Category: the Nameberry Nine
Are you watching The League? The FX comedy is about a group of friends who form a fantasy football league. Draft picks matter, in real sports as well as those played only on paper, and so the fourth season opened with a quandary. Dad-to-be Kevin had traded naming rights for his newborn son in exchange for a better draft pick. The new baby arrived, and Kevin’s buddy named the bouncing baby boy … wait for it …
Baby name style is a highly personal thing, and I’m always surprised by the names on birth announcements. Sure, I can guess with sometimes frightening accuracy what parents will have shortlisted for baby #2 or #3, but they’ve already showed their hand by then. Until they’ve hinted at what they’re thinking of for their firstborn, baby name style is surprisingly tough to guess.
Over the summer, I met three siblings, all living in the same area, each with a daughter about the same age. The three girls’ names could have easily belonged to sisters, even triplets: Annabelle, Georgia, and Phoebe. The women of the family clearly share the same general style – so much that I’d guess there must have been some consternation when they found out they were all expecting daughters within the same year.
For every situation where two former roommates both want to use Ethan James for their sons, there are plenty of cases where, no matter how much sisters or friends have in common, name style is simply not one of them. You roll your eyes when your BFF suggests Kestrel, only to hear your sis describe Eleanor as too old-fashioned.
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.
Huxley, Wolf, Ezra, August, Lochlan, Elsa, Emilia, Petra, Eleni, and Juniper all have something in common – they’re all names that I’ve come across on blogs, names that are unusual in real life, but familiar because I read what their parents write.
Move over supermodels and rock stars. Lately bloggers are among the most daring of baby namers.
Then there’s Rebecca Woolf, the blogger behind Girl’s Gone Child and the memoir Rockabye. I love her son’s name – Archer Sage – and was blown away when she and husband Hal chose Fable Luella for their daughter. Speculation about names for their twins had reached a fever pitch when the girls made their debut last week.