“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
I cross-referenced the Social Security Administration’s annual baby name records with all 151 original pocket monsters back through 1995, the year the Pokémon franchise was created. Five species of Pokémon have proven to be appealing baby names for U.S. parents: Tangela, Abra, Paras, Onix, and Eevee.
But what made my name somewhat of a complication for me was the fact that “Vamsee” was somehow not too familiar outside Telugu circles. My earliest encounters with high society, and I suppose, its brand of quietly privileged narcissism, were basically about people asking me if that was even a real name.
…I also liked his conclusion:
We are going to leave our children and grandchildren with a marauded and overheated planet as it is. Let us leave them with names that evoke love, creativity and dignity at least.
About Pigcasso, a 450-pound painting pig in South Africa with a genius name:
She’s fat, friendly and fabulous! Meet Pigcasso – the fine swine who was rescued from the brink of extinction at a South African pig ‘farm’. From pork chop to hog heaven, she loves the sweet things in life: Eat. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. She also loves to paint – and that’s no hogwash! Pigcasso’s primary purpose? To paint a better picture for farm animals.
Titles of Pigcasso’s paintings include Grin, Vitality, Rockstar, and Brexit.
After selecting the design for the statuette that would reward excellence in the television industry, Academy members were faced with decision number two: What to name the symbol.
Academy founder Syd Cassyd suggested “Ike,” the nickname for the television iconoscope tube. But with a national war hero named Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, Academy members thought they needed a less well-known name. Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera. The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol.
[W]hile our baby-naming options are becoming ever more open, we’re closing the door on self-naming options. We’re treating our given names as, well, “givens.” They’re immutable objects, frozen in place as our parents imagined them before they ever met us. We don’t adapt them to fit different situations or life stages, or let friends bestow new names on us to reflect the experiences we accrue through our lives. We don’t reinvent our identities as my grandpa Isidore/Irving/Yitzhak did – or at least, not without a lot of soul-searching and ceremony.
Perhaps we could take some pressure off of ourselves in the naming process if we welcomed back a little of that old-time flexibility.
From an article about Hawaiian names in Maui Magazine by Kalehiaikealaikahiki “Lehia” Apana:
I’ve told the story of my name countless times: My mother was in Tahiti on a canoe-paddling trip and became very sick. Upon visiting a local doctor, she was shocked to learn that she was pregnant. Returning home, she asked Hōkūlani Holt, a Hawaiian cultural practitioner and close family friend, to name her baby. The name Aunty Hōkū gave me, Kalehiaikealaikahiki, translates as “the skillful fisherman on the pathway to Tahiti.”
In Hawaiian belief, one’s name is so important that many parents ask someone fluent in the language, with a deep understanding of the culture, to determine what their baby will be called. But not every child receives a Hawaiian name the way I did. For example, a name can appear through a vision or sign (inoa hō’ailona), or be given in memory of an event (inoa ho’omana’o). However it is chosen, one’s name is a prized possession, to be passed on only with the explicit permission of its owner.
Anyway, all we had to do to find out that [Barron] Hilton was engaged was go on Instagram, where Hilton’s intended, Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff, posted a picture announcing the news a few days ago. Should we talk about the fact that Barron Hilton is marrying someone named Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff or should we just figure that that’s the kind of name you marry when you’re a son of the hotel gods?
Plus there was this line: “Barron is to be a husband, and maybe someday a father to a baby named Earrl.”
Egyptian politician Gamal Abdel Nasser became one of the primary leaders of Egypt following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.* He was elected president of the country on June 23, 1956.
A little more than a month after the election, on July 26, Nasser nationalized the 120-mile Suez Canal. Up to that point, the canal had been controlled jointly by Britain and France. Nasser did this in response to the U.S. and Britain withdrawing their offers to help finance the construction of the Aswan Dam, which was part of Nasser’s plan to improve Egypt’s economy and thereby modernize the country.
In late October and early November, forces from Israel, France, and Great Britain invaded Egypt. But the aggression was opposed by much of the rest of the world, including both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and the three invading countries were pressured to withdraw from Egypt over the following weeks and months.
So, Gamal Nasser emerged victorious from the Suez Crisis. (It was now “clear that the old colonial powers, Great Britain and France, had been supplanted as the world’s preeminent geopolitical forces by the United States and Soviet Union.”) And in 1957, both Gamal and Nasser saw enough usage as baby names to debut on the U.S. baby name charts:
Usage of Gamal
Usage of Nasser
13 baby boys
6 baby boys
8 baby boys
7 baby boys
9 baby boys [debut]
7 baby boys [debut]
Many of these early Gamals and Nassers were born in New York and Illinois — likely New York City and Chicago specifically — and could therefore be babies born into Egyptian-American families.
Years ago I posted about Livonia, a baby both born on and named after a Pullman car. Recently I wondered: What other Pullman car names would have made good baby names?
So I downloaded a big spreadsheet of over 12,000 Pullman car names from The Pullman Project and was slightly surprised to see that thousands of them could have been baby names, if we allow for the splitting of compound car names (like Fort Miley, Glen Norman, Meredith College, and West Willow).
Here are a handful of examples. On the left are relatively common/familiar names, and on the right are some unexpected choices.
Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union for over a decade during the early Cold War (from 1953 to 1964).
Between the time the U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik in 1957 and sent Yuri Gagarin on the first manned space flight in 1961, Khrushchev became first Soviet head of state to visit the U.S.
Upon the invitation of president Dwight Eisenhower, Khrushchev and his family (wife Nina, son Sergei, daughters Julia and Rada, and son-in-law Alexei) flew to Washington, D.C., on September 15, 1959. They visited New York, California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania before flying back to Moscow on the 27th.
The baby name Nikita had appeared on the U.S. charts as a girl name before, but in 1959 it showed up for the very first time as a boy name.*
These days the usage of Nikita is about equal for males and females — 93 baby girls and 92 baby boys got the name in 2015. But there was a spike in female usage in 1985, thanks to the song “Nikita” by Elton John. (American radio listeners similarly interpreted Luka as a girl name a couple of years later.)
The name Nikita can be traced back to the ancient Greek word for “victor,” niketes, which is based on the more familiar word nike, meaning “victory.”
And eight years after the name Nikita debuted, another Russian arrival, Svetlana Stalina, showed up and added yet another Soviet-inspired baby name to the mix…