I’m not sure if this is a recent trend because I’m at the point in my life where a lot of my peers are having children, or if this has always been the case, but I’ve noticed that it’s become super cool to give your babies “unique” names–Viking princesses, Spanish noblemen, the Swahili word for “hope,” etc. It’s also super cool to give your kid a traditional name but spell it all weird, like Avary or Jaxon or Holleigh. It’s even more cool to give your kid the name of an inanimate object like Aqueduct or Chamomile or Zamboni.
And it makes me SO ANGRY. It makes a lot of other people angry too. I have frequent negative conversations with my co-workers and loved ones about the weird names we encounter.
But I’m not going to be a Trump and spend the remainder of this post bashing on parents who choose names like this. I’m going to use critical thinking to try to figure out why these non-traditional names bother me so much, because it doesn’t really make sense. After all, I certainly don’t adhere to tradition when it comes to anything else. In fact, I maintain the belief that traditions can often be silly or even dangerous. So why do all the Astrids and Jayssons and Xanthippes out there elicit such irrational rage inside me? There are at least three possibilities:
- Unusual names slightly inconvenience me. One thing for parents to seriously consider is that people your child encounters will have difficulty pronouncing and spelling their names. They might even be taken less seriously if their employers or professors hold certain biases. (There is probably data on this but I’m too lazy to look it up.) Ultimately, when Holleigh Martin comes in to my office and I search for “Holly Martin” a dozen times to try to find her student account, it’s annoying, but she won’t be denied admission because her dad was tripping on acid when he filled out her birth certificate.
- I’m getting old. I regularly use the phrase “kids these days.” I don’t know how to use Snapchat. My little brother had to teach me how to type in ALL CAPS ON MY IPHONE AND NOW I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TURN IT OFF. The idea of staying out past 10:00 intimidates me. I use a cane and I shake it at people when I catch them on my front lawn. Bottom line, maybe I just don’t know what’s cool anymore and I’m not as progressive as I think I am so my opinion is obsolete.
- It’s all relative. Other people will probably think my kids’ names are stupid too. Scott and I have already picked out our baby names because we’re lame like that. I used to share them with other people but have now stopped because I get bummed out by their reactions. If we have a girl, she’ll be Avery. (“Avery?! Like the envelope label company?”) If we have a boy, he’ll be Charles but will go by Chip. (“…Wow. Uh, have you thought about Charlie or Chuck instead?”) These are the same types of reactions I give to my peers who introduce me to their kids Reks and Brandee. People even give me a hard time for being Kathryn instead of Katherine or Catherine. (But I love being Kathryn with a Y!) So, as with everything, the best way to do things is your own way and ignore people like me who will complain about it.
And I sincerely hope Chip’s younger brother will enjoy living his life as Tyrion Lannister Rogers-Snow, ‘cuz that is totally happening.