Thursday, November 14, 2013

Real Life: Naming People is Difficult

First of all, I realize that naming children is one topic on which everyone and their cousin has an opinion.  You can't help what you like, and neither can I, so please know that it's not my intention to insult anyone with the following remarks.  If you tend to get worked up about such matters, you may want to come back tomorrow. 

 I just like this picture. (source unknown)

Ok, disclaimer aside, I want to talk names.  This is one of the biggest decisions that I will ever make on behalf of another person and it is weighing heavily on my mind.  I have an ever-evolving list on my phone, and I am married to someone with equally strong opinions, so this decision is probably going to be quite an ordeal.

While I've perused long lists of little boy names, I also love hearing suggestions from other people.  That's where you come in!  Below is a list of my boy name criteria, some serious and some silly, and I'd love to know your opinions. 

Official Naming Criteria and Preferences:

  •  While I don't want a top 10 choice, I'm not hung up on my kid being the only one in school with his name.  Statistically, the top 10% of names represent a smaller percentage of the babies in that birth year than ever before, and it's more important to me to consider regional and demographic trends.  For example, college-educated parents born in the early 80s in Texas seem to be naming their babies Ella (I know of four), Cooper (I know five), Nathan, Sophia, and Andrew.  However, sharing a first name with a kid in your class is not a death sentence and people still know who you are, and all the Amandas in my school grew up to be normal adults.
  • I don't want my son to have to spell out his name all the time.  I've noticed that many of the people who set their child up for this have common names and didn't have to.  Most people don't know which way I spell my name, and I don't wish it on my son.  This means the name shouldn't be obscure, or have multiple common spellings.
  • Unique spelling does not equal a unique name.  Even if my son was known as "Jaykob with a Y" his name would still sound common if I yelled it in a crowd.
  • I don't want other people to automatically shorten the name.  For example, if my son was named Joshua or Benjamin, I would not want people to assume he goes by Josh or Ben unless that's actually his preference.
  • I don't like superfluous use of the letter Y.  See item 3 above, but it is my top naming pet peeve.  
  • I want the name to sound respectable enough for a CEO. Although I'm sure attitudes will evolve, it's harder to envision a man named Kincayde or Braxley addressing the board of directors.
  • I don't care for made-up names that sound like last names. This is a weird personal preference, but to me these names register as sounds that might be a maiden name.  Ex:  Braxley, Brinston, Bronley, Brythan, etc.
  • Also no common names that are often last names.  My last name is a common male first name, and my first name is sometimes a last name.  They get switched around far more than I ever expected.  For example, people will assume that Sawyer Dylan is actually named Dylan Sawyer.
  • No nouns. Did you know that there are over 10,000 little boys under age 10 named Kale?
  • Since my last name ends in -on, I want the name to end in a different syllable.
  • The name should sound somewhat the same when pronounced with a thick southern accent.
I think that's it.  Easy, right? 

Now, please tell me what you think or what criteria you used to name your little one!


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