggy" (sic) first name and double-barrelled last name who copped abuse in the street every day because of those: lol.

Ultimately I guess it was character-building, but that's not that comforting when you're 14 iykwim.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2015


gucci mane: I was made fun of for my name throughout all of my schooling until college. This included rhyming my name with a popular show that everyone considered gay, which to them meant I was also gay, which meant I was bullied for being gay even though I wasn't gay.

Right, but doesn't this suggest that kids can make fun of any name and that trying to choose a name that's unmockable is a fool's errand? That show probably didn't exist when your parents were naming you, and even if it had, expecting them to sit around and be like, "Well, we can't name him that, because it rhymes with a tv show that in five years, kids will consider gay" is asking a lot.

...

FFFM: Sure, kids will find things to mock other kids for, because kids are mainly sociopathic little monsters, bless 'em. No need to hand them ammunition...For me, if I ever have kids, and if one is a girl, some variant of Margaret/Marguerite/Margot will be in there for both of my grandmothers.

ocherdraco: Kids won't make fun of your child because of its name[?]...Having spent a significant part of my childhood called either Gertrude (because apparently Margaret sounds old fashioned?) or Margarita Baloney, I beg to differ.

See? :/

[PS I'm sorry this happened to you all. Kids suck.]
posted by pretentious illiterate at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I tried very hard to convince my cousins to name their first child Secundus.

It *was* a family name, after all.
posted by jefflowrey at 3:43 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Then there's my mom's (Catholic) family's strategy of naming all three girls Mary. Because that's not confusing at all. (They go by their middle names)
posted by quaking fajita at 3:43 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]



We discussed this, all babies must be named after ANICENT KINGS


yeah but Cnut won't go over very well.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:46 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


The dad's name is Dustin. Dustin. I mean, that is literally the worst name.

Yes but unless the last name is Forprints.


Or Thewind-Bykansas.

My last name is Daeley, and though I never had the opportunity, naming a son "Salvador" seemed like the best idea ever. ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:46 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ignatius Peter, surely.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:49 PM on January 27, 2015


quaking fajita: at least in Quebec pretty much every boy has a first name of Joseph and girl the first name of Mary, but it's treated the way middle names are in the rest of Canada/USA, omitted everywhere except legal documents.
posted by furtive at 3:50 PM on January 27, 2015


My fiancee and I have picked out three girl's names and not a single boy's name. I've been listening to a podcast on the crusades, though, and Bohemond is growing on me.
posted by empath at 3:50 PM on January 27, 2015


Then there's my mom's (Catholic) family's strategy of naming all three girls Mary .

Out of about 40 people in our three-generation family, only 3 do not share a first name with someone else, and 2 of those 3 married in. There are 5 Johns alone.
posted by sallybrown at 3:50 PM on January 27, 2015


Said it before, Mrs. dglynn's mother had the most awesome name for a woman ever.

It's Meta.

German, and pronounced May-ta. So awesome I want to get her a Multi-Pass.

My friends wanted to go further back for family names, delighting in the idea of a tot named Australopithecus, but chickened out.
posted by dglynn at 3:50 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Children should be named after the thing the parents treasure most in the world, like Wealth, Freedom, Health, Virtue, Pizza, puppies, Carrie Fisher, Chanting, Or fine cigars.
posted by The Whelk at 3:51 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm going to name my future children after awesome fossils from the Burgess Shale but can't quite figure out if I want to use the names of general groups or specific fossils. Who doesn't want a name like Porifera. Or Marella. Or Carinatus. Or Yohoia. ARTHROPODA GET IN THIS HOUSE THIS SECOND has a nice ring to it. Maybe I'll just name one Burgess and the other Shale.

For some reason my husband disagrees about this but he wants to name them something midwestern and boring.
posted by barchan at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Both Burgess and Marella are lovely names to my ear.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:53 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Alternately, they should be named after traits parents hope their children have, such as GetsASTEMDegree or BitchinHair or WontMarryABlackGuy
posted by The Whelk at 3:53 PM on January 27, 2015


barchan, is Halluengenica still available?
posted by The Whelk at 3:54 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


If it's not you could name a child after its group, the LOBOPODA.
posted by barchan at 3:55 PM on January 27, 2015


Googling "Namer's remorse" turns up some hilarisad stories. I read a couple of baby name forums and blogs (esp.the ones at babynamewizard.com) and the angst is so palpable...
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:56 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


My brother and I were named "David" and "Jonathan" after the biblical characters. I'm kidless, but I did once think that I might continue the tradition by giving my first child the same name as biblical Jonathan's first child. So I looked it up — it's "Mephibosheth".
posted by benito.strauss at 3:57 PM on January 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


The correct answer to "what should we name our baby" is Dorothy. Dorothy is the best name. Dot is the cutest nickname.

You're welcome.
posted by phunniemee at 3:57 PM on January 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


Baby name: Wizard.com
posted by rollick at 3:57 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree with giving the full name Augustus for the birth certificate, but there is nothing wrong with Gus for a name. I like it!
posted by Roger Dodger at 3:57 PM on January 27, 2015


"Greg the Egg" here.

Kids mostly focused on the fact that my last name could kind of be made to sound like "foreskin". I mentioned this to my friend Yakov once, and he was like "yeah, get back to me when your first name rhymes with male masturbation"
posted by Greg Nog at 3:58 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Then there's my mom's (Catholic) family's strategy of naming all three girls Mary.

This reaches such a height of ridiculousness in Ireland, it's possible that half the women you know are named Mary in some parts of the country and the rest are named Mairead.

Meanwhile the boys get the cool bible names like Malachi and Gabriel.
posted by fshgrl at 3:59 PM on January 27, 2015


Also, I have previously told the story of my friend who named his kid "Logan".

I can top it. I know a couple who named their twins River and Inara and they're not named after the Firefly characters, who they only learned about afterwards.
posted by The Tensor at 4:02 PM on January 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Why not both?
Gabriel Mary "Gay" Byrne (born 5 August 1934; affectionately known as Uncle Gay, Gaybo or Uncle Gaybo) is a veteran Irish presenter of radio and television
Different times...
posted by rollick at 4:02 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I had a child recently, and left the military. No more foreign adventures for me. I was thinking of naming my son something to commemorate my commitment to staying home and tending my own garden, as it were.

Something like "far from battle," or "distant conflict," maybe.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:04 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pax?

actually that would make a great name. DIBS
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:05 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


As I mentioned before in baby naming threads, I was named at the last second, but one of the names on the list was Donald Kirby, which people have mentioned sounds like a 40s B-Movie actor name ...so If I ever write* a thinly veiled version of myself in 1940s Hollywood, he'll be called Donald Kirby.

* given how many books I own about LA in the 40s I'm going to write it eventually. Best to be prepared.
posted by The Whelk at 4:07 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was supposed to be a boy and be named a specific name in a long tradition of names because the men of my father's line were manly men who never had girls, something very Highlanderish like Scotty Mcscotsmanson. When I had the audacity to be a girl baby my dad told the nurse to give me the name anyway. Later on someone, appalled, asked my mom if that was right, and she gave them a different, very feminine set of names. But somehow the 2 groups of first/middle got smashed together, so my correct legal name is ScottyMcscottmansonJillyDolly. No middle name.
posted by barchan at 4:10 PM on January 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


my correct legal name is ScottyMcscottmansonJillyDolly

YOU TOO?!????!!
posted by Wolfdog at 4:11 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was going to be a Caoimhín but then my parents decided: hell, even we can't deal with that scrabble hand of a name.
posted by rollick at 4:16 PM on January 27, 2015


So you're the one who keeps taking all my logins and email addresses. You're lucky I like your music or we'd have to have a JillyDolly throwdown!
posted by barchan at 4:20 PM on January 27, 2015


"Why do you ask, Two Dogs Fucking?"
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:23 PM on January 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Abcde (ab-see-day) seems to be a more than once or twice name being given in the last decade or so. I'm going to go all judgemental and say that is not an acceptable name.
Also? There is actually woman named Marijuana Pepsi Jackson. Her mother named her after her two favorite things. She wears it loud and proud though, so good for her.
posted by k8oglyph at 4:24 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


poffin boffin: "oh and if i had twins i would name them jefferson davis hogg and abraham lincoln hogg regardless of gender"

We named our WiFi "Abraham Linksys" and I am dying -- DYING -- for one of my neighbors to rename theirs "Router E. Lee" or "Jefferson Davsys" or something.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:24 PM on January 27, 2015 [32 favorites]


Had I been born a girl, I would have been named Niola. (It was the name of a maid on a Cuban soap opera that my mother liked, apparently.)

I totally would have rocked "Nio" as a goth/punk teenager. Sigh. It's much harder to rock "Eugenio."

But now my students call me Dr. Zed. So, all's well that ends well.
posted by oddman at 4:24 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


phunniemee: "The correct answer to "what should we name our baby" is Dorothy. Dorothy is the best name. Dot is the cutest nickname. You're welcome."

I have always had a weakness for Charlotte.

My grandmother was Charlotte, and her sister was Dorothy. If you tried to call Aunt Dorothy Dot, she'd angrily stab out her Carlton in the nearest giant ashtray while scowling and beat you to death with the nearest available yardstick/'70s vase/giant ashtray. God, she hated Dot.
posted by Sphinx at 4:25 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I always though Resaca sounded like a nice name for a baby girl. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 4:27 PM on January 27, 2015


hahaha that's awesome Eyebrows McGee, I'm going to steal that.

I once named 2 dogs Charles and Darwin just so I could run around calling "Charles Darwin!" and piss off my violently anti-evolution next door neighbor.
posted by barchan at 4:29 PM on January 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


I got lucky in that there's a lot of overlap between me and the SO's family. Turns out when everyone's named after a biblical figure or a biblical virtue, there's a lot of overlap. Although naming a daughter "Constance Joy" might just be asking for an incredibly ill-tempered child.
posted by DGStieber at 4:36 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


furnace.heart: "Oh man, I also knew a girl growing up named Terra. Her mom remarried a dude with the last name Hyneman. "

I went to high school with a girl with the last name Hyman, with a perfectly respectable Biblical first name, but we all called her "Buster" anyway.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:39 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


My cousin and his wife just had a baby. Her name is Genesis.

He (my cousin) isn't a religious guy. I've not met the wife, so I don't know about her. I'm almost hoping it's a religious thing and not a tribute to Phil Collins.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Boy names are hard. I'm pregnant with my second boy and none of the names on our list for the first one seem right. With him we went to the hospital with a list and intended to meet him before deciding, but while I was in labor the phrase "his name is [name]" drifted through my consciousness and that name was perfect. It wasn't one we had even thought of before, and it really suits him. It's also a great combination of uncommon but classic. I'm hoping the same thing happens with boy number two.
posted by apricot at 4:45 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


We named our WiFi "Abraham Linksys" and I am dying -- DYING -- for one of my neighbors to rename theirs "Router E. Lee" or "Jefferson Davsys" or something.

In my last house, the guy two doors down was "Hay-soos" -- Jesus. His wireless signal made it as far as my house, and his network name was also Jesus. Some months later, I noticed a second network called "Jesus mows my lawn."

To this day, I don't know if that was someone else on my street thinking that they were making a jab at a religious nut, or if his wife had her own network and a wicked sense of humor.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:45 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pax?

In case you didn't know...
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:46 PM on January 27, 2015


I wonder if there's a twelve year old Mortdecai out there, silently relieved at this week's box office numbers.
posted by rollick at 4:50 PM on January 27, 2015


There are too many kids named the same thing. Why bother giving a kid an identifier at all if you're going to name them the same thing as all the other kids? We all might as well just go by numbers. If you have to go with a name that's been used before, at least make it something fairly uncommon in the kid's generation.

Also, as someone with a grandma name no one can spell and everyone wants to shorten, I have long disliked my name, but lately I've decided to own it, along with the fact that no one can spell it. Anyway, having a name whose spelling one has to remember or is non-obvious provides an easy metric to separate people who care about detail and courtesy from everyone else. Of course, "everyone else" is most people.
posted by limeonaire at 4:54 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


My own baby naming story.

My MIL actually had a baby-naming story of her own: she had an aunt called Ida, last name Tester. Apparently nobody sounded the combination out until it was too late.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2015


Pax?

actually that would make a great name DIBS.


Tell that to the 30 million citizens of Miranda.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:03 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


How about Mezuzah? Anyone?

I'll see myself out...
posted by datawrangler at 5:15 PM on January 27, 2015


Eggley Bagelface?
posted by ostranenie at 5:19 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have met a (white) lady who is exactly the right age to have been named after Nichelle Nichols when Star Trek TOS was on air. OTOH we named our rescue lovebird Nyota, which is Lt. Uhura's fan-canon first name.
posted by localroger at 5:25 PM on January 27, 2015


hey GRodz approved it so it's canon CANON I TELL YOU
posted by poffin boffin at 5:27 PM on January 27, 2015


When we were deciding our own daughter's name six years ago, we decided we wanted nothing too common but nothing obscure either. Basically, a name that has a 50/50 chance at appearing on a coffee mug in a gift shop.

We ended up with Claire, which we loved then and we love now, and we thought at the time that it was not a name that was very common, only to realize later that two of the biggest hit shows on television had characters named Claire.

Then we started to see it everywhere. No regrets, though. She is, through and through, our Claire.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:27 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kids won't make fun of your child because of its name.

Oooooh, yes they will.

Younger Monster's given name is Ernest Edward III. (His paternal grandfather is EE Jr.) Naturally, he goes mostly by Ernie, and as one might imagine, he was asked constantly where Bert was. That came to a stop quickly, though, when he glared at one kid who kept at it and asked "Are you making fun of my grandfather's name?"

Had he been a she, her name would have been Hildah Elizabeth, after my great-grandmother, the toughest woman I ever knew. I'm sure kids would have had something to say about that, too.

My own given name is Margaret Susanne. Family legend has it that my name was to be Peggy Sue, but the nuns in the Catholic hospital in which I was born would not allow my father to put that on my birth certificate. That's what they called me, though. 1) I hate that song. 2) I hate that movie. 3) Calling me by that name now will get you socked in the yap. Margaret, OTOH, I don't mind, but I'm trying to save it until I've properly grown into it. I don't quite have the gravitas to pull it off yet.
posted by MissySedai at 5:27 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, someone out there voluntarily chose Engelbert Humperdinck so what the fuck do parents know, anyway?
posted by lydhre at 5:34 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


My partner is extremely insistent that all kids we have will be named after Tesla. I have bargained this down to a) kids also get one boring, unremarkable, easy to spell name so they can pick what they want to go as, and b) if we have multiple kids, no one has to share first or middle names. I think that's a pretty good balance of cool name and workability.

I mean, they're still gonna have people make fun of their last names because they're getting mine and it's disturbingly similar-looking to a slang word for prostitute AND makes no sense to pronounce in English, but at least they can choose how they want their given name to work. That's.... progress? I guess?

It's interesting what people pick when they're able to choose a brand new name as an adult (e.g. in the case of trans people). Here are some names of trans men that I've run across on YouTube/Tumblr: Skylar, Konnor, Benton, Ashton, Blake, Asher, Dayne, Rae, Chase, Emery, Val, Ryan, Alex.

At least in my own circle of friends and acquaintances, I have met a lot of Aidans, Alexes, and Lees. Is this a thing in other people's experience or have I just run into some sort of concentrated trans guy Aidan pocket?
posted by sciatrix at 5:38 PM on January 27, 2015


Everyone should just do what my father's side of the family has apparently done for generations, which is give everybody a nickname that bears no relation whatsoever to their actual birth name.

Then later, when recounting tales of family history, you use both names interchangeably and at random, so your listeners can't tell if you're talking about a cast of thousands or just something that happened to two people, and they'll never keep what happened to who straight over the course of a ten minute story, much less remember it a year later.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:43 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Here's a memorable namer's remorse story, handled very sensitively by excellent Name Lady.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:44 PM on January 27, 2015


The Tyler, Jayden,kayden,ayden Y dominance seems to be over and a historical burp. Now it's all old fashioned names. So many babies named Molly and Emma and Lily. I know at least one Yves.
posted by The Whelk at 5:50 PM on January 27, 2015


Dot is the cutest nickname.
Unless you're a MeFite. One mention that your kid is Dot, and you get a threadful of moments of silence. . . . . . . . . .

The parents of my daughter's classmate must've gone through the same naming ordeal as the author, finally throwing up their hands and saying 'ta hell with it, whatever we call him, he'll remind us of someone from our past.' I can think of no other reason to name a child Trigger. No other rationale at all.
posted by prinado at 5:52 PM on January 27, 2015


I mean, someone out there voluntarily chose Engelbert Humperdinck so what the fuck do parents know, anyway?

The person who voluntarily chose "Engelbert Humperdinck" was Engelbert Humperdinck. His parents named him Arnold.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:55 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


We know another family with boys the same age as our boys. They named their first son Griffin and I was like, "Oh, that's cool, a little unusual but totally a real name," and then the other mom and I were pregnant again at the same time and they seemed cool and we were always seeing them at classes and stuff and my husband and I were like, maybe they are our kind of parents and we can all hang and be friends and --

They named their second son Dragon.

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:56 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I mean, someone out there voluntarily chose Engelbert Humperdinck so what the fuck do parents know, anyway?

The person who voluntarily chose "Engelbert Humperdinck" was Engelbert Humperdinck. His parents named him Arnold.


excuse you, I think we can all agree that the real Engelbert Humperdinck was the 19th century German composer of fairy-tale operas and he was definitely born with that one
posted by sciatrix at 6:00 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


excuse you, I think we can all agree that the real Engelbert Humperdinck was the 19th century German composer of fairy-tale operas and he was definitely born with that one

Let's call it a draw.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:04 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Seriously, the only reason I know that is because I had no earthly idea who Engelbert Humperdinck was and had to google him, because I was pretty sure that was a character from the Princess Bride rather than an actual human being.)
posted by sciatrix at 6:09 PM on January 27, 2015


I don't get this. Why are people working so hard at this? What's wrong with a name that sounds like a name instead of a sweaty bundle of artistic intention?

My name is Andy. It's been fine. There are lots of other names like this. Where's the nightmare?
posted by argybarg at 6:12 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


This reaches such a height of ridiculousness in Ireland, it's possible that half the women you know are named Mary in some parts of the country and the rest are named Mairead.

My parents gave me and my three siblings a variety of traditional but obscure names, all of which are hard to spell and pronounce to the average American schoolteacher. I was the youngest, they were trying to go easy on me, so they thought, oh, "Maura," that's a name people know! (I mean, it is, just not in the Midwest...) Obviously it is never pronounced or spelled correctly, although maybe its recent brush with pop-culture fame might change that? (I haven't seen the show nor do I know if she pronounces it the way I do, so maybe it will make it worse)

Flash forward to fifteen years ago, when I was a middle-schooler attending the local college's Fun Diversity Fair for Kids put on by all the international students. As one of the activities, you get a little circle of paper with your name in the middle, walk around to all the countries' booths, and the student there writes your name in their alphabet, or their country's form of your name. So I'm going around saying my name, "it means Mary," and they say "OH ok" and write "Mary" in Cyrillic etc. on my circle. In the European aisle I get to the Ireland booth, and the guy there--tall, skinny, bright red hair--looks down at my little badge and before I even say anything a grin splits his face from ear to ear, jumps off his stool, and he literally starts bouncing for joy. He gives me a hug, and talks for about the next five minutes straight about how much he misses home and how many dozens of Mauras he knows there and how he has never met a single person with my name "spelled the right way" in the US. For the next few years while he was at that college, whenever he saw me around the campus he would start grinning. I felt surprisingly useful considering I hadn't done a thing but have a name.

I guess kids with more common names probably don't get that experience very often?
posted by C. K. Dexter Haven at 6:19 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Dot is the cutest nickname.

And you can always tell her (and everyone else) that her full name is "Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca III"
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:21 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Something like "far from battle," or "distant conflict," maybe.

Telemachus? As in son of Odysseus?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:27 PM on January 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


My friend was this close to naming their kid after my cat. Not on purpose though. There are some names that are just animal names no matter what you do - Roger, Rex, Milo, Teddy, Marley, Max, Baxter, Otis...
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:32 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


metafilter: Poop or Hitler
posted by poffin boffin at 6:51 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, baby names. Just a rough process until you actually see their little faces and then they just "look like a _____" and it all works out.

We chose a nice, traditional and easy to spell name for our son that works well in pretty much all the European languages.

My mom was aghast and emailed me a comprehensive list of all the awful nicknames kids might call him at school for the rest of his life. Literally hours after we chose it.

Thanks, Mom.
posted by The Hyacinth Girl at 6:54 PM on January 27, 2015


until you actually see their little faces and then they just "look like a _____" and it all works out

No, because then every human being on earth would be named Prune. Or possibly Screaming Prune.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:59 PM on January 27, 2015 [36 favorites]


My parents told me that when they figured out my name they picked one that was very uncommon but wasn't weird. They didn't know of anyone or any kids with that name. Ended up there were three other girls of the same name in my elementary class. Mom said all of the other parents picked that name for similar reasons.

So I dunno I think there are just some names whose particles zip around in the air until they decide "NOW IS OUR TIME AGAIN" and burrow into peoples brains.

Oh and my best friend for my early elementary years, who was 6 months older not only had the same first name but same middle name as me.

I now work with a women, the exact same age as me, with the same first and middle name.
posted by Jalliah at 6:59 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, because then every human being on earth would be named Prune. Or possibly Screaming Prune.

I swear to god you are going to eat somebody's baby someday and people are going to be surprised and I am going to be like no, we all should have seen this coming, the evidence is right here in blue and white.

Remember that time you called shakes' baby a pastrami? Yeah.
posted by phunniemee at 7:05 PM on January 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Metafilter: the evidence is right here in blue and white
posted by localroger at 7:05 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Prune was huge for French baby girls like five years ago.
posted by purpleclover at 7:09 PM on January 27, 2015


Ah, nicknames.

Many years ago when our son was four we got him a baby sister. When she was was about 2 weeks old I found him putting his face down next to her and introducing himself, saying, "Hi baby, I'm your brother. Can you say 'Bubba'?" Which was most definitely not his name. Turns out he had gone to his dad, concerned that the baby would have a special name -Mommy and Daddy- for us but that she would just call him Name, like everybody else. Dad very obligingly gave him Bubba to use, and Bubba he was then, for years. Until she got close to school age and he worried that his nickname would leak outside the family and be laughed at by his friends at school. So then for a while we called him Bubba Name until she got used to Name and Bubba gradually slipped away.

I sometimes still use it when I am talking with her. Ask your bubba, tell you bubba, and it reminds me of the days when we all were young.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:24 PM on January 27, 2015 [27 favorites]


My third, we could not come up with a name. Seriously. So we gave him initials and told him he could make up names to go with the initials if he wanted. He has a standard line for his teachers on the first day of school. Let's say his birth certificate said "JP". The teacher would always say to him in a nice welcoming voice, "What does JP stand for" And JP would always say deadpan, "Steve". I call him by his middle name which is an old family surname from his mother's side. When I am mad at him I call him "Steve".
posted by 724A at 7:30 PM on January 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


"No, because then every human being on earth would be named Prune. Or possibly Screaming Prune."

Our first would have been Gollum.

(Second would have been "Creepy Frog Legs")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:30 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


My siblings have usually named our nephews and nieces after our parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and if I had children I would do the same. There are other infinite avenues for expressing personal creativity in our lives, but our children should have to live on with the burden of our ancestor's names.
posted by ovvl at 7:35 PM on January 27, 2015


Remember that time you called shakes' baby a pastrami?

HE TOTALLY LOOKED LIKE A PASTRAMI AND I AM STILL MAD THAT I DIDN'T GET A PHOTO OF HIM BETWEEN TWO SLICES OF RYE BREAD no one suffers like i suffer
posted by poffin boffin at 7:37 PM on January 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


I called mine Cletus the Fetus before he was born. I was not tempted to keep using it.
posted by bq at 7:39 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dot is the cutest nickname.

I went to high school with a girl with the last name Hyman

I had a teacher in high school named Dottie Hyman. It ... was a difficult year.
posted by worldswalker at 7:43 PM on January 27, 2015


True story: at my mother-in-law's suggestion, our baby's Chinese name was selected by monks for maximum luckiness vis a vis his astrological, uh, chart. His English name was chosen to sound somewhat like his Chinese name. This meant that we couldn't even think of what to name him until he had actually been born. My wife and I loved this idea - it's like improvising a name based on a suggestion from the audience.

So, his Chinese name sounds like Jun Waw (not sure how to transliterate that), and his English name is Jay Werner (first and middle).

...

The linked article made me roll my eyes a lot.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:53 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ugh, if ever I'm in a position to name a creature, it's going to be Anne or Jane or Jack or Ben. I've got a name that was unusual for where I grew up, and it was mangled so often I grew to hate saying it out loud myself (which obviously made it even harder for others to understand me). Once the thing's understood, I get compliments ("pretty name" etc), but early on, I think I felt it set up an expectation to be exotic (because it's ethnic or whatever). And I'm just not exotic, I like cheeseburgers, you know? I'd rather have had just one big, open vowel and filled it with myself.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:59 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, because then every human being on earth would be named Prune. Or possibly Screaming Prune.

I told my parents that my younger sister should have been called Animal (as in the Muppet) because that is exactly how she looked and behaved.

My step-niece is Nyala, which is just a beautiful name no matter how you slice it. Her brother is Benjamin, and I was faintly disappointed that my stepdad's brother and wife didn't continue with a name that tripped so beautifully off the tongue, but it's a good name nonetheless.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:04 PM on January 27, 2015


Oldest daughter goes by Tina. Not short for Christina, but Ernestina, for her paternal grandmother back in the Old Country. I thought for sure kids would tease her with Ernie, but never happened. I've never met another Ernestina.

Extended family insisted on a middle name for second son. Mr. B and I couldn't agree, and in desperation I said we might as well name him after (the famous) Kelsey's Bar and Grill. So we did. (and no, it's not Bar, and it's not Grill.)

And then there was the poor kid I went to school with...Richard Lester.
some parents should be shot


Girls: Day they are born.
Boys: Direction they are born in.

I would like you to introduce you to my children, Thankfuckitsoverday and Downwards.

Too damn funny!


I had a roommate try to re-name my cat, who was named Fiskars...
Best. Cat. Name. EVER!!!
posted by BlueHorse at 8:06 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's interesting what people pick when they're able to choose a brand new name as an adult (e.g. in the case of trans people).

Hah, my coworker had to process someone's gender and name change today and then she ran over to us saying how badly she wanted to ask them how one picks a name as an adult. (I was all "same as any other name you pick? what do you like?") Except uh, that would probably be considered rude and mean/way too personal to ask a complete stranger.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:07 PM on January 27, 2015


With my family name of Doar, pronounced "door", we have lots of potential. My name is Doar, Matt Doar. We considered Griffin for one child, but that was too Harry Potter in the end. Cuspidor, humidor, the list goes on.
posted by mdoar at 8:08 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


My family--on both sides, oddly--has a Thing about names.

Everyone has four: First Middle Middle Surname.

Boys, on my dad's side, always--always, yea unto the seventh generation--have Desmond in there somewhere. (seriously, this has been going on for like two hundred years). Girls, and this comes more but not only from my mum's side, have Some Maternal Ancestress in there somewhere. So I'm Daniel Desmond--which was my granddad's first name, my dad's second middle name, my great-granddad's first middle name etc etc--and my younger sister is [hername] Margaret, etc.

The thing I like about this, and the only thing that makes me want to continue either of these as a tradition if I ever meet Mr Right and adopt kidlings, is that it really makes naming a lot simpler in some ways. Each parent gets an un-vetoable middle name to choose, so everyone gets to put in The Important Name. Which, I hope, makes compromising on the first name a much simpler matter.

Of course I'm going to upset that whole four-initial applecart by insisting on hyphenation if such a day ever comes, but still.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:14 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


seriously, this has been going on for like two hundred years

As the childless only child of an only child, I am probably not the right person to be remarking on this, but SRSLY I would have shut that shit down.
posted by localroger at 8:16 PM on January 27, 2015


"Adolf" is pretty much done as a name, ja?
posted by Renoroc at 8:22 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well localroger my likelihood of either breeding in a genetic sense or adopting is dwindling by the day, so it probably dies with me, tbh.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:27 PM on January 27, 2015


No, because then every human being on earth would be named Prune. Or possibly Screaming Prune.

"Why do you ask, Screaming Prune?"
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:59 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I find one syllable words so tempting. Drum. Blue. Crow. Creek.
posted by salvia at 9:18 PM on January 27, 2015


As I've mentioned in similar threads, I meet a LOT of kids. One of my favorite storytime name stories: Mom wanted to name her kid Mackenzie and call him Mac. But then her sister had a baby like a month before her, and she named HER kid Mackenzie! So Mom named her kid Maccambry instead, and she calls him Mac. So somewhere out there is a grandma with two grand babies named Mac.
Also, my neighborhood has reached peak Sophie.
posted by Biblio at 10:15 PM on January 27, 2015


Some aspect of my maternal family's Hinduism and/or Indian diaspora culture results in my mother having a secret name that only she and her parents are supposed to know. To be honest, I'm fairly uninformed about the whole tradition, but gather that the idea is that keeping a part of your name to yourself prevents the world from having undue power over you. And I just love that. Rather than a secret name, my parents gave me a an eyebrow-raiser of a double-barrelled first name (also multi-ethnic), which is kind of the same thing.

Because while I'm a little bit sorry about any inconvenience it may present to others, I'm mostly glad my name is not some open door for people to wander in and out of just as they please. I wouldn't want to be spelled, pronounced, known, or understood just by virtue of existing. And whenever my name trips off the tongue of some teacher, receptionist, officer or other stranger, I feel oddly trespassed upon. I'd prefer it to be so much trouble that they wouldn't even bother to sound it out, remember it, know it at all. And then perhaps they would have no undue power over me.

And so if I have any children, I'd like them also to be called something long and baffling. Apart from having magical distancing properties, it builds character, encourages the development of crucial print skills, and conveniently legitimises our line's natural genetic resentment at having to fill out forms.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:28 PM on January 27, 2015 [16 favorites]


Ralphie if it's a boy; Oona if it's a girl.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:59 PM on January 27, 2015


I was born with a pretty odd name that I had to get used to. I did not really want to stand out.
I grew into it and made it mine.
It is kinda nice to be about the only thing that comes up is you when you search your name..except the fu*kwits that named their Cocker Spaniel breeding farm the same name...

And if I somehow end up with a stray baby it will be named Pantagruel
posted by boilermonster at 11:14 PM on January 27, 2015


Like, do your due diligence by not naming your kid Poop or Hitler,

GOD DAMN IT

*tears up list into tiny pieces*

back to the drawing board
posted by KathrynT at 1:17 AM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


What bemuses me the most about the linked article is the idea that, outside of "Poop or Hitler" type situations, you can accurately predict and prevent name-related mockery, e.g. "you can't name him Artie, then they'll call him Farty Artie". It's just such an inappropriate dose of anxiety and control. If children want to mock your kid, then they will find a way to mock your kid. (Such as, "Artie's parents are loons.") And if your kid does wind up getting mocked for one dumb reason or another, then your kid will almost certainly survive nonetheless. Children who are not merely mocked, but who are mercilessly taunted, are mocked for reasons other than the fact that their name maybe kinda-sorta rhymes with a naughty word.

I'm also bemused by the article's reference to the Unabomber. I have no feelings either way regarding the name "Ted", but the reason why it's off the table for the author is because of the Unabomber? That line of reasoning is utterly daffy. It just sounds like the author trying to find ways to be needlessly stressed out by the process.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:11 AM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Adolf" is pretty much done as a name, ja?

Not in South America, where you can meet surprisingly many Adolfos.
posted by sour cream at 4:37 AM on January 28, 2015


people asked me to change my dog's name because my calling her Peanut made them uncomfortable.

Because Peanut is easy to screw up into Penis? Makes the song the kids sing as they age "Found a peanut" or "Swallow a peanut" insufferably funny.

My brood were given multi-syllabic names and multiple "middle" names that allowed them to choose what name to use. All have shortened their day to day names down to three letters, though I suspect they want to save the effort of using all the others. We used ridiculous invitro names that we wouldn't be tempted to keep, like zarzabot, limerick and barnswallow.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:38 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, I'm confused... Why is peanut not OK?

Peanut is a great name for small, cute creatures. I call an actual human baby Peanut and the parents think it's adorable.
posted by mochapickle at 6:51 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


My mother wanted to name me Eva but was convinced it would have led to much teasing. My gran wanted to name me Tammy or Gertrude because she is crazy. The compromise was a name that had only one syllable different from my mom's name, has a really low status in my native country, and which nobody gets right in my new country. Add to that a surname that I always have to spell, and I swear my hypothetical off-spring is going to be called John Smith or Elizabeth Jones.
posted by kariebookish at 6:54 AM on January 28, 2015


I've mentioned before how doomed you are. We are more like the others in our socio-cultural cohort than we like to think and it is almost inevitable that the "uncommon but not weird" names that we like are also percolating in the minds of our peers.

In fact, the all-too-common lament about giving a child a unique name only to have it become the new Elsa is hardly surprising either. After all, writers name characters just as they would name children and they are neither immune to the same pressures and prejudices as new parents.

We named our first child Freya five years ago and it was unknown. I don't think she's especially likely to be reduced to Freya M. in all her classes (or worse, as happened in one of my high school classes where we had a Steve M. and a Steve Mc.), but I've already met other children her age with the same name, despite the fact that most people of my parents' generation had never heard of it when we chose it.

Our second daughter is Eve, which I really like, but I'm still a little disappointed that my wife never came around on "Aoife"
posted by 256 at 7:02 AM on January 28, 2015


Incidentally, my name was common and boring (and I changed it in my mid-20's to something I liked better.) And I never escaped one second of teasing for having a name that was common and boring, rhymes with nothing, and is similar to no other words in particular.

I've always thought that people who think they can spare their kids by nixing anything but the most obviously unfortunate name combinations (like the Ima Hooker example noted above) are fooling themselves.

And that people who think they can predict whether their kid will prefer a common name or an uncommon name are also fooling themselves, either way.
posted by kyrademon at 7:05 AM on January 28, 2015


I'm also bemused by the article's reference to the Unabomber. I have no feelings either way regarding the name "Ted", but the reason why it's off the table for the author is because of the Unabomber? That line of reasoning is utterly daffy.

Given the context , it's more likely they were considering the name Kaczynski.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:10 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Every time we've been pregnant we've considered a long list of really unique names and ended up with the most boring, common names around. Apparently that's what we like best.

We have a very common last name too. I can never decide whether it's a good or bad thing that none of our kids will be google-able.
posted by gerstle at 7:26 AM on January 28, 2015


Hm. Really unique. Teeny tiny twins over here, I'm not sleeping much.
posted by gerstle at 7:27 AM on January 28, 2015


A common name would seem to offer the most protection to a kid growing up, as they make stupid teenager mistakes and embarrassing facebook posts. "That was another Jane Brown, boss. My squeaky clean profile is this one."

A unique name offers no cover at all. There are only two people with my name in the world as far as I can tell, and he's a cousin, so blaming him for shit will get back to me anyway.
posted by bonehead at 7:58 AM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Given the context , it's more likely they were considering the name Kaczynski.

or Aviators Dude
posted by Greg Nog at 8:18 AM on January 28, 2015


> "A common name would seem to offer the most protection to a kid growing up ..."

... And then they will complain that every time they google their name, a million people come up and there's no way to pick them out of the herd and if they ever have a notable accomplishment no one will ever be able to find it.

Really, you can't win. There's no point in even trying.
posted by kyrademon at 8:25 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


No seriously, plausible deniability is a gift.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:08 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


That was absolutely beautiful, and one of the truest things I've ever read on the subject. "You cannot win at naming your baby." Really, the people I've known in my life who weren't at least a little bit disappointed or chagrined in some small way at their own name have been in the minority. I had a name that was pretty tease-proof in school, but in exchange I had a name that was common as muck and dull as dishwater, and the kids just found other things to tease me about. Meanwhile, kids with such funny names I would love to repeat them here but won't in case someone they know is lurking were popular and had a great time.

I think kids should get a free name change when they reach the age of legal adulthood. (Heck, at least a legal change of middle name. If you decide to go by another name as an adult, it's less of a legal hassle if it's your legal middle name.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:13 AM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Given the context , it's more likely they were considering the name Kaczynski.

As a first name? Wha?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:14 AM on January 28, 2015


Also, I love the name, "Gus." Then again, I grew up watching Road to Avonlea, and what young girl could help having a crush on Michael Mahonen as Gus Pike?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:15 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


No seriously, plausible deniability is a gift.

I share a first and last name with a jazz vocalist, a painter, an animator, a Grand Theft Auto character(!), a B-movie starlet from the '60s, a business guru, a librarian, a couple of doctors, a real estate agent, and a professor at a military school.

I love that you can't find me anywhere on the internet. It's glorious, really.
posted by mochapickle at 9:24 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Give your kid a name that
1) isn't from your own cohort (those are friends names, not babies!)
2) isn't from your parents cohort (those are mom and dad names, not babies!)
3) isn't from your grandparents (old people, ugh!)

and you end up with your great-grandparents cohort. on mefi previously

And this is how I know three Olivias under the age of 5.


Yeah, tell that to MY daughters, Olivia AND Emily, both named after great-grandparents; respectively Olivia #2 and Emily #3 in their classes.
posted by kinetic at 10:21 AM on January 28, 2015


Changed mine after college (first and last) - picked the forename from a baby book and the last name from a phone book, more or less at random. The new one's fairly unique so I'm still keeping half an eye on the Google problem. If it gets boring in a decade or so, will do another change! UK law allows as many changes as you like.

Not sure how much stress I would put into naming my (both hypothetical and unlikely) children; somewhere between average and too much.
posted by The Zeroth Law at 10:25 AM on January 28, 2015


I still occasionally get emails intended for the composer with my name who died a hundred years ago.
posted by The Whelk at 10:40 AM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


My 14 year old son isn't named Nate because that made my husband think of hot dogs. Because of Nathan's. That's the only objection I remember, but the discussion we had reminded me of the one in The Sure Thing. "Elliot is a fat kid with glasses who eats paste."
posted by Biblio at 10:54 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


One trusts that one responds in character.
posted by bonehead at 10:58 AM on January 28, 2015


My 17 y.o. stepdaughter goes by her middle name, Isis. The baggage that comes with that name has gotten a little heavier in the past year.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 12:25 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gah! Wife and I are going thru this right now. We don't even know the sex of the kid so we have to come up with two names. Or 4, actually. Backup names.

@Biblio, Elliot was on the short list of names. WAS.

I must stop reading this thread in case other names on our list show up.
posted by Cog at 1:20 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


On our honeymoon, my husband and I were discussing what we would name our kids whenever we decided to have one. We liked "Robert Douglas" and then realized we'd be naming said kid after Bob & Doug McKenzie, which just upped the awesome.

But, when we did end up having a son, Mr. Lucinda was like WE HAVE TO NAME HIM AFTER MY GRANDFATHER BECAUSE HE WAS AWESOME and I was like "I got nothin' for boys' names, whatevs (forgetting the conversation we'd had four years previous)" and that is how our son got named John.
posted by Lucinda at 2:02 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am the only person with my name. No, really. I wish I could say some of those Google results aren't me but they are. Sigh.
posted by apricot at 5:18 PM on January 28, 2015


There are three people out there with my full name, and as far as I can tell I am the most Internet famous. (This is an extremely low bar.) I would like very much to be lost in a sea of sciatrici, but alas...
posted by sciatrix at 5:39 PM on January 28, 2015


As Roger Williams I founded the state of Rhode Island, play a wicked piano and scored many Hollywood movies, discovered vitamin B-12, and had a pretty good professional baseball career. I personally have a pretty bright spark of net dot fame as googling my nick from this site will show, but it is literally almost 100 pages into a search for my real name that you find the first hint that I exist as a separate individual.

Also I can recite Rhode Island Roger Williams' life history because every fucking history teacher I ever had thought it was hilarious to give me that essay assignment. I am actually kind of proud to be named after the guy, since he's pretty much single-handedly responsible for the idea of having actual religious liberty in the US instead of setting up our own totalitarian religious utopia. On the other hand that Roger Williams came to that conclusion because he literally thought only 144,000 people could be admitted into heaven and, seeing as how that left little room for most of us, he figured it must be part of his assignment here to learn to live peaceably among the damned.
posted by localroger at 5:58 PM on January 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Don't forget that time you were a real-life Welsh soldier of fortune depicted by Shakespeare as a character in Henry V.
posted by XMLicious at 6:16 PM on January 28, 2015


Nice find, XMLicious! I am fucking legion. Especially the fucking part what with the whole skilled with the spear thing.
posted by localroger at 6:45 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's a dilemma. My wife and I have a baby girl due any day now. One of my top pick names is extremely unusual, and I stole it from someone I met once at a party in college, a friend of a friend. I don't know this person at all, but I've always remembered her name.

Here's the thing: In this Facebook age, she's going to find out through mutual friend. The name is so unusual that it is not plausibly a coincidence that two people in the same extended social circle would have it. I've thought about sending her a message ("o hai I'm stealing your name for my kid kthxbai?"), to try to stay ahead of this, but that seems even more awkward.

What to do. Maybe this is why people go with Sophie instead.

And, bonus, the census bureau makes available its entire data set of name frequencies for every year and every state going back to 1890. This is where baby name voyager gets its data from. Really fun dataset to play with.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:03 PM on January 28, 2015


Our son's name came out of nowhere and is perfect and suits him and just immediately *fit.* Our daughter's name is from my husband's favorite book. These were fairly easy.

But the second pregnancy trying to come up with a second boy's name... My husband is Portuguese, as is our son's name. Trying to come up with a SECOND Portuguese name that also is pronounceable in English and that we both liked... There was a clear front runner that was totally ruined by association with a close friend who is a very nice guy, but a total and complete weirdo. There was no way we could ever not think of him with that name. The few runners up were decidedly "meh."

When we found out we were having a girl, my husband and I independently had exactly the same first reaction "OH THANK GD WE HAVE A NAME."
posted by sonika at 8:23 PM on January 28, 2015


His sister had been unable to pronounce his name correctly when she was a toddler, so she just called him "Bro", because he was her brother. It kind of caught on with the whole family, and everyone just called him Bro as a result.

Our daughter's name is Heidi, which our 3yr old son can't quite say. He's getting better at it, but mostly he calls her "Baby Honey" which is so sweet my teeth nearly fall out of my head.
posted by sonika at 8:52 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Have you met my son, Walter Elias Disney Vincent Price Monster, and my daughter, Marlene Dietrich RuPaul Queen Elizabeth Monster?"

Yeah, I guess the whole childless thing is probably for the best.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:28 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


The name is so unusual that it is not plausibly a coincidence that two people in the same extended social circle would have it. I've thought about sending her a message ("o hai I'm stealing your name for my kid kthxbai?"), to try to stay ahead of this, but that seems even more awkward.

My sister gave her daughter the same (quite unusual) name as a girl who was a year of her in high school. She'd always liked the name.

I was friends with the girl's younger sister, and mentioned to her that my niece shared her sister's name. From what I understood, it was taken as a very high compliment.
posted by Lucinda at 7:06 AM on January 29, 2015


Here's the thing: In this Facebook age, she's going to find out through mutual friend. The name is so unusual that it is not plausibly a coincidence that two people in the same extended social circle would have it. I've thought about sending her a message ("o hai I'm stealing your name for my kid kthxbai?"), to try to stay ahead of this, but that seems even more awkward.

Name your child and if anyone says anything, "We always thought it was an awesome name."

Heaven forbid more than one person has the same name!
posted by Atreides at 7:22 AM on January 29, 2015


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