“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’m not sure exactly what criteria were used to create the rankings, but it looks like the top unisex names on this list were the top-1,000 names that “stuck around that 50-50 split” the longest from 1930 to 2012.
(In contrast, my unisex baby names page lists any name on the full list to fall within the 25-75 to 75-25 range, but only in the most recent year on record.)
The FlowingData post also mentions that, though the data is pretty noisy, there might be “a mild upward trend” over the years in the number of babies with a unisex name.
I usually talk about how to choose first names, but deciding when to use those first names is another important topic. Paula Span, a contributor to the New York Times blog The New Old Age, published a post today about health care professionals who address elderly patients by their first names. Here’s an excerpt:
Nurses, technicians, therapists: Everyone seems to find it perfectly appropriate — friendly, even — to refer to people in their 70s and 80s not as Miss, Mrs. or Mr., but as Sally, Frieda or Carl.
What’s wrong with that? As a hospital patient, “you’re suddenly in this strange environment in which you have no control,” [nurse Kris DeWeese] explained. “You’re practically naked, and people are coming in and out of your room, asking personal questions and examining you. And you already feel sick and worried.”
“To be addressed with extra respect, even if someone is asking you about your bowel movements, gives some recognition that you’re still the able, competent person you were before you came into the hospital,” Ms. DeWeese said.
The comments are very interesting as well. Definitely think about forwarding the post to anyone you know who works with the elderly (in any capacity).