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Baybeigh Naiymz
September 2003

9) Don’t fuck with traditional spellings.

Your child isn’t going to feel unique or special if you name it BrytNee instead of Britney, or Nikkolaz instead of Nicholas. It’s not going to understand “I know my name SOUNDS like the six other Madisons in my third grade class, but I’m MADYSYNNE instead, so ha ha!” And Kam’Ronn will have a hell of a time throughout his life consolidating misspelled mail and bills and records.

10) Don’t give your child Wishful Thinking names by picking random nouns/adjectives.

Plus it just sets them up for failure. Don’t name your daughter Bliss, Unique, Charity, or Salvation. Don’t name your son Cash, Sky, Prince or Legend. Imagine the fun when you yell at little Serene because she is screaming her head off at the grocery store (“Serene, I said SHUT UP!”). Or when little Gage or Marshall Cody wants to know WHYYYYYYYYYY he can’t have a toy shotgun, or when little Chase is headed at a full run for the crowded street- Heh.

Enough with super-nature-new-age-noun-names River, Autumn, Savannah, Sierra, Wynter, and Star. Besides, it just begs for too, too much cutesy-poo-ness…. Like from the Bad Baby Name boards: “My girls are Summer Skies, Autumn Night, April Shower, and Spring Flower.” Are they children or shades from Glidden’s color collection?

Don’t name the kid Monet or Matisse to try to show the world how cultured you are. You might as well name it Thomas Kincade.

Naming the kid Diamond isn’t going to make her more sparkly and precious. Naming it Major won’t make him more important and respected. No. It won’t.

11) Don’t give the kid bad product/thing names

I feel sorry for all the little Allegras out there. Of course their parents couldn’t know that the lovely name that means “lively” and is dance/music term would someday also be the name of an allergy medication. But the folks who named their kid Cristal or Crovosier or Lexxys or Chardonnay or Porsche or Ramses or Anacin don’t have any excuse. Don’t you remember how Ramona Quimby naming her doll “Chevrolet” was FUNNY?

12) Don’t give the kid a dog/cat/goldfish name.

Tasha, Duke, Misty, Honey, Cinnamon, Princess, Queenie, Spike, Bubbles, Ginger, Booker, Sissy, Luna, Buffy, Bear…. No. Please. No.

Of course, I’m not sure what to make of the fact that Max, my grandpa’s name, is now not only a Most Trendy Baby Name, but a Most Trendy Dog Name too….

13) Don’t get pissed if people unsurprisingly mispronounce or make fun of your kid’s unusual/creative name.

Sorry, dudes. Someone’s gonna call little Leigh “Lay.” Someone’s gonna call little Malachi “Mal-LA-chee.” If you name the kid “Schuyler” but want it pronounced “Skyler,” don’t be amazed that people might think it’s “Shoo-ler” instead. If it’s called “Karynne,” expect people to call it “Karen,” “Kar-RINE,” “Kary-Ann,” “Kar-REEN-nay” and, basically, anything but “Kah-RIN.” If you name your kid Ian but want it pronounced I-on like I-on Zeiring’s parents did, you really have no room to be annoyed when, for the rest of I-on’s life, he gets called “Ian.” You asked for it in the first place.

If your kid is named Mason, someone will inevitably think they’re clever by joking, “As in Mason Jar?!” If you’ve nicknamed little Dakota “Koti,” someone will make Kotex jokes. Someone will point out that little Kale is named after a vegetable. Someone will sing little Gracelynne’s name to the tune of Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” And someone will laugh outright at LaQuiesha, Jalaber, Aqualyna, Kryzlyannie, Rymon, and Shawnrika.

14) Get the androgyny thing straight.

Gabriel is the male version of Gabrielle. Gabrielle is the female version of Gabriel. So if you name your son Gabrielle or your daughter Gabriel, you are just asking for a lot of confusion. Expect people to think you’re stupid.

Let’s try it again. Adrian = boy. Adrienne = girl.

Androgynous names are not uncommon, but the same reason why a lot of people give their children genderless names (no assumptions made based solely on the sex of the person with said name) is the same reason why it causes confusion. People won’t know if Logan is male or female, if Bailey is a boy or a girl, any more than they were 100% clear on Terry, Chris or Robin in the 80s. So expect confusion if you have little Morgan, Satchel, Riley, or Shae.

And double ditto if you deliberately name your daughter Noah or your son Montana.

15) Remember, overly pretentious names are as laughable as overly creative names.

Designer baby names won’t make you sound more upper crust. Think about “Grayer” in The Nanny Diaries; that’s SARCASM, not a “pretty name!” I still remember a neighbor family, the (ahem) Barringtons, who named their daughters Slone and Merritt. Ooooh, how posh! Then there were the Callahans, who had Cami, Romi, and Tori. Crikey. Make that “criki”….

Calling your kid – boy or girl – something like Hunter or Langley or Tamberlaine or Devon or Cassidy is not going to make you suddenly the classiest person at the PTA meeting any more than your Lexus mini-van or diamond tennis bracelet will. In fact, it’ll prolly make you sound pretty freakin’ déclassé, yo.

16) Careful with cute names

Imagine… in about 65 years, all the rest homes will be filled with elderly folks named Mackenzie and Savannah and Jaden and Rhiannon. Your lisping 6-year-old might be an adorable Rory, but how is he (or she, I guess) going to feel at age 60? Ditto for little Kylie; sure, her Baby Beauty Queen career will be smashing, but what about when she’s “Great-Aunt Kylie”?

Same goes for cute combos, either for one kid, or multiple kids. Like MaKenna Dance, or Chasey-Mae, or Brayden Bryce, or Lexxa Grace. Sure, it’s just precious in preschool, but can you imagine anyone with these names functioning in the adult world? Or like the co-worker of a friend who has two kids: Lucas and Leia. Like the twins named Paris and London. The novelty wears off RILLY quickly, and these poor kids are left with a lifetime of explaining that, yes, their parents were dorks, and not in a good way, either.

17) And there are some things that just WON’T work.

Many names have associations that are nearly impossible to overcome. Would you name your kid Adolf? Morticia? Lucifer? Electra? Judas? Cinderella? Huh?

Some names might overcome the associations…. I mean, I hope Roseanne won’t ALWAYS be associated with a snarky housewife who’s had too much plastic surgery, and Morris won’t ALWAYS be a cat from a commercial. But if you name your kid something like Lolita or Scarlet or Kermit or Casper, you’re just asking for stupid comments.

Although, I suppose none of those names are anywhere near as offensive as the co-worker of O Nancy My Nancy who named her daughter JonBenét….

18) Rationalizing it with logical fallacies doesn’t help.

People naturally get quite pissy when one implies that “Precious Angel” or “Jonavan Casen” might be, oh, a touch excessive or silly for a child’s name. They start spouting defensive nonsense. “And we wouldn’t change him/her for the world!” No one’s questioning the kid’s existence. “And s/he’s very proud of her/his name!” Can a kid really be proud of his or her name? “Everyone we’ve talked to says they love our son’s/daughter’s beautiful name!” Sure. That’s just what they say to your face. “S/He’s never been picked on for her name!” Wanna bet? “We wanted to pick out a special, unique name for our new little angel!” So you 1) picked the same trendy names as ten million other Americans, 2) you’ve messed up normal names beyond recognition, or 3) you’ve named it Special Unique, which is just laughable. Names don’t make people unique… their qualities and characters do.

Anyway, those aren’t the points.

“It’s my child and I have a right to name it whatever I want!” Okay.

Sure, a person has every right to name their Sprog whatever they want. But that also means I got every right to laugh at it. And I will. Oh yes. I will!


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