Category: name advice
I’m a name nerd.
True story: In college, I spent hours compiling data for a study on the attractiveness of male and female names. Amanda? Very attractive. Mildred? Not so much. Ken was more attractive than Keith, while Liam was about as attractive as Levi. By the end of the study, I had an Iliad-length research paper and a major caramel-macchiato addiction.
Believe it or not, even after all of that research, I still get excited to dream up the perfect names for the characters in my books. Finding just the right character name actually helps a story start to take shape in my mind. Since I have a tendency to get stuck on finding the perfect name (Maura or Mara? Lila or Lily?), I try to break the process down into just three steps.
We’re expecting our first child, a son, in a few months. Our dilemma is this: my mom really wants to know our chosen name, but I am not sure if I want to share it.
I love my mother, but she’s very opinionated. She disliked having an uncommon name, so she gave me a very popular one.
We’ve chosen Lawson Christopher for our son. It’s obviously not a common first name – though a search of Social Security records reveals Lawson is at its most popular in 2014, so maybe we’re on the cusp of the name taking off!
Also, is there a nice way to NOT reveal the name until he’s born and it is his, or is there no real way to avoid rejecting my mom here?
If we choose to tell her, how do I steel myself adequately against any negative opinions? I’ve thought this through, and this is the first name that feels like *him*, if that makes sense. How do I stay confident, even if the reaction of my mom is a negative one?
The Name Sage replies:
By Abby Sandel
Mikayla’s family lives in another state, but we’re part of a large group of friends, and we do see each other a few times a year.
Given the circumstances, can we still use the name Mika?
If we do use the name, what is the recommended etiquette we should follow? I don’t think we should have to ask to use the name, but I’d hate to see it cause problems in our group of friends. I also worry that our daughter would be called “the second Mika.”
Elaine, a young berry with what she feels to be an “old-lady name,” prefers to go by the sprightlier nickname, “Laney.” But she doesn’t love Laney either and so poses her dilemma to her fellow berries. Can she learn to love her name? Or is it time to start over with something new? She writes:
I come on your site daily to check out name reviews. Sounds crazy, since I’m only 16 and definitely not expecting anytime soon. One day I just hope I’ll find some celebrity who named their child Elaine or maybe it somehow made a miraculous comeback. It frustrates me that my name won’t sound fresh until the 2040s. By that time I’ll be 45 years old!
Like I said, I want to love my name. I want advice more than ‘it’s your name: love it’ or ‘you go by Laney so it doesn’t matter.’ That’s the advice given to me by other forums and friends who clearly don’t have my problem with names like Hannah or Emily. I’ve felt this way for years. It’s not just a stage. I don’t know what to do!
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.