What's in a Name?
October 28, 2007 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Our notions of names and gender may be showing some 'fluidity.' A long-time trend of male names losing their popularity or even their acceptibility once the same names become popular for girls may be shifting to a new 'gender fluidity.' While it's still true that fewer and fewer boys are named Leslie, Shirley, Kim, Ashley, Shannon, Whitney, or Carol, other names have emerged as unisex monikers: Jordan, Angel, or Peyton. Logan has re-emerged as a more clearly male name. See this article in today's N.Y. Times Magazine. The essay was penned by Sam Kean: is that Samuel or Samantha? Does it matter?
posted by Rain Man (138 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great trend. Between this and the ubiquity of e-mail correspondence that precedes face-to-face meetings, the idea that there's an easily identifiable "male" or "female" style of thinking or writing may go the way of phrenology. (And finally someone doesn't mince words about the charge that parents are "ruining" boys' names by giving them to daughters: "It’s not a disgrace to be a girl anymore." Indeed.)
posted by transona5 at 8:56 AM on October 28, 2007


My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."
posted by exlotuseater at 8:58 AM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


As a boy who grew up with the name Courtney I have more than my share of scars from elementary school teasing, but I'll wait to whine about it in a forum that won't be deleted for being a single link NYTimes post.
posted by bunnytricks at 9:01 AM on October 28, 2007


Both links are the same on purpose?
posted by JanetLand at 9:09 AM on October 28, 2007


[freeper]
What do you expect when you allow the gay agenda to feminize our male names? Hollywood knows that it can fill more seats at the theater if it keeps our society generally confused about sexuality. There used to be a time when raunchy comedies were fine... now we have to put up with emasculated "men" like Ben Stiller mincing around in some "romantic comedy" that affirms female superiority while painting all men as idiots! Don't forget the schools either! We've allowed the socialized school system to create an environment where children can't play tag during recess, or be on "teams" where one side wins and the other looses because it is too demeaning to the losers. Boys can't be boys any longer - they are forced to be genderless automatons plodding from one non-competitive after school activity to another. Also, whats the deal with Rick Bayless? Why does a cooking show have to be so sexualized... *head asplded*
[/freeper]
posted by wfrgms at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2007


It's such a great article that it needed to be linked twice.
posted by oddman at 9:16 AM on October 28, 2007


More like the Marvel Comics agenda.. I mean Wolverine is cool, but I don't think I'd name a kid after him.
posted by Chuckles at 9:17 AM on October 28, 2007


"It’s not a disgrace to be a girl anymore."

Unless you're a guy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:20 AM on October 28, 2007


Oops, bunnytricks and JanetLand, I meant to include these links: corporate problems and the BOY mentioned above by exlotus eater.
posted by Rain Man at 9:24 AM on October 28, 2007


if its not a disgrace to be a girl, then why do they feel they have to steal our names?
posted by mr_book at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2007


I'm still trying to figure out whether Crayola is a girls name or boys name.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:34 AM on October 28, 2007


Something that's always puzzled me is the (mainly american) tradition of giving children a second surname instead of a normal given name. It seems to have spread across the atlantic somewhat in the past decade or so too.

When I were a nipper, Logan, Jordan, Whitney and Shannon were most definitely surnames, thank you very much. Normal folk had names like John or Susan or possibly Trevor.

I blame Harrison Ford's parents for starting all that nonsense...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:45 AM on October 28, 2007


I like my name, but I also enjoy having a gender-neutral nickname (Chris) based on it. In fact, this is the only nickname I like and allow people to call me. I don't like it because it's gender neutral, but because it's simple, easy to remember, sounds good, and is not overly young or ditzy, so it's easy to be taken seriously with it. I usually use my full name, but the nickname is handy for those that I know who'd like to use it.

That Baby Name Guesser link pegs me as male though. Heh.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:52 AM on October 28, 2007


le morte de bea arthur: "I blame Harrison Ford's parents for starting all that nonsense..."

My grandfather had his mother's maiden name as a first name and he was born in 1905. I think that it's a southern thing.
posted by octothorpe at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2007


Saints. Stick to the saints' names or you kid sounds like trailer trash or a future stripper (like there's a difference).
posted by Mick at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2007


Saints. Stick to the saints' names or you kid sounds like trailer trash or a future stripper (like there's a difference).

Yeah, but then you get weird stuff like "St. John".
(Btw, does anyone know why it's pronounced Sin-Jin? Confused me mightily when I was a child.)
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:13 AM on October 28, 2007


le morte de bea arthur writes "Something that's always puzzled me is the (mainly american) tradition of giving children a second surname instead of a normal given name. It seems to have spread across the atlantic somewhat in the past decade or so too."

It needs to go further. I've yet to meet a Smith Jones or a Hammerstein .
posted by Bugbread at 11:18 AM on October 28, 2007


Saints. Stick to the saints' names
this is especially true in england where names like tracy, sharon, kevin, trevor, brian will immediately identify you as working class.
posted by bhnyc at 11:20 AM on October 28, 2007


Something that's always puzzled me is the (mainly american) tradition of giving children a second surname instead of a normal given name. It seems to have spread across the atlantic somewhat in the past decade or so too.
What's interesting about this is that I think of it as a class-specific thing in the U.S. It was originally a way to display your illustrious maternal blood line, which would not otherwise be clear from your last name. If you are a female Whitney and your name is obliterated by marriage, naming one of your children Whitney is a way to signal to the world that you're from a prominent family.

Because naming trends tend to trickle down classwise in the U.S., you now have non-upper-class children being given first names that were originally surnames, usually ones to which they have no family connection. The first Taylors or McKenzies were the children of women whose maiden name was Taylor or McKenzie. Nowadays, they're just the children of people who think Taylor or McKenzie sound cool.

The interesting ones are the Irish last names (Kelly, Tracy, Shannon) that have become first names in the U.S. I don't know if there was a similar dynamic at work among elite Irish-Americans or whether there's something else going on with that. I think that trend pre-dates McKenzie and Taylor, though.
posted by craichead at 11:29 AM on October 28, 2007


Erm, by a "female Whitney," I mean a woman from the Whitney family, of Eli Whitney and the Whitney museum fame. I once briefly worked in an office where a guy named Whitney worked, and he was a direct descendant of Eli Whitney.
posted by craichead at 11:31 AM on October 28, 2007


"I'm getting really sick of guys named Todd. It's a goofy fucking name. "Hi, what's your name?" "Todd. I'm Todd. And this is Blake, and Blaire and Blaine and Brent."

"Where all these goofy fucking boys names comin' from? Taylor, Tyler, Jordan, Flynn. These are not real names. You wanna hear a real name? Eddie. Eddie is a real name! "What happened to Eddie, he was here a minute ago?" Jackie and Johnny and Tommy and Bill. Danny, Larry, Johnny, and Phil."

"What happened? Todd. And Cody, and Dillon, and Cameron, and Tucker. "Hi Tucker, I'm Todd." "Hi Todd, I'm Tucker." Fuck Tucker, Tucker sucks. And fuck Tucker's friend Kyle. Thats another soft name for a boy. Kyle. Soft names make soft people. I'll bet you ten times out of ten, Nicky, Vinnie, and Tony would beat the shit out of Todd, Kyle, and Tucker."

- George Carlin, Complaints and Grievances
posted by porn in the woods at 11:34 AM on October 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


> It’s not a disgrace to be a girl anymore.

Never was. As long as you're, you know, a girl. I named all twelve of my sons Thud.
posted by jfuller at 11:35 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


bhnyc -- to my American ear those names (tracy, kevin, brian) are more specifically Irish as possibly distinct from working class. Or is that your point? Also what craichead said about Irish surnames becoming first names.
posted by Rain Man at 11:36 AM on October 28, 2007


Being the father of a five-year-old, all I can say is that parents in my cohort (usually the crowd that listens to 'Reba' and the Dixie Chicks) are giving kids some pretty godawful names these days.

I would start throwing a few out there, but, assuming there are a few MeFites who listen to Reba and the Dixie Chicks, I won't, in order to avoid hurting feelings.

[But what were you thinking, calling your kid 'Archer' or 'Thompson'? Or...]
posted by KokuRyu at 11:39 AM on October 28, 2007


Nowadays, they're just the children of people who think Taylor or McKenzie sound cool.

The entire "let's name our kid 'McKenzie' thing" MUST STOP.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:41 AM on October 28, 2007


What's the gender of those two cousins, Orangejello and Lemonjello?
posted by Tube at 11:43 AM on October 28, 2007


god damn medicine woman jane seymour bitch.

if i meet another "michaela" or "mykayla" or "mikala" or "mckeighla" i'm going to....

...well, i don't know what i'm going to do. but it'll be bloody awful, you can be sure of that.
posted by CitizenD at 11:51 AM on October 28, 2007


Put me down as sick of names like Bailey, Hailey, Hayden, Jayden, Brayden, Colby, Jackson, Harris, etc... these are all names my friends have given to their children.

If I ever have kids, boys will have single syllable names like "Craig" and girls will have two or more syllables like "Lisa". Don't ask me why, it just seems right.
posted by autodidact at 11:53 AM on October 28, 2007


Girls with boys names seem to end up as strippers in cheap Canadian bars.

Just sayin'.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:00 PM on October 28, 2007


We really should just assign unique numerical identifiers to our kids - even numbers for girls, odd numbers for boys.

America would save billions in database management costs alone!

Who's with me?
posted by Aquaman at 12:00 PM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


autodidact; Craig is a horrendous name. When heard, is is Greg, Greg, Graig, Craig, or something else? My name is Greg...I must be mushmouthed as invariably people assume it's Craig or even Rick.

That being said, I answer to my name out of habit, not because I feel that *I* am *Greg*. That really sucks, and if I could find a name that fit better, I'd change it.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:02 PM on October 28, 2007


Oh god, I am sick to fucking death of kids named Hunter and Peyton and so on. What happened to Emily, and Joshua, and Elizabeth, and names along those lines?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:06 PM on October 28, 2007


Oh god, I am sick to fucking death of kids named Hunter

And why aren't there any Gatherers? That's what I want to know.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:14 PM on October 28, 2007 [10 favorites]


ohgodthisthreadfuckingrules

And 'Jayden' has got to be the most godawful of the godawful names.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:14 PM on October 28, 2007


dirtynumbangelboy: Which is why I named my daughter Molly. Everyone knows it, everyone can spell it, but it's not the top name pick for 2006.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Get off my lawn...Jaden and Logan and Mikayla and Madison and whatever they're callin' ya young whippersnappers these days!!! Don't make me shake my fist angrily but ineffectually at you!
posted by jonp72 at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2007


Girls with boys names seem to end up as strippers in cheap Canadian bars.

Cheap Canadian bars? Thems ain't girls.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


It seems like gender ambiguity and gender fluidity should be the child's perrogative, not the parents'.

Then again, I find completely unique and novel names a little tiresome, particularly since the more a name seems unique to a parent, the more likely it is to be a fad. We're unique and special, even if our names are Thomas, John, Jill or Mary. There's something to be said for allowing kids to find their own unique nicknames.

Come to think of it, my first crush was a boy named Sequoia, who turned out to be terribly dull and shallow. I ended up with a boy whose name I'd always hated, but it's grown on me in the ten years we've been together.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 12:17 PM on October 28, 2007


Kickstart70 (on preview)-- Molly will thank you for you decision.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 12:19 PM on October 28, 2007


It was originally a way to display your illustrious maternal blood line, which would not otherwise be clear from your last name. If you are a female Whitney and your name is obliterated by marriage, naming one of your children Whitney is a way to signal to the world that you're from a prominent family.

See many of the characters in Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence for examples of this.
posted by JanetLand at 12:23 PM on October 28, 2007


You want to know why there aren't any Joshuas?

Because in 1984 when MY son was born it seemed that literally every other boy baby born around that time was a Joshua.

Meanwhile, a while later, when my second daughter was born I made her middle name Caitlin which up to that point was a rare name UNTIL THEN when all of a sudden it seemed half her kindergarden class were Caitlins (or assorted spelling of same.)

Names are generational. How many Ralphs do you know these days?
posted by konolia at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2007


Kickstart, Molly is a fucking fantastic name. Good choice.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:27 PM on October 28, 2007


I don't know any Ralphs.. but a fun fact: I have never met a heterosexual man named Lance, and the only heterosexual named Bruce I've ever met is a cousin.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2007


Am I the only one concerned about this:

Finland, for instance, maintains strict, nonoverlapping rolls of official boys’ and girls’ names and will not recognize births unless parents select a name from the appropriate list.

What? Finland CENTRALLY PLANS NAMES? WTF? Who wants to live in a country where the GOVERNMENT tells you what names you are ALLOWED to name your children? WTF?
posted by MythMaker at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2007


I think people who worry about names sounding silly are sad, sad, sad individuals who would, were their context somewhat different, be complaining that you don't get coffee like you used to, and the weather isn't as nice and why won't those kids stay out of their azaleas?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:33 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think we can all be grateful that America has finally gotten over it's "Brianna" obsession.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:34 PM on October 28, 2007


Blah. Plain first name and unusual middle name. The kid chooses which to use. Plenty of "Molly"'s out there not thanking their parents, either.
posted by dreamsign at 12:34 PM on October 28, 2007


I have a friend named anderson sullivan jonas.
posted by MNDZ at 12:54 PM on October 28, 2007


Let me weigh in on "Craig," as someone with personal experience: Don't.
1. It's annoying to have to correct people who keep calling me Greg (or Chris or Graham or Grant).
2. As a name, it is terrible. Know what it means? A bunch of jagged rocks. "You know what our new baby reminds me of, honey? A bunch of jagged rocks."
3. Every Craig on television (with the exception of the Late Late Show) is a minor character, usually weird and prissy and effeminate.
4. The only word that sort of rhymes is fag. That's loads of fun in the schoolyard.
5. It doesn't shorten well. "Craiggers" or "Craiggie" or "Craiggles" are not good names.
6. People don't know how to spell it. It's common enough, and it's just one syllable and five letters, but somehow they always get it wrong.
7. Larry Craig.

posted by Reggie Digest at 12:56 PM on October 28, 2007


My dad's name is Bruce, who I am pretty sure is straight.

And there is Bruce Campbell (but I haven't met him).

My friends daughter is Ariana, which until that point I had never heard before, but now I have seen in a few places.

Nora Claire is another name that is starting to come back. Or atleast it is in my mind, because i started paying attention to whenever I hear it.

I think in part we recognize these names we are familiar with, because we start getting used to hearing for them. Like when you buy a new car, and then recognize every time you see your new car, and it feels like everyone has the same car as you now (when in fact you just got used to picking out the car in the parking lot, now you recognize the shape of it much more distinctly).
posted by mrzarquon at 12:56 PM on October 28, 2007


"What happened to Emily, and Joshua, and Elizabeth, and names along those lines?"

I see by your profile, dirtynumbangelboy, that you're in Canada. Naming patterns must be really different up there. Here in the States, all three of those names were in the top 20 U.S. baby names (as registered with the Social Security Administration) last year, and have been so for several years. In fact, "Emily" has been the top girl's name every year for ten years. Go to an American grade school, and there's an Emily (or two) in every classroom.

Also, Chuckles's observation of "the Marvel Comics agenda" might not be too far off. There's a trend tool on the SSA page that will show the name started climbing in popularity in 1976, just a year after Wolverine joined the X-Men.

Anyway: This article makes me hope that people will start naming some daughters "Milo," so my family will stop using the damn name for boys.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2007


everyone thinks he is jonas anderson, which is wrong.
posted by MNDZ at 1:00 PM on October 28, 2007


I too hate the "we must find a special name for our child" group. Names should ideally be clear, easy to spell, and relect well on the child. And, please, no short-bus variations in spelling of regular names, or slightly different versions of same.

"Audrey" is a nice girl's name. "Aubrey" is destined for a lifetime of spelling corrections and mispronunciations. "Forrest" is already kinda dumb but the extra "r" again means a lifetime of credit cards and official paperwork with the wrong name on them.

And, please, can we just kill the "i instead of y" thing? "Tammy" is fine, "Tammi" or "Tami" is just kinda silly. Unless as a parent you look forward to your youngster spending days mulling over "a heart, a dot, a little smiley guy--so many ways to dot the 'i'".
posted by maxwelton at 1:03 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Anyway, slightly more on topic: Upon moving from the Prairies to the Maritimes as a teenager, I found it completely hilarious that there were so many boys named "Shannon" and "Ashley."
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:03 PM on October 28, 2007


I love the name Milo.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:03 PM on October 28, 2007


When I was a kid, the protestant churches my family would frequent often talked about how "in the future everyone would have a number instead of a name." They'd say that like it was a bad thing. I thought it was a great idea!

I hate it when I have to go by my birth name. About twenty years ago I started introducing myself by "Zach" unless there was a paycheck involved and I was afraid they'd actually put "Zach" on the paycheck. Banks won't let me cash Zach checks. I don't understand why. When someone was gonna pay me for something, I would reluctantly admit that my birth name is "Robert." Not Rob, Robbie, Bob, Bobbie, Robt, Ribbit, Roberta, Roberto, Beto, Robby, Robrob, or Robin. It's Robert.

I dare you, next time you're in a public place, to stand up and call out "Bob" real loud as if you were trying to get someone's attention. Then count how many people turn around.

In any crowd, there is always a minimum of two "Bob"s within earshot. You can write that down. You can bank on it. Now try growing up with that terrible dynamic. I had permanent whiplash by the time I was twelve.

And no. You don't get to call me Bob. No one calls me Bob. I have only allowed one person to call me Bob in my life, cuz he was my boss at the time, and I think he's dead now.

However, the idea of being a number instead of a name is never gonna happen, cuz mothers will never tolerate it. They will never want to call out your social security number at dinner time.

"It's dinner time, five four oh one... oh screw it - BOB! DINNER'S READY!" Then a dozen kids turn and look at her. Life is a vicious cycle.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:05 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Btw, does anyone know why it's pronounced Sin-Jin? Confused me mightily when I was a child.)

Wikipedia says it's the Old English pronunciation (1, 2).
posted by unmake at 1:09 PM on October 28, 2007


> Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."

Lyrics by Shel Silverstein, amazingly enough.

posted by WCityMike at 1:15 PM on October 28, 2007


"...Finland, for instance, maintains strict, nonoverlapping rolls of official boys’ and girls’ names and will not recognize births unless parents select a name from the appropriate list...

...

*blink*

...

How can a country not recognize a birth?

"I'm sorry Mr. & Mrs. Johnson but because you insisted on calling your child Fruitcake--"

"Apple. We named her Apple."

"--The country of Finland refuses to acknowledge the existence of children named fruitcake, or anything that might be found dried up and in a fruitcake."

"That's absurd."

"It's clearly written in the country's bylaws."

"But Gwyneth Paltrow named her child--"

"Not in Finland she didn't! And if her child ever tries to visit Finland she will discover that she ceases to exist."

"You can't do this!"

"Thank you for attempting to give birth inside the geographic boundaries of our lovely country. Have a good day."

"But we DID give birth inside Finland!"

"No you didn't. The government of Finland refuses to acknowledge that your child exists."

"She's right here!"

"I don't see anything."
posted by ZachsMind at 1:21 PM on October 28, 2007 [9 favorites]


Chuckles: "More like the Marvel Comics agenda.. I mean Wolverine is cool, but I don't think I'd name a kid after him."

I actually did. Not mine, but this girl I dated was pregnant at the time, and she asked for a name, I said "Logan" and she took it.

I just found out she (the Mom) ended up dying in March from a car crash after googling the kids name and finding a forum post about it from her cousin.

I think Logan is seeing a resurgance not just from X-Men, but Veronica Marrs and Gilmore Girls both having it.
posted by symbioid at 1:36 PM on October 28, 2007


Doh... Veronica Mars. I spell it with two Rs because I keep thinking of that 80s dance group MARRS, for some reason. *sigh*
posted by symbioid at 1:37 PM on October 28, 2007


I don't remember where, but someone once predicted that women will continue to claim men's names until one day, all men will be called Bob.

I would take it further and predict that the words for genders themselves will see a similar fate: both 'man' and 'woman' will refer to females, whereas the word for what today is known as 'man' will simply be 'bob'.

At childbirth, if a penis is revealed: "It's a bob!"

Males, however, will forever retain their privilege of being the "default" gender. Such is the future of bobkind.
posted by Anything at 1:42 PM on October 28, 2007 [7 favorites]


I read a year or two ago that since 1997 there's been a curious yet subtle increase in the number of children named Xander (or Alexander), Willow, Anya(nka), Tara, Giles, and even Angel, but no remarkable change in the number of children named Buffy (or Oz for that matter).
posted by ZachsMind at 1:42 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are, or at least used to be, several European countries that only allowed parents to give their kids approved names.

I have an acquaintance whose given name was not recognized as legitimate by the country in which he was born, and the way in which they "didn't recognize his birth" was that they wouldn't give him a birth certificate unless his parents put an approved name on it. His parents chose the most similar approved name, which is his legal name, and he goes by something else.

I don't know if it still works that way. I wouldn't be surprised if they've loosened the name restrictions, because there are more immigrants and presumably there's more awareness of minority rights these days. On the other hand, I could see this getting caught up in the anti-immigrant backlash.
posted by craichead at 1:44 PM on October 28, 2007


"...because there are more immigrants and presumably there's more awareness of minority rights..."

Ah. It's a racism thing. I shoulda known.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:49 PM on October 28, 2007



There are, or at least used to be, several European countries that only allowed parents to give their kids approved names.


Ah yes, such as the case of Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116
posted by pravit at 1:52 PM on October 28, 2007


Ernie: I'm so glad my parents named me Ernie.
Bert: Why's that?
Ernie: Because that's what everybody calls me!

Yuk yuk yuk.
posted by salvia at 1:55 PM on October 28, 2007


Ah. It's a racism thing. I shoulda known.
I could be wrong, but I think they have to do with a cultural nationalist impulse, rather than racism in the contemporary sense. How was Hungary going to protect its distinctive Hungarianness if parents were allowed to give their kids German names? That kind of thing. But I could be wrong. Some countries seem to demand that you choose from an established list, while others just step in if you try to name your kid Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116.
posted by craichead at 2:00 PM on October 28, 2007


Who wants to live in a country where the GOVERNMENT tells you what names you are ALLOWED to name your children?

Finns? And some Swedes and Sami?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:02 PM on October 28, 2007


My name is Bjorn. It is the word for bear in several Scandinavian languages. It's got numerous variants, like Bjarne, Biornus (latinized), and Beorn. Many interesting people have held it, but I'll just link to this guy.

Norse names are great.
posted by phrontist at 2:11 PM on October 28, 2007


My mother's name is Inge because her parent's first choice was not in the Belgian allowed names book for girls.
posted by phrontist at 2:12 PM on October 28, 2007


Wow, everyone loves to bitch about what other people name their kids. And how on earth would MeFites ever find a place to bitch about names unless the NY Times featured a lame fluff piece about names! Thanks, internets!
posted by desuetude at 2:13 PM on October 28, 2007


In Germany, first names have to be identifiable as auch, can't be insulting to the child, have to be clearly male or female (there are exceptions to this though) and can't be brand names or last names. Seems pretty reasonable to me.
Parents still manage to give their children really crappy names though.
posted by snownoid at 2:16 PM on October 28, 2007


> Finland, for instance, maintains strict, nonoverlapping rolls of official boys’ and girls’ names and
> will not recognize births unless parents select a name from the appropriate list.

It appears to be Denmark, a well-known theocratic state. I am somewhat disappointed; I was seriously curious to know whether a Finnish couple would be allowed to name their little boy Lemmikainen.
posted by jfuller at 2:20 PM on October 28, 2007


Cheap Canadian bars? Thems ain't girls.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, they are.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:22 PM on October 28, 2007


"I'm getting really sick of guys named Todd. It's a goofy fucking name. "Hi, what's your name?" "Todd. I'm Todd. And this is Blake, and Blaire and Blaine and Brent."

"Where all these goofy fucking boys names comin' from? Taylor, Tyler, Jordan, Flynn. These are not real names. You wanna hear a real name? Eddie. Eddie is a real name! "What happened to Eddie, he was here a minute ago?" Jackie and Johnny and Tommy and Bill. Danny, Larry, Johnny, and Phil."

"What happened? Todd. And Cody, and Dillon, and Cameron, and Tucker. "Hi Tucker, I'm Todd." "Hi Todd, I'm Tucker." Fuck Tucker, Tucker sucks. And fuck Tucker's friend Kyle. Thats another soft name for a boy. Kyle. Soft names make soft people. I'll bet you ten times out of ten, Nicky, Vinnie, and Tony would beat the shit out of Todd, Kyle, and Tucker."


Ugh. Another pseudo-homophobic "regular guy" rant from George Carlin. What this douchebag ever funny?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:24 PM on October 28, 2007


I like the NameVoyager for stuff like this. It uses US data. Type all or part of a name, select a sex (or both) and see the trend since the 1880s. When there are two or more names on a chart, they're shown alphabetically from top to bottom, with the thicker lines showing the more popular names. Mouse over a name chart to see the rank of that name for a given decade.

Shannon is fading. Dakota is falling for boys but rising for girls. Etc.

I notice no one names their son "Moody" anymore. Weird.
posted by pracowity at 2:36 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


longdaysjourney: St. John in french is pronounced San Jawn with a short "n". Which maybe have contributed to Sinjin.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:39 PM on October 28, 2007


All the names, and their frequencies of use (USA-born), that you can shake a mouse at. Though it's not helping me as much as I'd like.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 2:41 PM on October 28, 2007


pracowity! No fair typing what I'm thinking while I'm typing. Anyway, gotta go pack the hospital overnight bag...
posted by Ella Fynoe at 2:43 PM on October 28, 2007


We all know about Not Without My Handbag, right?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:43 PM on October 28, 2007


women will continue to claim men's names until one day, all men will be called Bob.

Why would anyone name a boy after a woman's hairstyle?
posted by kittyprecious at 2:49 PM on October 28, 2007


I know a bunch of people (4 or more) who just named their sons either 'colt' or 'coltan'. Which, to me, doesn't sound any better than naming your daughter 'kitten', but I guess it sounded better to them.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:51 PM on October 28, 2007


Hey, what do you know. The use of Christopher peaked in the 80s to mid 90s.

Which explains why I can always find atleast 3 chris's in my age group no matter where I go it seems.

At one time, I worked with a Kristofer and a Topher. We just need a Kristen and a Christine and we could have gotten a good chunk of the permutations in one office.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:52 PM on October 28, 2007


From the article:

Finland, for instance, maintains strict, nonoverlapping rolls of official boys’ and girls’ names and will not recognize births unless parents select a name from the appropriate list.

Not true. No lists. There are some rules though. Very similar to the German rules that were outlined above:

In Germany, first names have to be identifiable as auch, can't be insulting to the child, have to be clearly male or female (there are exceptions to this though) and can't be brand names or last names.
posted by snownoid


Exceptions are made if there's a good reason (usually because parents come from a culture/tradition/religion where the name in question is considered acceptable).

I was seriously curious to know whether a Finnish couple would be allowed to name their little boy Lemmikainen.
posted by jfuller


Lemminkäinen is not a popular first name in Finland but not unheard of either. It can also be a last name.

Statistics about Finnish names can found from the pages of the Population Register Centre.
posted by severiina at 3:03 PM on October 28, 2007


What? Finland CENTRALLY PLANS NAMES? WTF?

Japan also has an official names registry, in that parents can only choose Chinese characters for the names from a government-approved list. It makes sense, in that there are thousands of Chinese characters, and some are pretty arcane.

However, you can make the same sound any way you want. My wife's kanji is:

成江

Most people read this as 'Nari-e', but it is actually reads as "Masa-e", which just doesn't make sense (grandma belonged to a cult, and the cult held great influence in the household). But most Japanese first names are hard to figure out.

Our son's name is:

昂士 [Koshi]

昂 resembles 昴 [Subaru, the seven stars of the north]

I actually registered my son's birth at city hall, and they fucked up his name, mistaking 昂 for 昴 on the printed records.

So I, a foreigner, had the great, great, great satisfaction of telling those bastards that they fucked up (city hall workers are the worst of the worst in terms of smugness).
posted by KokuRyu at 3:11 PM on October 28, 2007


Regarding names in Finland, the claims in the article are not quite true.
Finland, for instance, maintains strict, nonoverlapping rolls of official boys’ and girls’ names and will not recognize births unless parents select a name from the appropriate list.
Here's what the law says:
[...]
Ilman 3 momentissa mainittua syytä ei etunimeksi voida hyväksyä:

1) nimeä, joka muodoltaan tai kirjoitustavaltaan on kotimaisen nimikäytännön vastainen;

2) pojalle naisennimeä eikä tytölle miehennimeä;
[...]
Which (IANAL) means that, with certain exceptions,
1) you cannot give your child a name that goes against domestic naming practices and
2) you can not give your daughter a man's name nor your son a woman's name.

From what I've gathered, for 1), instead of there being a roll of names you must choose from, there are certain more or less subtle cultural norms you must satisfy. You probably couldn't name your child 'Pyykki' ('Laundry'), because that's just not the sort of thing people are named after.

As for 2), the majority of names are such that are strongly established as either womens' names (like Maija or Kerttu) or mens' names (like Seppo or Kyösti). Those names, I'm pretty sure, you can't give to a child of an 'opposing' sex. But the non-existent roll-of-names, in addition to not existing, is also not non-overlapping. There are traditional names such as Auli or Toivo which, although fairly rare, are used for boys and girls alike.

I'm not really arguing over whether or not this law is just, but I do see how it could prevent kids getting harassed for stupid names.

As for "not recognizing births" I don't know what that means. The same law only says that children's names must be added to the civil registry (or whatever the word is for 'väestötietojärjestelmä') within two months after birth, and that a person whose birth (for whatever reason?) is not in the civil registry, must assume a name when he or she is added to the civil registry.
posted by Anything at 3:19 PM on October 28, 2007


Well, our baby girl arrived Monday night, and her name is Kelly. The #2 last name in Ireland, but it's been a common girl's first name for so long in the US that no one thinks of it as a last name.

However, our own last name, Cooper, is a hot trendy baby name...

My friend calls her kid's class at school the airport class: Logan, Austin, Madison....all airport/city names.
posted by GaelFC at 3:32 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think we can all be grateful that America has finally gotten over it's "Brianna" obsession.

My sister adopted a toddler named Anna, a perfectly lovely moniker which also happens to be the name of our beloved dead granny -- how perfect is that? So my sister changes it to BRIanna. What the fuck is wrong with people?
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:39 PM on October 28, 2007


Actually EthnoMethoDologist, when George Carlin is ranting, he's often making fun of the kind of people who rant like this, as much as he is making fun of the source material. His actual opinion may or may not reflect what he's saying. His real purpose is to entertain people for an hour. He doesn't actually want to kill anyone who wishes him to "have a nice day." He just thought ranting about it for twenty minutes is funny, and he's right.

He could care less if anyone takes him seriously. If he wanted to be taken seriously, he wouldn't be a comedian. However, I often agree with what he has to say, even though I know he doesn't believe any of it himself, so I'm the kind of person he's really satirizing. I find some kind of sick satisfaction in that.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:39 PM on October 28, 2007


"her name is Kelly. The #2 last name in Ireland"

I thought that was Kelley with two 'e's. I know that cuz I am a Kelley on my Dad's mother's side, making me one eighth Irish. I'm also distantly related to this guy. Hee! DeForest is the coolest middle name EVAR.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:47 PM on October 28, 2007


Shit, scratch everything I wrote, because this is a lot funnier.

What? Finland CENTRALLY PLANS NAMES? WTF? Who wants to live in a country where the GOVERNMENT tells you what names you are ALLOWED to name your children? WTF?

Yes. Exactly. First of all, there are quotas. Only 20000 of any given first name are allowed at any one time within he Finnish borders. At birth, the magistrate checks the records of residents, and lets the parents choose from among those that are not used up. If all legitimate names for a given gender are used up, the national name committee goes into session for up to six months, and chooses one (1) new name to be added to the registry.

Apart from opportunities that result from persons dying or leaving the country, births within this period are not recognized, and it is considered bad form for foreigners to bring up the issue of unrecognized births.

After a new name has been chosen by the name committee, until someone dies or leaves the country, all newborns of the given gender will receive the chosen name.

Foreigners lucky enough to have a first name that is also found in the Finnish name registry can access the country with a regular visa. Everyone else will need to either apply for a visa with a special name provision, or make a request for his or her own authorities to have their name changed. For most U.S. citizens, the name-change is generally considered to be a simpler and faster option.

During name-saturation periods, the borders are closed for entry.
posted by Anything at 4:12 PM on October 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


ha ha anything
posted by Rain Man at 4:18 PM on October 28, 2007


> Lemminkäinen is not a popular first name in Finland but not unheard of either. It can also be a last name.

Interesting, thanks! I noticed too late that I'd shorted him an "n", thanks for not whacking me about it.
posted by jfuller at 4:21 PM on October 28, 2007


If people didn't have weird names, we would have no contestants on reality tv shows.
posted by Falconetti at 4:29 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oddly, folks keep hearing my name as "Olivia". My actual name, despite a sharp drop in popularity over the last fifty years is still twice as common. I don't know what that's about.

Giving kids their mom's maiden name as a middle name is also an alternative to hyphenation in cases where the mother did not change her name at marriage. I know a few folks who've done that. Both of my brothers did that, as both of their wives kept their maiden names.

Me? I got my grandmother's maiden name as my middle name because they wanted to name me after each grandmother, but my paternal grandmother would not let them name me Frances. ("One generation of a girl being called 'Fanny' by her brothers was quite enough," she said.)
posted by Karmakaze at 4:51 PM on October 28, 2007


Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.


Perhaps, but parents have a choice,
And may opt to eschew "Joyce."
posted by rob511 at 4:56 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm totally planning on naming my kids Xander and Willow. They will resent me forever and it'll be AWESOME!

I'm gonna name my kids Hannibal and Clarice.

Somebody stop me from breeding!
posted by crossoverman at 5:01 PM on October 28, 2007


According to Withycombe's Dictionary of English Christian Names, in 1750, three-quarters of all English men were named John, Thomas or William; three-quarters of women were Elizabeth, Mary, or Anne.

Even one hundred years ago, you'd find the same common names like Mary, John, etc. repeated over and over again in a family - a woman, her daughter, and several granddaughters might all be named "Mary," for instance.

As ubiquitous as Brayden, Cayden, Hayden, Jayden, Madison and Madicyn might be, names really are much more varied now than they were in past times (in the U.S. and most of Europe anyway), and the article bears this out - the increase in the number of names accounting for half of all names is remarkable.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:16 PM on October 28, 2007


It happens that just recently I was thinking about trends in name and gender, so I made a bunch of charts based on the already linked SSA name data.

Here are charts of popularity by gender for any name that appeared on the SSA top-1000 names for both boys and girls in any year from 1970-2005. There is also a guide to the charts that might help.

For an example, here are the charts for seventeen of the names mentioned in the Times article.
posted by Lirp at 5:22 PM on October 28, 2007


Wow, thanks Lirp!
posted by Rain Man at 5:28 PM on October 28, 2007


If no one's posted it yet, here is the utterly fascinating Baby Name Wizard. Just start typing names and see how popular it is/was.
posted by zardoz at 5:39 PM on October 28, 2007


One of my favorite moments ever: One dreary morning waiting for the bus to work, a tour bus pulls up right in front of me. The passengers begin offloading, and it a group of senior citizens. This gets my attention, because I happen to think that the older you get, the cooler you are. Even cranky mean old people are cool in a way that cranky mean young people are not. First thing I notice, as always, is that the ladies outnumber the men at least 4 to 1. Note to self: live longer. By the time you're 80, you'll be surrounded by chicks. The second thing I notice is that they're all wearing nametags. It kind of went like this...

Doris, Mavis, Gertie, Nellie, another Doris, Rose, Hazel, Flora, Sophie, Helen (awww that was my Grandma's name) and then I spotted a Dorothy, and the very next thought in my head was "I already had Sophie and a Rose, If I get a Blanche, then there's no doubt that today will be an awesome day" I got a Ruby, then an Agatha, a couple of commonplace Mary's and Pat's, and I have no doubt that one of those Marys was indeed a Mary-Pat, and then there she was...Blanche. Thank you for being a friend. I was just standing there with a huge smile on my face, watching these cute little Irene's and Ida's milling around on the sidewalk, and for a brief second, everything made sense.

If I ever have a daughter, she's getting an old lady name. Millicent, Beatrice, maybe even Florence or Eleanor.

As far as Male names go, my rule is that any good presidents last name makes a good first name for a boy. Roosevelt, Hamilton, Tyler, Cleveland. Good solid names. There are some exceptions. Nixon, Reagan and Bush are out. Polk and Hoover don't make the cut for obvious reasons. Fillmore? Maybe. Carter? In a heartbeat.

Carter Metallica Fleetwood. Has a nice ring to it, don't ya think
?
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:46 PM on October 28, 2007 [11 favorites]


From the Social Security Administration website:

Note: Rank 1 is the most popular, rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth.
posted by furtive at 5:46 PM on October 28, 2007


the only heterosexual named Bruce I've ever met is a cousin.

I thought Springsteen put the lie to that old cliche years ago.

Always was partial to Vermont Royster and Learned Hand, myself. Oh, and Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

I'm told that Dutch parents have been naming their kids old timey, rural, earthy names for some time now. True? And does Doetzen Kroes qualify?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:48 PM on October 28, 2007


the only heterosexual named Bruce I've ever met is a cousin.

"There's only two heterosexual men named Bruce- Bruce Wayne and Bruce Campbell. One, of course, is fictional."
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:57 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Even one hundred years ago, you'd find the same common names like Mary, John, etc. repeated over and over again in a family - a woman, her daughter, and several granddaughters might all be named "Mary," for instance.

For it is Mary, Mary plain as any name can be,
but with propriety, society will say "Marie".
But it was Mary, Mary long before the fashions came
and there is something there that sounds so square,
it's a grand old name.

(Mary's A Grand Old Name, George M Cohan, 1906)

I have a vague memory of reading that the name was not considered appropriate in Irish catholic circles before the late nineteenth century as it was already taken by the BVM, but in time the fashions came, and thus, the song could be written.

Anyone know of any truth or falsehood to this?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:58 PM on October 28, 2007


I once knew a girl named Spatula. I kid you not.
posted by cazoo at 6:05 PM on October 28, 2007


What? Finland CENTRALLY PLANS NAMES? WTF? Who wants to live in a country where the GOVERNMENT tells you what names you are ALLOWED to name your children? WTF?

I have a nephew named Jerric. Jerric is meant to be a mix of his two grandfathers' names, Jerry and Eric. Rather than name him after one grandfather, or even give him an extra middle name, the parents instead stuck their son with a moniker that sounds like a character from Doctor Who. From what I heard, Jerric's mother actually scolded the nurses at the hospital for constantly mis-spelling Jerric's name.

If it keeps even one more Mahogany or Kyuss or Granite from entering the world (these are all actual childrens' names I have come across in the last year alone), then by all means let the government take over the naming of our kids. I'm serious.
posted by spoobnooble at 6:17 PM on October 28, 2007


billyfleetwood: my little sister (17) is named Beatrice. And my mother, paternal grandmother, dad's sister, and mum's niece are all named Elizabeth: they go by Betty, Liz, Tozz, and Lizzie. My extended family also boasts two Thomas's, two Timothys, two Bens, two Bernards, two Pauls and three Owens.
posted by jacalata at 6:41 PM on October 28, 2007


All props to the Penn Jillettes, who named their daughter Moxie Crimefighter.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:41 PM on October 28, 2007


The toddler community board on urbanbaby.com really goes apeshit for this sort of thing, if you're into it.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:43 PM on October 28, 2007


What about Bruce Willis? Not gay, unless y'all know something I don't.

Anyway, as much as I enjoy hating on the Madison-Michaela-Amber-Jayden-Briannas of the world, it sort of makes me feel a bit...classist. I mean come on, don't you feel just a teeny bit bad about saying "Hardy-har, that name is stripper trailer trash"? It just makes me feel a bit icky.

Then again, I was totally going to link to Not Without My Handbag had it not been done already...
posted by naoko at 6:57 PM on October 28, 2007


BillyFleetwood: "Carter Metallica Fleetwood. Has a nice ring to it, don't ya think?"

Change Metallica to Chumbawamba and I'm on board. Or better yet here's a list of alternatives. Just please for the love of all that is good and wholesome in this world don't name a child after anything Lars Ulrich has ever touched. plskthxby!
posted by ZachsMind at 7:08 PM on October 28, 2007


I want my kids to have names that no one else, anywhere, could ever have. I'm thinking Intermechlorion if it's a boy, and Clerminoa-Meliarch if it's a girl.

-hopes to marry a Trekkie-

Also, the only good part about working in a call center is seeing all the various names.

Best: Kermit Nixon, Cynthia Dragonette.
Worst: Fred Faggett, Peggy Slutsky.

^__^
posted by ELF Radio at 7:09 PM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I was given the name Brianna in the seventies - it still kills me that my mom had never heard it, and thought she invented it from a name she'd read in a romance novel - Brianne.

By the time I was out of high school, I was already going by Anna - even with a name as popular as Brianna, no one can spell it and I'm frequently referred to as "Bianca".
posted by annathea at 7:19 PM on October 28, 2007


That's the other thing about talking shit about names, is that you're inevitably going to insult someone, or their mom or at least their sister or something (my apologies to Brianna and to any Madisons, Ambers, etc. that might be reading).
posted by naoko at 7:23 PM on October 28, 2007


This guy was famous among kids in my town for his hard-to-believe name during the 1980s-1990s. I was shocked (and also a little impressed) that he hasn't changed the name so many years later.
posted by Mid at 7:48 PM on October 28, 2007




Hayden is in the top ten of girl names? The first time I recall ever hearing that name was when they announced who got to play Anakin in Attack of the Clones. At first I thought it was a joke. Then the second Hayden I ever heard of was Panettiere, who plays Claire on NBC's Heroes. I had no idea it's so rapidly replacing Mary as a popular name. Still creeps me out she was the voice of Dot. Sheesh. God, I feel so old.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:18 PM on October 28, 2007


Just please for the love of all that is good and wholesome in this world don't name a child after anything Lars Ulrich has ever touched...

Well then if you're gonna rain on my metal parade, I have no choice but to go with my backup...Ghostface

I almost forgot. The two most awesome/regrettable names I've ever encountered. When I was a kid, we lived next door to two cute little blond sisters named Sugar and Candy.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:40 PM on October 28, 2007


My name, Tiara, is somewhat unusual in my culture but I adore it for the same reasons as liquorice - because it's MINE. I know that when people call out my name, it's me they're referring to. It's different. It's pretty. Problem is, it's also been co-opted for cars and buildings and who knows what, so I get teased a fair bit.

However, the most teasing I get is from people thinking I'm linked to Tiara Jacquelina, a local celebrity. Even the PM's called me that. I met the other Tiara once at an event and showed her my ID - she was surprised and said that my parents likely named me after her!! Er, no, miss, you weren't even famous when I was born.

Quite a few people like my actual first name (Zahira) better, but I don't. Mainly because where I come from it's slightly more common, and it wasn't the name I was raised with. While Tiara is technically my middle name, it's what everyone, including my family, has been calling me before I was born. It's ME.

I was amused to read in Freakanomics that Tiara is one of the top ten black names in America. I joined a "Tiara" group on Facebook and I was the only Asian and one of two non-black people there.
posted by divabat at 8:51 PM on October 28, 2007


Someone added the name "Mihatmeat Tinyoumouf" to the ratemyprofessors.com list at my school. Sophomoric, but it gave me a chuckle.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:00 PM on October 28, 2007


I'm not going to make fun of bizarro baby names, because I have to remain true to my younger self, who wished for nothing but clear skin and a less-common name.

In high school, my freshman biology class had not one, not two, but three Alisons. We all had different last names, of course, but instead of using those to call on us to answer questions, Mr. Smith decided that he would just say "Alison?" and let us fight for who had to answer the question. Every time he called on the three of us, we would stare each other down until somebody cracked and said "Asexual reproduction?" or "Mitochondria?" or what-have-you.

Since the other two Alisons were both cheerleaders with clear skin and confident stares, I was always the one who broke down and answered the question. I'll never forget the day we talked about hermaphrodites.
posted by bluishorange at 9:29 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


1. I really, really don't get the hate for weird names. Weird names are cool.

2. Androgynous names are awesome too, and I wish my name lent itself to an androgynous version better.

3. I can't be the only one who hears Jane/Jayne as primarily a male name now.
posted by Arturus at 11:15 PM on October 28, 2007


it still kills me that my mom had never heard it, and thought she invented it from a name she'd read in a romance novel - Brianne.

Yeah. I fear this is the main problem with naming trends. The name sounds cool because the book (movie, tv show, etc.) has created all sorts of positive mental associations for you, and you don't know any kids with that name, so you use it, but you don't stop and think about all the thousands of other pregnant women reading the same damned romance or whatever and thinking the same thing.

I would like to see some name histories that track such influences. Locate the Harlequin romance or soap broadcast or Glamour article or whatever it was that created the wave of Marcias or Cindys or Chads or Matts or Jasons or Jadens. Exactly who or what started the trend for Lakeisha and other La* names?
posted by pracowity at 12:51 AM on October 29, 2007


Xander (or Alexander), Willow, Anya(nka), Tara, Giles, and even Angel,

And yet, suspiciously, there hasn't been a sudden increase of people called Rupert. Probably because Giles is already such a kick arse name.
posted by Sparx at 3:41 AM on October 29, 2007


divabat -- just curious, is Tiara pronounced "tee-air-a" or "tee-are-a"?
posted by JanetLand at 5:42 AM on October 29, 2007


Which is why I named my daughter Molly. Everyone knows it, everyone can spell it...
I'm reminded of SanDeE in "LA Story".

Here are a few more to avoid: the Bad Baby Names blog, and the Utah Baby Namer.

I can personally confirm the existence of a child in UK whose first name is 2la (pronounced 'Toola').
posted by No Mutant Enemy at 5:56 AM on October 29, 2007


JanetLand: the way I pronounce it is "Ti-R-Ah". Like someone saying "TRL" without the L (in fact, those ads on MTV used to trip me up so much because I'd think someone was calling me). "Ti-air-a" strikes me as being more American, though I will answer if someone calls me that.

I suppose it depends on how you pronounce "tiara" the crown.
posted by divabat at 6:19 AM on October 29, 2007


My name is Nevin. It's a Welsh word that supposedly means 'nephew', and it's also a place in Wales. I was named after the husband of my Mom's best friend; he's a handsome airline pilot whose house has two tennis courts. I don't think I've lived up to my namesake.

So, I'm one of those people whose name is always misspelled or misheard:

Neville
Kevin
Naven
Niven
Nathan
Levin

There is one other Nevin [same last name] in Canada. He lives in a small town in next province. He's a marathon runner, and I believe a fish biologist. I've never met him, but I know all this.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:28 AM on October 29, 2007


"2la" fucking rocks.

I don't know if Bruce Willis has a gay first name or not, but I met a man named "David Addison" last week, and I just smiled at him until he acknowledged that his name makes many other 40- to 45-year-old men just naturally assume he's cool.
posted by nicwolff at 8:26 AM on October 29, 2007


I've never met a gay guy named "Bruce." And I've met thousands of gay guys.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:26 AM on October 29, 2007


"Little Bobby Tables, we call him."

Tomboyish Name at TV Tropes.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:31 AM on October 29, 2007


I used to know a guy with the last name Rain. Named his kid Chance, middle initial O. Chance O. Rain. I always thought that was just cruel and unusual punishment.
posted by marginaliana at 10:02 AM on October 29, 2007


I know so many men named David that sometimes it's just overwhelming. There are four girls named Georgia in my son's grade 1 class. Eventually, I'll have to give up smoking just so that people don't think I named my youngest son Ash because I'm a hopeless cigarette addict.
posted by h00py at 5:15 AM on October 30, 2007


Did you name your youngest son Ash because you're a hopeless Evil Dead addict? Because that might be kind of awesome.
posted by craichead at 7:24 AM on October 30, 2007


Probably he named him Ash because he's a Pokemon addict. I don't think that's particularly awesome, personally...

(I have a kid who is obsessed with Pokemon, and I can't stand it, so I'm biased, admittedly).
posted by marble at 8:04 PM on October 31, 2007


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