“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.
“Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners is the official winner of the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament!
It beat “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco in the final round of voting.
The name Eileen has a complicated etymology. It’s an Anglicized form of the Irish name Eibhlín, which is a form of the Norman French name Aveline, which is a form of the Germanic name Avelina, which is ultimately based on either the Germanic root avi, which might mean “desired, wished for,” or the Germanic root aval, which means “strength.”
The related name Evelyn is the 20th most popular baby girl name in the country right now, but not-as-stylish Eileen is down in 748th place. Eileen was most popular in the U.S. during the 1940s, peaking at 70th in 1945.
And how about the band — where did they get the name Dexys Midnight Runners? “Dexys” (no apostrophe) comes from the club drug Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate) and “Midnight Runners” refers to the extra energy the stimulant gives users.
Thanks for playing along, everyone! I threw the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament together last-minute, so there wasn’t much time to research songs. I ended up overlooking a few good ones, such as:
“All for Leyna” (1980) by Billy Joel
“Romeo and Juliet” (1980) by Dire Straits
“Luanne” (1981) by Foreigner
“Baby Jane” (1983) by Rod Stewart
“Jane Says” (1987) by Jane’s Addiction
“Sweet Jane” (1988) by Cowboy Junkies (Velvet Underground cover)
Do you think any of these would have had a chance against “Come on Eileen”?
Finally, if I hold another name-related tournament next March, should it be songs again? If so, songs from what decade? If not, what would you like the theme to be?