“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.
With a first name as iconic as Kobe Bryant’s, who needs a middle name with an interesting story? Well, Kobe Bryant does. His middle name — Bean — is a touching tribute to his father, Joe Bryant. Because of his high energy and ability to jump (guess Kobe must have inherited that particular skill), his father was nicknamed “Jellybean.” Luckily, Kobe’s parents didn’t go for the full candy-coated name and instead just dubbed him Kobe Bean Bryant.
The names for Beatrix Potter’s much-loved cast of animal characters may have come from ageing headstones.
Peter Rabbett, Jeremiah Fisher, Mr Nutkins, Mr Brock and Mr McGregor have all been found on stones at Brompton cemetery, west London, near where Miss Potter lived from 1863 to 1913. This seems to confirm local rumours that have circulated for years about the source of the names of her characters.
“Leisel was a very rare name when I was born in 1985… When I was born actually, my doctor said to my mum ‘you cannot call her Leisel because that’s not a name… You’re going to regret that one day,'” the Olympic swimmer said.
“And they absolutely did.”
The 32-year-old also went on to say having a unique name isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when no one can spell it right.
“The only problem with my name is it’s spelt L-E-I-S-E-L — and everyone spells it wrong. Everyone spells it as L-I-E-S-E-L,” she said.
“So that is a bit painful, it’s a bit annoying. But I do love my name and I love that it’s different.”
From the 2003 book Exploring Twins: Towards a Social Analysis of Twinship by Elizabeth A. Stewart:
“[I]n such cultures as those of the UK and the US the implication of twinship in the broader realities of social structure is clearly indicated by the link between the ‘naming’ process for twins and class differences: higher socio-economic groups tend to choose more separate, less ‘twinsy’ names for their children, emphasizing values of and possibilities for individuation and autonomy, whereas the greater tendency for lower-class groups to actively emphasize and encourage unitary ‘twinness’, whether through naming, dress or referencing (as in the ‘twins’ as a social and linguistic unit) may well reflect values of familial solidarity and fewer opportunities for individual social advancement.”
The grandmother of a new baby named after murdered schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer insists the name was meant as a tribute to the dead girl.
Tiahleigh’s furious mother Cyndi Uluave unleashed on a young couple whose baby was born last Friday, and named Tiahleigh, claiming it was disrespectful to use the name of her daughter who was killed in 2015.
‘Who names their baby after a dead girl? This wasn’t their name to use,’ she said.
The baby name Eydie debuted in the U.S. data in 1954:
1960: 27 baby girls named Eydie
1959: 37 baby girls named Eydie
1958: 50 baby girls named Eydie [peak]
1957: 23 baby girls named Eydie
1956: 11 baby girls named Eydie
1955: 10 baby girls named Eydie
1954: 5 baby girls named Eydie [debut]
Where did it come from?
Pop singer Eydie Gormé.
She was most famous during in the 1960s: her biggest hit was “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” (1963), and she won a Grammy for “If He Walked Into My Life” (1966).
But she first came to people’s attention when she started making regular TV appearances in 1953 on the The Tonight Show, originally hosted by Steve Allen. She often performed with her husband, Steve Lawrence.
Eydie was born Edith Garmezano in New York City in 1928. (Her husband’s birth name was Sidney Liebowitz.) Her family — parents Nessim and Fortune, siblings Robert and Corene — later shortened the surname to Gormé. She adopted the stage name Edie when she started singing, but was so frequently called “Eddie” that she decided to add a Y to emphasize the correct pronunciation (ee-dee).
The cause was the catchy song “Cindy, Oh Cindy,” two versions of which reached the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1956 and early 1957. The one by Vince Martin and The Tarriers peaked at 12th, while the one by Eddie Fisher* peaked at 10th. Television audiences also heard the song: Perry Como sang it on his own show in November 1956, and Vince Martin sang it on The Steve Allen Show a month later.
Getting back to Cindylou, though…there are some possible outside influences for the debut of Cindylou specifically. The most intriguing is Cindy-Lou Who (“who was no more than two”) from the beloved Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, which was published simultaneously in Redbook magazine and as a standalone book in December of 1957.
Now, Cindy-Lou was a minor character, and the story appeared late in the year — these are strikes against the theory. But, looking at vital records, there do seem to be a few extra people with the first-middle combo “Cindy Lou” born in December of 1957 as opposed to earlier in the year.
It’s likely that Dr. Seuss (or one of his editors) was influenced by the trendiness of the name Cindy that year…but did Cindy-Lou Who in turn give a bump to the name Cindylou? What are your thoughts on this?
*Later in 1957, Eddie Fisher’s wife, Debbie Reynolds, scored an even bigger hit with “Tammy.” Around the same time, their daughter, Carrie — who went on to play Princess Leia in Star Wars — had her first birthday.
P.S. The Buddy Holly song “Peggy Sue” (1957) was originally called “Cindy Lou,” incidentally.
To younger people, “Steve Austin” is the (stone cold) professional wrestler. Back in the ’70s, though, that name belonged to an iconic TV cyborg.
The main character of The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978) was former astronaut Col. Steve Austin, who acquired superhuman powers after being bionically rebuilt following a serious accident.
In an episode that aired early 1975, Steve’s goal was to track and capture the infamous “Taneha” — the last surviving member of a particular cougar species — before angry local ranchers could find him and kill him.
The same year, the baby name Taneha debuted in the U.S. baby name data:
1979: 6 baby girls named Taneha
1977: 5 baby girls named Taneha
1976: 7 baby girls named Taneha
1975: 24 baby girls named Taneha [debut]
Though the cougar was male, the name only ever charted for baby girls.
I’m not sure how the writers came up with “Taneha” for the fictional cat, but the Oklahoma town of Oakhurst was originally known as Taneha. It was built on land formerly owned by the Creek, and sources say the name was based on a Creek word meaning “oil is below.”