Virginian rap crooner DRAM returned last night with the release of his new, three-song EP, That’s A Girl’s Name. Produced and co-written by Josh Abraham and Oligee, the EP’s title refers to DRAM’S real name, Shelley Massenburg-Smith, which means “that’s a girl’s name” is probably a phrase he heard quite a bit growing up.
(“DRAM” is an acronym for “Does Real Ass Music.” DRAM’s goldendoodle also has an interesting name: Idnit [vid] — “as in, idnit so cute.”)
The Texas native also revealed that when he was born his father wasn’t there. Instead, he explained that James “called my mom and said, ‘Only thing I have to say is if it’s a boy, don’t name him Kelly.’”
From a New York Times article about the marriage of Sugar Good, a Dunkin’ Donuts manager, to one of her drive-through customers:
A year would go by before she gathered the courage to pass him her sprinkle-bedecked business card with his breakfast in September 2018. But when she did, it came as a relief to both. The man, John Thompson, a recently retired Marine working as a car salesman in Oklahoma City, had been wondering how he was going to figure out what her real name was.
“When I started going through the drive-through, I noticed she would smile with her eyes, and I thought, maybe if I read the receipt I can see what her name is,” he said. “But it said ‘Sugar No. 7.'” He figured Sugar must have been a reference to how he likes his coffee. With the card, which listed her cellphone number at the bottom, she cleared up the mystery — as well as her own case of the blues.
“As a culture, we are realizing that gender is no longer a fixed concept,” says Sam Cheow, senior vice president of corporate innovation and product development at the Estée Lauder Companies, which owns brands like M.A.C, Tom Ford Beauty, Le Labo, and Frédéric Malle . . . Cheow points to evidence that the needle is moving forward: the growing backlash surrounding gender-reveal parties; a rise in gender-neutral baby names (for example, in 2018, 51 percent of “Charlies” were female); and the arrival of Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant.
From a Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources blog post entitled “The Tiffany Problem“:
Wait, what? No way there’s a Tiffany in this book! Not when there are other women running around with convincing names like Blanchefleur, Isolde, and Ermentrude.
[T]he Tiffany Problem describes the tension between historical fact and the average, everyday person’s idea of history. So even though authors may research carefully and want to include historically accurate information in their book—like a medieval character named Tiffany—a popular audience likely won’t buy it.
I remember a guy named Bill. His view on trail names mirrored mine. He didn’t have one, didn’t want one. He was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, not seeking a new identity. As he walked the white-blazed path, he simply introduced himself as “Bill”.
The most-often stated reply to him was, “What’s your trail name?”
His standard answer, “I don’t have a trail name. My name is just Bill.”
I put an apostrophe in my name that wasn’t there before, like Smashing Pumpkins bassist D’Arcy Wretzky, because of how influential this band was to me. D’Arcy was just the epitome of cool to me. In 1993, I was really into alternative and grunge music, and whereas the Nirvanas and the Pearl Jams felt so masculine, there was something sweeter and lighter about Smashing Pumpkins. The fact that they had a girl in their band was huge for me and my friends. I learned the guitar part to “Today,” and it made me feel like such a badass. It was like, “Wow, I can play guitar!” But, of course, anybody can play the beginning of “Today.”
From the book My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope (2019) by Queer Eye co-star Karamo Brown:
“When we were preparing to shoot season 1, a curious crew member asked Tan why he didn’t go by his birth name. Tan replied, “Because when you google ‘Tanveer,’ only terrorists come up. It’s easier.” Now, I love Tan — and I know he is not ashamed of his Muslim or Pakastani heritage. […] I said, “Listen, you can be the one to change the public perception and image associated with your name. If our show is a success, when people google ‘Tanveer,’ they’ll see your positive image. It’s going to be someone who’s doing good in the world. Think of all the little boys who are feeling the same way you feel and how you can inspired them to have pride in their name.”
(Elsewhere in the book he talks about his own first and middle names, Karamo and Karega, which mean “educated” and “rebel” in Swahili.)
From a writer who regrets giving his son the middle name Flip:
In hindsight, I wish I’d given my son something a little more ordinary, that didn’t stand out quite so much. Or perhaps not given him a middle name. And sure, I could change it, but I doubt I will go that far. Maybe he will learn to love it. Maybe he will change it on his own someday. I don’t know.
For the most part, he doesn’t really notice his middle name and I’m grateful for that. But when it does come up, I do regret it.
A short item printed a century ago in a short-lived Chicago newspaper (The Day Book, 4 Feb., 1915, page 20):
The tango craze has reached another high notch, a new community in West Virginia being named Tango. Curiously enough there is not a resident who is familiar with the dance.
“My name tag at my job says Alexis. Kamiyah Mobley is on my paperwork. That’s who gets paid,” she said. “People that know me, call me Alexis. If you know me by Kamiyah – call me Kamiyah. I go by both.”
My daughter’s name is Meadow Brooke. I was raised in Merrick, right off of the Meadowbrook Parkway, and my husband loved ‘The Sopranos’ (Meadow was the Sopranos’ daughter in the series). So we named our daughter after the show and the parkway I’ve driven my entire life. Her name means so much to us and only people in New York would understand the meaning behind it.
(The Sopranos began airing in early 1999. Usage of the name Meadow more than doubled that year, then more than tripled the next year. By 2001 it was in the top 1,000, and it’s been there ever since.)
But like juice cleanses and shower sex, it turns out that naming a human might be more fun in theory than reality. Some people even get more into it after taking the pressure of parenthood out of the equation altogether. Seven years into her marriage, Amanda, 31, said she and her husband are “one hundred percent” sure they won’t have kids, but still chat about their top names. “It’s like online window shopping and then closing out all your tabs before you buy,” she quips.
So, who is Kairi? According to her parents, the 15-month-old loves to play hide and seek and build forts with blankets. She has a spunky attitude and vibrant facial expressions. And she was named after a character from the video game Kingdom Hearts.
(According to Gerber, Kairi’s mother Ying went by “Kairi” as a nickname during high school.)
Finally, two quotes about the name of the latest royal baby, Archie. The first is from CNN:
Archie is an approachable, nicknamey, old-school sort of name. Guys like Archie don’t usually live in a palace. Archie is the buddy you go bowling with.
The royals aren’t known for being wild. A crazy day at Buckingham Palace is when a corgi goes rogue and barks at a pigeon. So when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle name their first born Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, that’s the royal equivalent of doing a line of cocaine in church.
“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.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.
So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.
I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.
I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).
Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).
The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).