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Too Cool? Not Cool Enough? Finding the Baby Name Sweet Spot

November 24, 2008 Pamela Redmond

We made waves recently by writing a piece for The Daily Beast about Hipster Names.  Almost universally, the cry went up: Oh no! I’ve given my baby a hipster name!  “I have a one-year-old named Matilda,” one mom wrote.  “I hate you.”

Ooops, sorry.  We love the name Matilda.  Really!  We’re just a little confused about why hipster has become such a dirty word.

Or not.  I mean, we do get it, in a way.  There’s something sneering, something dismissive about branding someone or something “hipster.”  It connotes the feeling that someone (or something) is trying too hard to be cool, which of course is the definition of uncool.

On the other hand, what are you supposed to do: be deliberately uncool?  Call your kid Jennifer, or Jean, or something that thumbs its nose at the entire planet of style?

Would not caring about style lead you to transcendentally cool names?  Or thoroughly uncool ones?

Insert deep sigh here.

The real question on many parents’ minds: How do you choose a name that’s genuinely stylish and interesting but that’s neither too hipsterish or too uncool?

Let’s play (and for you Message Board fans, this would make a great Name Game):

Hipster: OSCAR

Uncool: ORIN

Sweet: OZIAS, O’BRIEN, OMAR?

——————————————

Too cool: EVA

Uncool: EILEEN

Sweet: ESTELLE, EMER, EUDORA?

—————————————–

Hipster: ATTICUS

Uncool: JULIUS

Sweet: CAIUS, HORATIO, TARQUIN?

—————————————–

Hipster: JUNE, AUGUST

Uncool: APRIL

Sweet: MAY, MONDAY, EASTER?

—————————————–

Too cool: LENNON

Uncool: STARR

Sweet: GEORGE, PAUL, ROCK?

—————————————–

When it comes to calling the sweet spot, we’re not always that sure of ourselves either — or in agreement.  (After I posted this, Linda emailed me, Estelle?  Really???) We’d love to hear your ideas on which names hit the sweet spot, and why.

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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