Category: normal names
Maybe it’s because I used to be a fashion editor, but I’ve often thought that names were like clothes: coming into and going out of style, some choices enduring through the ages while others are momentary trends, everywhere for a season and then sinking from sight.
But the other day I started thinking that names are like clothes in a different way. Some names, I decided, are like magnificent couture ballgowns – gorgeous, luxurious, distinctive, dramatic, but a bit grand for everyday use. This may be the factor that keeps parents from choosing names like Raffaela and Orlando, Atticus and Anastasia, lovely as they may be.
More comfy and cozy, better suited to real modern life, may be the blue jean baby names. Down-to-earth and easy to wear, these blue jean names are popular but not trendy, attractive but never showy. With these names, you register the person first and the name second….or maybe fifth.
The news was filled with so-called normal names this week. But what defines a normal name? Is it a Top Ten choice that plenty of people your age share? Or are normal names the ones that remain in popular use for decades?
Singer Ne-Yo insisted that his son’s name is fit for a gentleman, and I wouldn’t argue – it’s a great name. But it is also a name that seems poised for the Top Ten, meaning that some perceive him as trendy, a cousin to Jayden and Aiden.
A widely-discussed report trumpeted the demise of Mad Men names, citing Don and Betty as examples of the most endangered appellations in all of nameland. There’s some truth to that, but it is equally true that plenty of names are enduring classics, the kind of choice that makes it difficult to pin down a child’s year of birth.
Normal changes, at least when it comes to given names. The endangered name list included plenty of perennial favorites, and that leads us right to our nine most newsworthy names this week:
James – The buzz about poor Betty and Don being so out of fashion included a list of others supposedly on the brink of extinction, like James – a name never out of the US Top 20 – and William, currently in the US Top Ten. The boys’ list was packed with timeless choices, including David, Charles, and Thomas. Maybe you won’t name your next son Roger, but many of us would consider one of the names on their so-called watch list.