Naming The Baby

Are you expecting? Congratulations, that’s lovely news!

About baby names…I have learned a lot, since I have become an auntie. Mostly, what people should not do, unless they wish to psychologically wound their child for fun and profit. If the Naming Of Cats is a delicate matter, the naming of babies is even more important. Babies tend to live a lot longer than cats, and will be far more wounded by a bad name than a cat will ever be.

1. Do not name the baby after the place the baby was conceived. Not only is this tacky, but Dallas, Paris, Brooklyn, Ledge, and Cheveigh-no’Vah are all cruel names.

2. Do not make your child cry when they go to a souvenir stand and cannot buy a tacky souvenir with their name printed on it correctly. If the name you pick is so unique, you doom your kid to have to spell it forty times a day for the rest of their life, not to mention misspelled mail, and difficulties with the IRS. Of course, you should probably not label your child with his or her name, as that makes it easier for bad people to convince your child that they know him or her.

3. Random capitalization, apostrophes, hyphens and strange symbols are not allowed. No Mac’Quenzees, SaNDeE*s, or La-Dunna-Brae-Lynns.

4. If you are not directly descended within the past three generations from a Native American tribe, a French person, a Japanese person, a German person, or a person from an African country, it is probably wise not to name your child a name that has no relevance to your culture. No Chaim Morimotos, Dakota Changs, or Ghislaine Washingtons, please.

5. “Sexy” names doom your child to a lifetime of working in a strip bar. Also, they are only suitable for pets or small children. Ever meet an Aunt Brandie, Uncle Jaiden-Kaydyn, Great-Uncle Bryce-Lasher or Grandma Neveah Typhani?

6. Watch those acronyms. There are lots of ways a three letter acronym can embarrass your kid. Do you want them to go through life deprived of monogrammed stationery just because their initials are ASS or PUS or TIT?

7. In an attempt to be unique and save your child from being “Jennifer S.” in a sea of fourteen other Jennifers, do not merely misspell Jennifer. Choose a less popular name, not a less standard spelling.

8. Speaking from personal experience, call your child by their first name and not their middle name. Otherwise you have to explain to the world why your parents chose not to do the standard thing, and the government, schools, doctors, employers, et cetera, all have to be trained not to use the unused first name and to call you by your middle name instead. This annoys all parties concerned.

9. “Mac” and “Mc” mean “son of”. Hence they are not really suitable as parts of a female child’s name.

10. Androgynous names were a cute trend in the eighties. But the whole “It’s Pat!” thing wasn’t funny even as an SNL skit. What’s wrong with “Mary” or “Michael”? Except, of course, then you have women like the gal who was in the Bangles who goes by Michael and confuses everyone. It’s your call, but check out some famous male serial killers some time: more than a few had “feminine” names. Might not be as cool an idea as you’d imagine to name a child a “catchy” androgynous name.

11. Names that are also proper nouns or concepts are poor choices. Don’t name your kid after gemstones, flowers, months, seasons, emotions, virtues or colours. This sounds very 1960s these days. Or, in the case of virtues, like Faith, Hope and Charity, very turn-of-the-PREVIOUS-century. Also, Murphy’s Law being what it is, your child will probably grow up to lack the very virtue his or her name suggests he or she has. Happy will be on Prozac, Faith will be an atheist, Chastity will be a ho, Hope will be an emo cutter, and Charity will be a yuppie scumbag who steps over starving homeless people to save fifteen cents on a mochaccino. Also, avoid any boy names that are punchlines in jokes such as “What do you call a man with no arms or legs sitting on your doorstep? (Matt) What do you call a man with no arms and legs thrown in a pool? (Bob).”

12. A warning when naming boys: Speaking of serial killers, names like “Wayne” and “Lee” are popular with serial killers, as are “double first names” in general.

13. 90% of all female middle names in the USA are Marie, Ann(e), Lynn(e), Jo, Lee / Leigh or Sue. This sounds very 1950s these days.

14. A simple test.
A. “And now, performing a sexy trick with ping pong balls and pythons, is !”
B. “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the distinguished senator from the state of <X>, Senator <potential kid’s name here>.

15. How will the child’s name sound when you are angry and call them by their full name? Try it now! Shout <potential child’s full name> at the top of your lungs. Does it sound silly?

16. Avoid names that could conceivably belong to someone’s pet, such as Muffin, Brandy, Max, Spike, Rex, Bunny, Smoky or Kitty.

17. If you want to call your child “Bob,” great. Call him “Bob,” but put a full name on his birth certificate anyway. Little Bob may prefer to be known professionally as “Robert” when he is an adult.

18. Choosing surnames as first names confuses everyone. You never know, when given a list, if someone omitted the comma or not. Is it Taylor Brandon, or Brandon Taylor? Piper MacKenzie or Mackenzie Piper?

19. Don’t name the child after a pop culture figure. By the time the kid is old enough to learn his or her own name, that pop culture figure will most likely have disgraced him or herself horribly. Or the TV show will have long been canceled. Or Michael Jackson or Kobe Bryant will get caught doing naughty things to other people’s no-no places. Pity the kids named after Kato Kaelin or characters on Friends. Pity the children named after characters in those shitty “Twilight” books.

20. When picking a kid’s name, write them out. Make a list. Without telling your friends why you ask, get them to tell you who they think of when they hear the names. Because your kid will get asked if s/he was named after so-and-so at least a hundred times in his/her life, and if the first associations that pop up are not to your liking, that’s a bad sign.

21. If you are American, or from a country that does not have accent marks on a standard keyboard, don’t saddle your kid with a name that requires special characters to type properly. No Renees with accents, Zoes and Chloes with umlauts, or Bjorns with the special O character in there. I have a relative by marriage who regularly expresses her annoyance with her name because it is never spelled correctly, thanks to her parents insisting on an accent mark over an e.

22. What does the name rhyme with? If you don’t think about it, your child’s peers surely will, within three minutes of meeting them on the playground for the first time.

23. There’s no such thing as a name that is too “common”, like John or Mary. There is such a thing as a name that is too popular. Uniqueness is not guaranteed with a name, the child will be unique regardless. There are better qualities to be unique about than a name, which is something the child had nothing to do with. Better they be unique for qualities of character or achievement than a name.

24. GoogHoo is your buddy. Enter the child’s potential name into a search engine. If any axe-murdering necrophiliac rapist politicians come up in the search, a different name might be a good plan.

25. Celebrities can name their kids crappy things because, face it, most of those kids will never have to work at Burger King, will hang out with other damaged celebrity children in designer-labeled, Botoxxed herds, and they can afford to hire lawyers to sue the pants off anyone who mocks them for being called Apple, FiFi Trixiebelle, Tallullah Belle, Jermajesty, Saffron Pine, Rumer, Peaches, Pilot Inspektor, Jor-El, Dweezil, or Moon Unit. Your kid probably won’t be so lucky.


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