Category: uncool baby names
The history of baby names is littered with former stars that burned brightly for a decade or two, only to fade from view.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One thing we learned when we wrote about hipster baby names is that nobody wants one. Many people were horrified if they found their favorite names — or worse, their actual children’s names — on our list of hipster names. No matter how much they’d loved the name before, they immediately went in search of something new, something different, something with a bit less of the whiff of hipsterdom about it.
Well, okay. We can dig grok understand that. It’s intrinsically uncool to be seen as trying hard to be cool, even if you’re doing so by deliberately being uncool. Which, of course, is uncool.
We wrote about this before, in our exploration of names that hit the baby name sweet spot between too cool and not cool enough.
Today we look at how to downshift the hipster factor in some of the prime suspect names. Making a name less hip might mean making it more classic or plainer, but it also might mean making it more unusual, less obviously stylish. If you truly want to pull back from the edge of cool, consider making the following swaps.
Any more bright ideas? We know you have some…..