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Category: Dos, Don’ts, Rules, & Guidelines

Forbidden Baby Names

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When a name like Talula Does The Hula from Hawaii gets banned, it makes big news. But there are lots of other names that, now and since the beginning of recorded name time, have quietly been relegated to the forbidden list.  No judge may have pounded a gavel, no name-sensitive Napoleon decreed a law against outlandish names as he did in France.  But these names have nevertheless been shunned by parents in the Western World – and sometimes even by those who’ve been unlucky enough to be born with them.

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5 Routes to Baby Name Happiness

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In our best fantasies, here’s how we name our babies:

MOM-TO-BE — Darling, I just love the names Susannah and Henry, don’t you?

DAD-TO-BE — Oh, yes, dear.  And I might also suggest Jane, after your mother, and John, after my dad.

MOM — What excellent ideas, sweetheart.  So if it’s a girl, we’ll name her Susannah Jane, and a boy will be Henry John.

DAD — Perfect.  Now why don’t you let me rub your feet?

In reality, discussions go more like this:

MOM — How about Susannah or Henry?

DAD — Blech.  I hate those kind of frilly names; if we have a girl, I think we should name her something cool, like Harley or Parker.  And if we have a boy, my mother says we have to name him after my father.

MOM — Your mother’s not naming our baby.  And your taste in names sucks.

Usually, after nine months or possibly ten, the parents manage to arrive at a name they both can live with.  Why does baby-naming inspire such deep feelings and strong arguments in a couple who may have an easy time getting along in so many other ways?

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baby name rules

Today’s guest blogger, writer Jon Finkel, has come up with his own idiosyncratic set of baby-naming rules—see if you agree.

With the average life expectancy in the United States pushing 80 years, picking the wrong name for your kid could turn out to be an eight-decade mistake. Think about that. In eighty years you’ll be dead; the house you lived in, the cars you drove, the clothes you wore, will probably all be recycled, rebuilt or destroyed; but your son, who is now living in an old-age facility in 2091, has to go by the name Mason S., because Mason A., Mason G., Mason L. and Mason P. live on the same floor in his retirement home, were all born in 2011 and also had parents who went the unoriginal route and simply picked the trendiest name available.

So though Mason is a solid name, when it comes to your child in 2011, unless you have always loved Mason, or you are named Mason (or work as a mason) and your son is going to be a Mason Junior or a mason, the name is just too popular. This thought led me to compose what I’ll call “The Not Another Mason and Other Rules for Baby Naming” list.

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There are few things more thrilling in life than having your first baby.  But newbie baby namers are prone to making some mistakes that more experienced name choosers are able to avoid.

If you’re choosing a baby name for the first time, don’t make one of these 7 common mistakes:

1. Believing that the names that were popular – and creative – when you were a kid still have the same status.

Name tastes have changed radically over the last decade or two.  Goodbye, Jessica and Josh, hello Layla and Serenity, Landon and Tristan – all Top 100 names.

2. Thinking that the playground rules are the same as they were back in the day.

Kids no longer get teased for having names that are unique, androgynous, exotic, or hard to pronounce or spell.  Rather, name diversity is celebrated.

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These Names Mean Trouble (Literally!)

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Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we choose a name that’s just a – well, not a mistake, exactly. In many ways, it might be a perfectly lovely name. Except for that little black cloud hovering over it.

If you’re aware of the cloud – and by cloud, we mean things like an unsavory meaning or disreputable association – then fine. You’ve consciously considered the down side of the name and chosen to embrace it anyway. That’s cool.

The problem comes in if you pick a name and then find out three months or three years down the road that there’s something wrong with it. Something that makes people look at you – or worse, your child – strangely when the name is announced.

That’s when we call it a mistake.

Baby names that might elicit an Oooooops include:

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