Monday, July 19, 2010

Seriously? No, really, Seriously?

From ParentDish talking about baby naming trends of 2010:
The #1 fastest rising girl's name is Tenley, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Kinley, Tinsley and Kinsley also made the top 20. Together, they point to a signature sound for the year's baby girls. Also keep an eye out for Everly, which placed two different spellings in the top 20.

For boys, the country's love affair with "-n" names is set to continue. More than half of the hottest rising boy's names end in that super-popular letter. Look for a fresh crop of surname names, too, especially luxurious ones like Sterling, St. John and Bentley.
People are really and truly giving their babies names like St. John and Tinsley?

Honestly, though, those are actually not bad when you consider the entire boys and girls lists which read like a Best Of Romance Novel Hits from the Late Great Bodice Ripping Era:

1. Tenley
2. Harper
3. Everleigh
4. Martina
5. Sookie
6. Navi
7. Charlotte
8. Eloise
9. Lorelai
10. Ursula
11. Briella
12. Kinley
13. Tinsley
14. Mhairi
15. Leighton
16. Maelle
17. Ever
18. Kinsley
19. Lux
20. Everly


1. Castiel
2. Bentley
3. Eoin
4. Easton
5. Lucian
6. Aarav
7. Zion
8. St. John
9. Kaiden
10. Sterling
11. Callan
12. Leland
13. Harper
14. Mikah
15. Dashiell
16. Eliah
17. Dawson
18. Kayden
19. Lennon
20. Dorian

To be fair, this list supposedly demonstrates the names that people are most frequently searching for on a baby naming website, not necessarily the actual names they are giving their new babies. Still, I call foul on names like Ever, Lux, Castiel (shout out! to Supernatural), Zion and Easton. Heck, I can't pronounce girl names #14 and 16 or boy names 3 and 6.

How unfair to saddle a child with a name that will either 1) get him/her teased mercilessly by the other kids or 2) never be pronounced or spelled correctly, and 3) completely prohibits him/her from ever getting to buy a pre-printed pencil/bicycle license plate/keychain/other chotchke at the Cracker Barrel Country Store with his/her name on it.

One of my favorite naming books of all times is Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran's Beyond Ava & Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby (which, back in my day was called Beyond Jennifer and Jason: etc. which got modernized to Beyond Jennifer and Jason, Madison and Montana before arriving at Ava and Aiden some 15 years later). I love this book because beyond giving lists of names in alphabetical order or categorized by genre (flower names, saints' names, nationality-based names, etc.) and the meanings and/or history behind the names, this book analyzes what different types of names say about both the person who owns it and the parents who bestowed it upon their child. It also discusses naming trends and contains lists like "So Far In They're Out" where names that have gotten too popular reside, and "So Far Out They'll Never Be In" where names that fall into automatic geek-status land.

Rosenkrantz and Satran also put forth some really interesting theories, like the fact that trendy names are downwardly mobile and thus naming your child with a non-traditional but highly trendy name may one day mark him or her as having come from a lower socio-economic background. It seems that truly upper-class people (of the non-celebrity variety) actually tend to choose more traditional names for their kids.

They also talk about the problems with giving your child a more traditional name but trying to jazz it up by putting a unique twist on the spelling. All this does is doom your kid to a lifetime of having his/her name mispelled.

Now, I don't begrudge anyone for wanting to give their kid a special and unique name. But this list is really out there. It's kind of like teenagers getting tattoos. Sure, that full sleeve of ink or the giant serpent wrapped around some 18 year old's neck might seem cool today, and that pretty little butterfly on some 20 year old's firm left butt cheek is downright sexy. But when those kids grow up, that stuff is going to look pretty awful on a 50 year old dude or a saggy rear-end dimpled with cellulite. A little girl named Tenley might be oh-so-cute when she's heading off to kindergarten. But a sixty-five year old named Tenley showing up to renew her driver's license? Not so cute.

The other day I was in a Jimmy Johns waiting for our sandwiches to get made when I heard a young woman calling her toddler "Iowa". At least that little girl will have access to a butt load of stuff with her name printed on it.

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