Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What Not To Name Your Kids

I'm getting to that age where my friends are beginning to breed en masse. Fortunately, I like children. I'm happy to babysit, change nappies, visit hospitals with armfuls of flowers, and to smile and nod at the interminable explanations of feeding patterns, sleepless nights and developmental milestones. In fact, the only thing that makes me want to scream and tear my hair out is what my friends are naming their children.

Ridiculous child-naming practices are de rigueur nowadays, apparently in every social sphere from billionaire celebrities to dole-queuing teenage mothers.
Below, I've attempted to list some of the most egregious trends in child nomenclature.

1- The Boy's Name For Girls
Step 1: Find a boy's name that you like, such as James, William, or Charles.
Step 2: Give birth to a girl instead.
Step 3: Call her Jamie, Billie or Charlie and congratulate yourself upon your individuality.

2 - The Surname
Hands up who has recently met a child named "Mackenzie"? What about "Taylor"? If I had ten hands, they would all be up. In celebrity-land, Brooke Shields and Nicole Ritchie have jumped on this bandwagon as well, naming their daughters (respectively) Grier and Harlow.

3- The Name You Spell Yourself
Tay-lah, Tayla, Tailagh, Taylhar... oh, excuse me but I think your bourgeois pretensions might be showing...

4 - The Mis-spelled Foreign Name
A girl I know named her daughter "Channelle". Yes, that's right. Like Chanel, but with some extra letters thrown in so that the child can feel individual despite her obvious namesake. (In fact - this one breaks the surname rule as well - but I guess it's preferable to calling a child Coco. Are you reading this, Courtney Cox and David Arquette?). Another friend of mine, apparently shying away from all the boring normality implied by Chantelle introduced me to her daughter Shontel. I weep for the future.

5 - The Name You Invent Yourself
Mnemonics are bad enough (think "Taome" - The Apple Of My Eye), but the worst of the worst must be the laughable attempt of those bastions of elegance and understatement, Peter Andre and Katie Price (AKA Jordan) to create a name for their daughter. Princess Tiaamii, the poor brat's name, is a merging of the names of Andre's mother (Thea) and Price's mother (Amy), with "Princess" whacked in front for good measure. In the words of Price herself; "we added some extra letters to make it unique, and some accents to make it look interesting". A class act all the way.
Apologies - My computer does not seem to have the functional capacity to include the various accents over vowels in Tiaamii.

6 - The Common Noun
Apart from the names of flowers and jewels, common nouns as names are, thank goodness, largely restricted to celebrities (who could forget baby Apple Martin?). However, we will know that common nouns-as-names have crossed over to the common domain when we eventually meet a child named Wingnut or Ashtray.

7 - The Celebrity Tribute Name
Apart from the aforementioned Harlow, dishonourable mentions go to Geri Halliwell for naming her daughter Bluebell Madonna (extra demerit points for Bluebell), and to the US couple who couldn't get a birthday cake inscribed to their son Adolf Hitler Campbell.

8 - The Celebrity-Offspring Tribute Name
Until Lleyton and Bec Hewitt named their daughter Mia, it wasn't a name you heard very often. Now it's in the top 5 most popular baby names in Australia, and overused to the point of sticking in your throat. Ditto Bindi (Irwin). Ditto Matilda (Ledger). But not, strangely enough, Sunday Rose...

9 - The Reminiscent-of-Conception Name
Whenever my friend Airlie tells someone her name, it's as likely as not that they will make the same joke I did; "What, were you conceived at Airlie Beach?". The answer is yes. The New Zealand registry of Births revealed that in recent years, it has barred parents from naming their newborns such epithets as "Midnight Chardonnay" and "Number 16 Bus Shelter". Please. We don't need to know the details of the conception. The baby's enough proof that you had sex. Ok?

10 - The Joke Name
Those New Zealanders are at it again! A few months ago, a judge allowed 13-year old Tallulah Does The Hula From Hawaii (last name suppressed) to change her given name, ruling that her parents were irresponsible to give it to her in the first place. In France, a court refused to allow Mr and Mrs DeFrance to name their daughter Marie-Antoinette Reine, which would have rendered her (in English) "Marie Antoinette, Queen of France".
I've been assured that Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz's baby, Bronx Mowgli, is not a joke. However, I remain to be convinced.

Anything to add to the list? Anything you would remove?
What's the worst name you've heard someone give a child?


  1. What about when people take a language they dont speak and give their kid a name from that? (E.G. Angelina Jolie and Shiloh. And Pax).

    1. Okay but certainly one can understand the significance of giving an adopted child a name that stems from their roots? She has always made a point of wanting her children to know and appreciate where they come from.

      But normal parents naming their child something from a completely different language that has no relation to their own is a bit weird, I'll agree.

    2. The origin of the name is the least of my objections to calling the poor child Shiloh Pitt. The spoonerism is far worse. What were they thinking?

  2. i heard of a dude Pete Zapasta.
    i knew a kid called Wang King.
    and i shit you no... a girl was going out with my mate in highschool - her name was tess deckle.
    Life is Cruel!

  3. Someone I knew SWORE that he knew a Thai girl called Phuc Mi Bich. I'm unsure as to whether I believe him...

  4. Excuse me - make that Vietnamese. And now that I think of it, I did know of some kids in a nearby highschool whose last name was Nuss, and whose respective initials were A and P...

  5. Kath & Kim got it right...what was the name of that baby again??

  6. oh oh oh i know more.
    India! they have all sort of names like for a girl = dikshitta.
    boy = Jesus. sacrilegious. not like Mohammad, thats cool. but if you even think about drawing him ill chop off your dick!

  7. 'Meaghan' from The Biggest Loser!

  8. In India they give names like Ramya , what if Ramya get married to someone like John Dickinson.
    Get in there and Ramya Dickinson . Also Ramandeep is quite common... and there was a guy I knew named Paul Nys , what if you use initials P Nys (Pen1s)

  9. Ooo or "china". Are you naming her after the country it your grandmother's precious china tableware?? Or Emily. For some reason the name has become so popular it's just another "Mary" or "Jane" or "bob" or "joe". I actually do know someone named bob. Poor him..

  10. Here in Brazil there was a case that bacame famous in the naming area when a judge allowed a men to change his name from Um Dois Três Da Silva Quatro (english:One Two Three Da Silva Four) to José.

  11. Rose Bush (by marriage) chose to call her daughter Holly. I have also known a Richard Ian King (which, on the register was written as King Richard I), a Mary Christmas and, I kid you not, Ophelia Dick.