A few months ago, UK parenting site Netmums polled more than 6,000 parents. One interesting thing they discovered was that 5% of those parents had reconsidered using a baby name they liked because it had been “stolen” by someone else.
That stat got me wondering: When did this whole “name stealing” thing, well, become a thing?
I thought pop culture might provide some insight, so I set out to find the earliest pop culture mention of baby name stealing that I could. This wouldn’t necessarily answer my question, but it would at least give me a feel for when the concept started going mainstream.
The earliest pop culture reference I’ve found so far? A Sex and the City episode called “The Baby Shower,” which first aired in August of 1998.
The show’s four main characters (Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda) are at a baby shower for a woman named Laney, a childhood friend. At one point, Charlotte learns that Laney has “stolen” her secret baby name. Here’s the dialogue:
Charlotte: Stop it! You are not gonna clean up at your own shower.
Woman: Yeah, relax, cause once little Todd or Shayla comes around you’ll never stop cleaning up.
Charlotte: Shayla? Did you say Shayla?
Woman: It’s so unique, isn’t it?
Charlotte: It’s so my name.
Woman: I thought your name was Charlotte.
Charlotte: No, it’s not my name, it’s my name! My secret baby name that I made up when I was 11 years old for my daughter when I had her. I told you, don’t tell me you don’t remember.
Laney: No, I’m sorry, I- I really don’t.
Narrator/Carrie: A complete lie. She remembered. We all remembered. Charlotte had made us all swear never to use it.
Laney: Anyway, I think my husband heard it somewhere else.
Charlotte: Really, where? Because I didn’t tell him.
Laney: I can’t believe you’re freaking out over a name.
Woman: I mean, you’re not even pregnant.
Charlotte: That’s not the point!
Samantha: What’s going on?
Charlotte: She stole my baby name.
Samantha: You b*tch. Let’s go.
Here’s a clip of the scene, if you’d like to watch.
So mid-1998 is the earliest I’ve got so far. Can you think of any earlier pop culture mentions of baby name stealing?