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Category: uncool baby names

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By Pamela Redmond Satran

We like to think the names we choose will help determine the people our children grow up to be.  Serious, classic names create serious, classic (and classy) people; gorgeous names breed future stunners; and cool names will make your kid cool.

And sure, it works out like that sometimes.  From Beyonce to Leonardo Di Caprio, there are lots of examples of cool people with cool names.

But sometimes people transcend the image of their names, like the 25 folks here who are undeniably cool yet have names that are pretty much not.

  1. Allen Ginsberg
  2. Armie Hammer
  3. Bruce Springsteen

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Baby Names: Once so hot, now so not

shades

The history of baby names is littered with former stars that burned brightly for a decade or two, only to fade from view.

It’s hard to believe, from this vantage point, that Gladys or Edna ever made the Top 20, that names such as Harold or Larry were ever popular enough to dominate an entire decade.

It’s difficult to see Irene and Albert as the Isabella and Alexander of their day, to view Tammy or Tiffany as the height of cool.

Many of these once-hot names are lovely, even classic.  They’re just not as stylish as they once were (although some, especially from the earlier decades, are on their way back in).

We looked at the Top 25 baby names for each decade of the 20th century to pick out choices that were hot back them, and are not today.  Included here are Old People Names like Bertha and Clarence, Baby Boomer names such as Karen and Gary, today’s mom and dad names such as Jennifer and Jason, and names like Taylor and Tyler that are beginning to be heard much more often on babysitters than on babies.

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nerd

When Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany recently named their newborn daughter Agnes, I was very excited.  For a baby name connoisseur, the choice of Agnes by two stylish and attractive stars heralded the arrival of a new kind of cool name: the slightly awkward, somewhat geeky name that’s so uncool it’s cool.

Of course, Geek Chic has been around for awhile now, in names as in other aspects of fashion.  In our book Beyond Ava & Aiden, we featured a category – now on Nameberry – of Clunky but Cool Names for boys and for girls.  (There are also more, similar choices on the lists of Old Lady Names and Old Man Names.  The list of Old People Names, taking off from the twitter sensation, is full of names that are terminally geeky.)

Some of these choices, like Hugo and Oscar for boys, for instance, and Imogen and Matilda for girls, sound a lot more cool than clunky these days.  As vintage names become more mainstream and our tastes broaden, names that seemed edgy just a few years ago now feel normal and pretty – pretty normal.

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New York Baby Names

Journalist and New York City mom Laura Dunphy reports that the pressure is on for Gotham parents to choose baby names that are more creative, more unusual, cooler than those anyone else is using. But no matter how hard you try, you still might not make it.

Ah, New York, New York.  If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.  And if you can name your baby here without needing therapy or Xanax, then I applaud you.

That’s because like everything else in NYC, baby naming is intense.  If most people think naming children is a pleasant activity, like badminton or a picnic, Manhattanites treat it as a competitive sport, like rugby or bond trading.

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beanie

Click here for the full list of hipster names.

When the mother of all hipster mommy bloggers, Heather Armstrong aka Dooce, named her second daughter Marlo, all I could think was…..Marlo? Really?  You’d have to work hard to find a less hipsterish name, and Dooce herself has said she was inspired to choose the name by its original bearer, That Girl actress and Free to Be You and Me author Marlo Thomas, not exactly a hipster icon.

So I was thinking about how true hipsters would by definition search for names that were not pegged as hipster, when I came across a nameberry forum launched by the ever-brilliant Susan Chesney, called Outhip the Hipsters.

“What names are even more edgy and nerdy-cool than the Hipster List?,” Susan writes in the introduction to her thread.  Rule #1, says Susan: The names on the Outhip the Hipsters list cannot be on the Hipsters list or be enthusiastically endorsed on Nameberry.

Over the next 50 posts, dozens of the nameberry resident geniuses added their own entries to the Outhip the Hipsters list.  I’ve reclassified many of the name suggestions below, plus added some of my own.

Here, names that may Outhip the Hipsters:

RISING HIPSTER NAMES

The choices below are rising quickly through the hipster ranks and may soon be so hip they’re not hip anymore.

girls

Agatha

Dorothy

Freya

Fuchsia

Gwen

Louise

Magdalene

Mildred

Muriel

Pauline

Ramona

Roxanne

Ruth

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