Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On Naming Your Child

Since my brother Blake and his wife Deb are expecting another baby this fall, I have been thinking a lot about baby names.   

In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I have been wrong about this particular topic with regard to these particular parents in the past...I was opposed to naming their baby girl Cricket, arguing that it made a cute nickname but not a great given name...I was wrong! It's the perfect name for the perfect little girl, so I stand corrected.

But, I'm pretty sure I won't change my mind on this one:


With a name like Lorraine, I know exactly what it feels like to be the only kid in 2nd grade who has her name spelled wrong on about 90% of her Valentine's Day cards.  To this day if I'm placing a to-go order or putting my name on a wait list I'll say my name only to be met with a quick glance at me, back at the paper, and the slow attempt to "sound it out" resulting in "L-a-r-a-i-n" or some variation thereof.  I'm speaking from experience here, and my name is spelled right, it's just an odd name that's kinda hard to spell (what with that silent e at the end and whatnot).

But this trend to make up spellings is becoming alarming and I'm here to tell you it's creating a whole new category of self-doubt and sense of inadequacy among American children.  These kids are going to grow up wondering why their parents hated them, and understanding that the world at large thinks they have a LAME NAME!  It's tragic, really.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:

Mykel or Mykall (Michael) - Ks are very big these days. 

Zakery (Zachary) - again with the k

Jazzmyn (Jasmine)  - Y is also apparently a very popular letter.

Madasyn (Madison) - yet another Y

Jakub or Jaycub (Jacob)  - mixing it up here , showing one variation with the K and another with the Y

Kristoffer (Christopher) - Another K, but this time they're also keeping it fresh by doing FF in lieu of PH

Kaelie (Kaylie) - Let's face it, Kaylie is a made up 20th Century name anyway.  Do you really need to pretend to be Gaelic and do that AE thing in there?

Aeryn (Erin or Aaron) - Hitting 2 trends, what with that AE and the Y.

This whole "unique name" thing has been brought to the absurd with Gwyneth's "Apple" and Penn (of Penn & Teller)'s "Moxie Crimefighter" -- I didn't make that up.  His other kid's name is Zolton...the only thing that could have made that worse is if he had spelled it Xolton instead.

My particular favorite lamely spelled name in the media at the moment is dumb pageant girl "Caite" (pronounced Katie) on the Amazing Race.  As it turns out, for her, the spelling of her name is about as clever as it gets.  In case you missed her brilliant and insightful response to why Americans suck at geography --  "and such as" -- you really must check this out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WALIARHHLII&feature=player_embedded


  1. I agree.

    However, re: apple (spelled correctly) Chase went to school with a girl named "Apple Capulong." I loved her name. She was one of the smartest girls in his class.

  2. Sounds like an Asian fusion pastry.


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