Call me old fashioned, but I believe naming another human being is right up there with a good haircut in terms of importance, and the consequences of getting (either) wrong are huge.
I’m a massive fan of ‘old lady names’ … Audrey, Grace, Evelyn, Mabel, Greta, Hazel, Esther, Ava … love them all. Old men’s names rock too … George, Ned, Joe, Tom, Jack … all solid monikers that would work equally well for a high powered lawyer, environmental activist or Hollywood A lister … coz lets face it, who knows where they’ll end up?
On the flip side, it’s safe to say that I am not a huge advocate of naming your child after a piece of fruit, a number, a colour, a compass point or a day of the week. I always have a chuckle when celebs come up with ridiculous names followed by statements like “we plan on giving Rocket Racer a normal childhood out of the limelight and craziness that is LA” … really??? … you think Rocket Racer was a down low choice that will afford him the anonymity you so desire? A couple of other corkers are Frank Zappa’s kids; Dweezil, Ahmet Emiikha, Moon Unit and Diva Muffin … (for real) … or try John Cougar’s son; Spec Wildhorse. Seriously? Two words … Child abuse.
Aside from the fact that your kid has to live with your ‘label’ for the rest of his or her life, the name you choose also says a lot about you. Sure, it’s totally subjective, but hey, who hasn’t summarily dismissed someone on the basis of his or her child’s name. “Would you like to meet my friend Aurora’s mum?” … “No thanks.” Newsflash: just because it’s “unique” doesn’t make it cool or good. In an attempt to be idiosyncratic are we stigmatizing a generation of kids with ridiculous names?
Not that I’m advocating myself to be the arbiter of good taste when it comes to names … but here is my checklist of things to consider before naming a person.
1. Phonetically spelt names should be avoided at all costs. Never ok people.
2. Following on from point one … Spell your chosen name (whatever it is) in the way people expect it to be spelt or subject your child to a lifetime of “no … that’s Glen with two n’s”
3. ‘Regional’ names to which you hold no association are another no-no. Don’t call your kid Guido or Lorenzo unless your Italian … You’ll just sound like a nob.
4. Then there’s the dilemma of sibling names having to match. You can’t do a “Willow” followed by a “Jane” or an “Ignatious” followed by a “David”
5. if it’s a future princess your naming, then history would suggest that ‘traditional’ men are attracted to ‘traditional’ names. Take Mary, Kate, Diana and Grace for example … not a Heavenly Hirani Tigerlilly amongst them!
6. Adjectives are describing words (they qualify a noun, not replace it) … so don’t use one to name your child. Sunny, Blue, True, North, Loyal … all bad.
7. Always check initials for unfortunate acronyms - FU, BFF, BMW, LOL, JK (and the list goes on) should be avoided.
8. Hyphenated first names are not good. Mary-Lou, Lisa-Marie, Mary-Kate ... all a bit American cheerleader for my liking.
9. I don’t care how aristocratic your family is …. Never subject your son to “William the 3rd” …. Bad enough he has to share his name with half his immediate family; don’t add insult to injury and make him sound like a complete tool.
10. No matter how much you like the name … it has to work your surname … My maiden name was Taylor … very happy my parents decided against Jenna.