So, the latest “Ha-ha! Stupid parents!” meme that’s floating around the Internet is this delightful list (by Amy Goldwasser) of children’s names in the most recent Crewcuts catalog. There’s a Quincy and an Ava in there, and Walker and Scout, and Isabela and Finn, and Roman and Bella and Stella and Helena and Georges. Plenty to snarkily giggle at, right? What fucking idiotic, pretentious parents those kids must have! That’s what everyone thinks.
And that’s what I thought the other day, at Carroll Park, when I heard a mom call out her kids’ names: “Giacomo! D’Orsay!”
Sheesh, I thought. Come on. Puh-leeze! I mean, Giacomo?
Then I heard the mom start speaking to her friend—in fluent Italian. Okay, fine. You’re Italian, you get to call your kid Giacomo. And if you’re Slavic, you’re entitled to an Ekaterina. (D’Orsay, though, what’s up with that?)
My point, minor as it may be, is that maybe the catalog’s Georges is, you know, French. Or that Isabela is Spanish. And need I point out that Aiden—whose name appears near the bottom of the list—has been one of the top 20 most popular baby names the last three years, and that Jayden (not in Crewcuts) was number 8 in 2010. In fact, in my daughter Sasha’s preschool there are at least two Aidens, not to mention a Hayden.
And wait, Sasha? Her name does not appear at all on the 2010 list of top 200 baby names—but is that a good thing? Sure, she doesn’t have the same name as everyone else, but is her name therefore special and rare and deserving of mockery?
The thing is, every name can be easily mocked. The anti-child people have a habit of mocking children (and therefore their parents) by saying things like “Aw, precious little ______.”
- “Aw, precious little Giacomo.”
- “Aw, precious little Sasha.”
- “Their precious little Antonios and Isabelas.”
The brilliance (and retardedness) of this is that it works for any name: precious little Michael, precious little Barbara, precious little Sarah. In other words, that kind of insult doesn’t mean a damn thing.
Which brings me to Better Names (for baby), a magnificent book-length list of improved monikers for infants, by the not terribly inventively named Charles Vestal and Matt Sorrell. As they write in the (downloadable) book’s introduction:
Choose a unique incantation to usher him into this life. Failure in the beginning is not an option. Standing out from the crowd is the best chance your child has in this world. Names’ popularities wane and wax–a longer last than any fame or praise is that of obscurity and shame.
Which is as good a reason as any to pick one of the names off Vestal and Sorrel’s list: Akerp, Anfarloin, Brj, Franosera, Glosh, Orjan, Panolia, Taffne, Esssss… At least they’re better than D’Orsay.