Name throw-down

Help the hubby and me settle a battle.

You see, as I mentioned in my last post, I like interesting names. Unique names. Nothing that you absolutely couldn’t guess by looking at spelling, but not names from the top 100. Names like Eliana or Karissa or Anya.

My hubby likes common names. Popular names. Names no one will ever have to tell someone how to pronounce. Names like Lucy or Michelle or Jennifer.

I feel like common names are boring, and it is a pain to have a bunch of people with your same name. No uniqueness to that front-and-center piece of identity.

He feels like unique names are asking for bullying and make you stand out too much in a bad way. He sees nothing wrong in sharing your name with others.

What do you guys think? Do you have a common name? Unique name? Did  you like being in that category? Did you hate having 27 other “Jen”s in your class? Did you hate having to tell every new person you met how to pronounce your name?

Give us more opinions!

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Name throw-down

  1. I like unique names. My name isn’t so much unique although I’ve never been a class with another. Although I tried to give my kids unique names, it doesn’t always work out that way. I went my whole life without meeting one but my son is one of three in his class. Who would’ve thought it It’s got to be what you like. I like your examples.

  2. Tiruba Tuba

    I have a unique name (not my pseudonym Tiruba – but right up there). EVERYONE asks how to pronounce it. Everyone messes up the spelling or wants to shorten it. Some people insist on calling me a name that is similar (to them) which is NOT my name. I have always hated it. I’m a quiet person and I don’t like attention and my name does nothing but bring me attention. Oh and it was fun for kids to twist it into other things because people would mispronounce it all the time. And really, there is no ambiguity in the spelling and how it should be pronounced but PEOPLE. People. Sigh.

  3. Everyone thinks my name is a boy’s name. Which I used to HATE. Even now when I get asked for ID I know it is not because they think I am too young, it is because they think I am using someone else’s credit card. Annoying. But, when telemarketers call and ask for “Mr. Corey Waters”, it is so convenient because I just say “he doesn’t live here any more.”

    When Jess was born, I wanted a girly name that she could buy her name on stickers, because I always wanted stickers with my name on them when I was a kid and couldn’t get them.

    • I agree, Corey, I’m not a fan of names that can go for either gender just because that’s one kind of confusion I wouldn’t want to deal with!

  4. Erica

    Preface- names fascinate me. I like thinking about them and talking about them. There is a lot of text here. Feel free to skip around.

    My name is the epitome of common. My whole name at that. We actually started a fb group of all the E.Y.’s out there. And there is a lot. Like A LOT a lot. It’s kinda scary. But I never minded my name. Maybe it’s because my name means eternal ruler in Norse or honorable ruler in Germanic which is awesome. Or maybe it’s because I was always very sure of myself and my place in the universe. Or maybe it’s because I usually had a nickname (but my most standard nickname isn’t exactly unique either). Or maybe it’s because I’m overbearing, over confident, out going and cocky and would therefore push all other Erica’s out of the way. ::shrugs:: Either way, I liked my name. It was… me.

    The only downside was that you COULD NOT get my attention in a crowd if I didn’t recognize your voice. Yelling out ERICA at the top of your lungs did absolutely nothing for me. My mom usually resorted to Elizabeth or Chiya (usually the latter which is pronounced with a I not ee- not Cheeya like those cheeya pet things) to get my attention which worked rather well.

    I never craved a unique name though. Don’t get me wrong. I like unique names. I just think names are more about the person instead of the name though. Out going people will make themselves unique whether or not their name is. Shy people don’t necessarily want that attention. Everyone wants to feel special but no one wants to be misinterpreted due to a lack of understanding about something as fundamental as their name. ::shrugs::

    Granted that doesn’t help with the whole baby naming thing but that’s just what I’ve noticed.

    And… I’m going to keep talking.

    Rob’s family had an interesting habit. Their mom deliberately chose names that could be broken down into 3 stages (baby, teenager, adult). So Rob has Robby, Rob, and Robert. And all of their kids are like that. So just make sure that you pick a name that you like the broken down version. Or maybe choose one that is different when broken down so that if the kid doesn’t like the super unique version they can stick with an inbetween.

    Ok. Shutting up now.

  5. Names. I’m fascinated by them. I’m an observer as to how *sometimes* a name seems to dictate a potential fate. (You name your kid Heaven, how you gonna be surprised when she ends up on the pole? Just sayin)

    I think consideration to the spelling of, initials of, and bastardized nicknames of, is paramount.

    However, and I’m talking to you husband, you can’t plan for every scenario, encourage a life driven by fear of the abnormal or protect from future little playground ass holes just by picking a ho-hum name.

    Unique is good. Special is good. Meaningful and thoughtful are good.

    And in closing husband, let me say…at this moment this is all in theory. When a human being is created, and it’s part you and part your wife AND part whoever they are going to become, honoring that spark of humanity with a meaningful name, is the least you can do.

    Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

  6. Paolo

    Interesting debate. I’ve got a very unusual name (only 4 on fb with my first and last combo) and I enjoy it for several reasons.

    1) Separates you from the heard. There are 2 Pauls where I work and they’re constantly fighting over who goes by their first, nicknames, confusion etc. My unusual name coupled with my outgoing personality helps make it easier to meet people and stick in their minds.

    2) It’s always a great story and a good ice breaker. My first and middle names come from my grandfathers so explaining that Italian tradition often opens up other conversation paths. This only works if the name carries some significance. While there’s nothing wrong with invented names or unusual spelling, it doesn’t have that icebreaker punch. My friend Kelley loathed the hassle of an extra “e” in her name for years.

    3) Finally, the hubby’s right in that you’ll get teased for it, but kids will tease you about anything. Apollo 13 came out when I was in 5th grade and that was my unwanted nickname for years. But that just gave me another story to tell.

    The only negative is correcting pronunciation, but I’ve just learned to let it roll off your back with a smile. Plus, it’s a great way to screen for telemarketers. In the end I agree with Erica: it’ll be your child’s personality and how you raise him/her that’ll determine the reaction to the name the most, not some ordering of a few letters.

    • Definitely agree. With all points. And I agree that changing a spelling for the sake of doing so is just annoying for everyone concerned. Multiple “normal” spellings are fine (e.g. Kathryn/Catherine are both OK in my book because they’re both traditional), but purposely making it spelled “wrong” (Catherin?) seems like nothing but a hassle.

      As for 3, also agree. I had a “weird” name, but it was never a cause for teasing. I was teased for my hairy arms. Mercilessly. But the name was never an issue. If someone wants to tease you they will always be able to come up with something.

      And agreed, it’s a great way to screen those who don’t know you, and it’s kind of fun when people try to pronounce it to wait and see what’s going to come out :-) And I am very shy, which makes it a great conversation starter for me, too. People will ask and it’s a safe topic to start chatting about!

      I never knew you were named for your grandfathers, that is very cool!

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