14 Signs Your Name Might Be Jennifer

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Jennifer was the Number 1 girls’ name in the U.S. from 1970 until 1984, given during that time to nearly a million little girls. Today, that legion of little Jennifers have grown up to be  moms — and executives, artists, athletes, and movie stars. Here, 14 signs that you might be one of the Jennifers now ruling the world.

1. You’re still stinging from the gym teacher who called you Klutzy Jen, to distinguish you from Blond Jen, Tall Jen, and Fast Jen.

2. You don’t even turn around when someone calls your name unless they add your last name.  Or call you Klutzy Jen.

3. You call yourself JSat.  Hey, if it works for JLo and JLaw….

4. You’ve usually had at least one close friend with the same name as you.

5. You have frequently wished your name was Romilly, Newlyn, even Myrtle — any name as long as it’s unusual.

6. You tried to refashion some version of your name — Geni, say. or Jenipher — and get everyone to use that.  It didn’t work.

7. You’re still out of breath from the rant you went on after your partner suggested you name your first child Jacob or Isabella.

8. What’s in a name?  In your opinion, nothing.

9. You’re a card-carrying member of the SPPNTCJ: The Society for the Prevention of People Naming Their Children Jennifer.

10. You were born in 1976, or maybe 1972 or 1983.

11. You have siblings named Jessica, Christopher, Melissa, and/or Jason.

12. Your mom’s rationale for naming you Jennifer — “Because I liked it” — still doesn’t seem good enough to you.

13. Your cat may be fluffy, but you named her Francesca.

14.  You take comfort in the fact that in 1880, Jennifer was such a rare name that it didn’t even meet the five-baby threshold for getting a place on the Social Security list.

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26 Responses to “14 Signs Your Name Might Be Jennifer”

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tintri Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 4:04 am

Here, here! (Coming from an Ashley.)

Erinm Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 5:26 am

I was born in australia in 1979. I didn’t know even one Jennifer at school (and have only met one around my age since) but we had so many Kates, Rachels, Melissas. So many Rachels in high school that we called them by their last names. Not sure if this was just my experience or if Jennifer wasn’t such a big hit here in ’79

PinkPenguin87 Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 5:35 am

There were 4 Jennifer’s in my fourth grade class (1996-97) and I wished I was one of them. With my name Ellie that half the teachers in my rural Missouri school couldn’t pronounce….

freddiethepink Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 5:55 am

I only know one Jennifer well and there are a couple of others I have come across in my lifetime. But then I was born after the Jennifer boom and I’m from the UK, I don’t know if the name was as popular here.

summercandy Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 7:46 am

My cousin is named Jennifer and has a brother (my cousin) named Jason, that made me laugh

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 7:51 am

My family has a slew of J names ranging from the normal (Jose, Jacob and Jonathan) to the rarely heard (Joelia, Jacoba and Jermina) and everything in between. But I have to say, we don’t have a Jennifer.

MaryKathryn Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 9:10 am

As someone with a rather uncommon name reading this post makes me 1000% thankful that I am named Mary-Kathryn. I am so thankful that I don’t have to deal with all of these generalizations and commonalities!

spinfairy Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 10:29 am

These could easily all apply to my name in the UK (Clare) but with numerous different spellings. I have grown up surrounded by Claire/Clair/Clares, at school, college and still at work. Luckily my OH agreed with me on the rather unusual names we gave our four children as he has an equally uninspiring first name and mostly goes by his surname 😉

waiting12 Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 11:20 am

Absolutly! {Jessica Here!)

charlieandperry1 Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 11:39 am

@freddiethepink: It wasn’t. In England & Wales, Jennifer reached a high-point of #18 in 1944 (after first jumping into the top 100 about 10 years previously at #87) and has gradually declined since. It seems like trendy name, but if I was told I was going to meet a Jennifer here, I honestly wouldn’t know if she’d be 2 or 92. Underused classic in my eyes.

I can understand how some find having a popular name annoying, though I didn’t care and these don’t really apply to me. I had 2 spellings of my popular name in the top 100 when I was born, knew various others with ‘my’ name and it never bothered me or made me any less unique. Kids now are half as likely to meet someone with their name when I was young anyway. I’m so thankful that I couldn’t care less about popularity and I won’t restrict myself from using names I love!

Giinkies Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 11:41 am

Jennifer was a decade before my time. I had 5 Amandas in my class and 3 Nicoles, 1 Nicola and a Nicolette.

miloowen Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

It’s funny that it works both ways. I was the only girl with my first name that I knew until I was sixteen that wasn’t in the movies or the pages of a British novel. Of course, every kid I went to school with was named Kathy, Debbie, or Lynn, so nothing ever really changes. I decided to name my daughter Caitlin when I was eleven, because I was babysitting a little Welsh girl with that name — the year after she was born, it hit television (was it DeGrassi High from Canada? I don’t remember) and my poor kid — even though she’s older than most Caitlins — is faced with people constantly misspelling her name with all those variations….

saraallison Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Funny! I was born in 1980 and can’t even count the number of girls I’ve known named Jennifer, several of them close friends. My best friend goes by Jenn; she has a younger bro named Christopher; her twin sister breaks the mold I guess, as her name is Melanie. I guess one good thing about Jennifer is that, similar to Elizabeth and Sara (which is my own name) and a lot of other common names, each wearer of the name can look so totally different and still “fit” the name. Just like the pics included on this post; all those Jennifers are so different and yet they each fit the name great!

tori101 Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Such a funny read : )

Chloe14 Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 4:43 pm

I like the name Jennifer but if I named a future child that I would want it to be shortened to Jenny or Jennie.
We have a few Jennifer’s in my senior school over here in the UK. But not that many.
When my mum was pregnant with me back in 1999 (that’s when I was born) she really loved the names Olivia Jessica Chloe and Jennifer. But in the end she named me Chloe Louise which I love the name. But I really love the combination Jennifer Elizabeth (I just came up with that on the spot a minute ago).

ToNameAFlutist Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 5:23 pm

I like Jennifer Cluff. She is a flute player and a good namesake for flute parents to choose.

jame1881 Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Haha! I like these funny posts!

marypoppins Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 6:42 pm

This made me laugh, even though none of it applies to me. I’m a Jennifer born in the late 70s but grew up in the UK where it wasn’t quite as popular. I have met a few Jennifers my age, but it never bothered me. I love my name! Incidentally, both my siblings have names starting with J too, though neither Jessica nor Jason 😉

mmljar1 Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 4:27 am

This made me smile – here in Australia it was Rebecca, in 1993 there were 6 of them in my class of 23 girls! Now you can’t move for mums called Bec 🙂

Rebecca was top of the pops for a good 10 years but now no-one would even consider using it to name their baby. I suspect all of the little Ada/Ava/Eva/Evelyns will be in the same boat in 20 years regardless of how ‘classic’ we like to think the names are (after all Rebecca is a biblical classic in use for centuries). Not a bad thing but we must admit that the fashions we follow today aren’t so different to the fashions followed by our mothers.

SugarPlumFairy Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I still think it’s amazing how a relatively obscure Welsh name suddenly became such a popular name in the US. I mean, Jenny had always ben common, but it was used as short for Jane.

It does feel dated nowadays, but I have no doubt that it will be revived in a couple of decades.

I think my interest in names comes from the fact that I grew up a very common (albeit classic) name and so I have had to go by “Name Lastname” my whole life. I also grew up in an environment where unusual / oldfashioned names are somehow looked down on, so that most people have the same names. I mean, if I think of my 5 closest friends, 2 have my name and other 2 also share a name between them!

loislane1222 Says:

March 21st, 2014 at 5:11 am

I know two political journalists born in the era mentioned: Jennifer and Jason.

indiefendi Says:

March 21st, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I was in 9th grade (2009) with a Jennifer but I think she was the only one at the school. Back then I didn’t even know Jennifer was ever as popular as it was.

unicornluvgirl Says:

March 24th, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Yes, Caitlin Ryan! Yay, Degrassi!

maddiejadore Says:

April 1st, 2014 at 1:30 am

I’m no Jennifer, but two of my closest friends are Maddies. There are several other Maddies at school. Not to mention it is often misspelled. I’ve been Tall Maddie, Freckles Maddie, Tan Maddie, Flexible Maddie, Sarcastic Maddie, Maddawg, and the Maddie that likes Chinese food. The worst was at an audition the girl in front of me was Maddie, that one was really a killer.

lexical Says:

December 18th, 2014 at 12:12 pm

This definitely goes for Jessicas as well! I’m always the 4th or 5th Jessica. Ugh. I think it might be why I’m so fascinated by names! I’ve spent my life wishing I had a more interesting one.

natasha8 Says:

May 4th, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Oh, I don’t know….the four women pictured seemed to have done okay with their name. And not one of them changed it.

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