The Lost Letter P: Whatever happened to Peter, Patti, and Paul?
Just as names move in and out of fashion so do sounds and initial letters. In the 70s and 80s, J-names ruled, from Jennifer and Jason to Jessica and Joshua, and then came the Ms –Michael, Matthew, Melissa, Megan, the Bs—Brianna, Brittany, Brandon, the Ks—Kayla, Kimberly, Kelsey, and the still continuing As and Es—Ashley, Amanda, Ava, Emily Emma.
But what did they replace? If you want proof of how an initial can fall totally out of favor, all you have to do is look at the performance record of the letter P.
In the last year counted, you have to scroll the Social Security list all the way down to #60 to find a single name beginning with that letter—the girl’s name Peyton—and for boys it isn’t until #124 that you get to Preston. When P-names were in their prime, in 1950, you would have found nine names in the Top 60—Peter, Patrick, Philip, Paul, Peggy, Phyllis, Paula, Pamela and Patricia, none of which is found in the Top 100 today.
I’m not saying Phyllis is necessarily ready for her comeback (though those boys’ names could be), but there are certainly other P-names worthy of trying to resuscitate the reputation of that lost letter. Such as:
PALOMA – Paloma is one of the loveliest options, and among the best bets for success. Meaning ‘dove’ and thus symbolizing peace, it’s both gentle and dynamic. A similarly appealing Latin name is PALMA, namesake of the charming city on the island of Majorca.
PATSY – Saucy, spunky nickname name that hasn’t been heard for so long that it’s beginning to sounds fresh.
PEARL – Definitely regaining some of its old luster.
PERSIS –A distinctive New Testament choice for the intrepid baby namer.
PLUM – A tasty candidate for middle-name place.
PORTIA – An underused Shakespearean treasure.
PENN—Simple but solid.
PLACIDO – An Italian quasi-virtue name with operatice overtones.
PLATO – Interesting but possibly high-pressured name for a non-philosophical boy.