What’s in a Name?


Would a rose still smell as sweet? I’m not sure anymore.

At the moment I am poring over baby name books and family histories, trying to conclude with certainty, the most fabulous name for our unborn child.

Does the name you choose predestine your child in any way to have certain qualities or traits?

For example, the other day we were rocking out to the radio in the car when I asked, “Who sings this song?”

“Taio Cruz,” answered Paul. His name was new to my un-with-it ears. I thought for a moment and then observed,

“Ya, if my name were Taio Cruz, I probably would’ve become a famous rock star too.”

I know it’s a stage name, but let’s face it, all names carry a certain cachet. Would “Norma Jean” have been the same sensual sensation if she had stayed with that original homegrown name? Would we all still be swooning 50 years later over Cary Grant if he had stuck with what was on his birth certificate: “Archibald Leach”?

Take my own name. If my photo weren’t plastered to the side of my blog, you could easily conclude that I am old enough to be collecting social security.

My children seem to fit their names, or their names fit them. Andy is just as friendly and imaginative as the kid in Toy Story. Kate is, indeed, the screen writer’s short-hand for a sophisticated, sassy woman. Luke is as cool as the young Paul Newman (before his salad dressing days.) And Dean has an old-fashion 1950’s appeal that makes me want to dress him in nothing but white t-shirts and blue jeans. Would they still be these same fabulous people I’ve come to know and love if they had different names on their ID tags?

I once met a kid named “Blaze” (no joke) who was indeed a bit of a show-off. I can’t help but think his parents were partly to blame for the little self-fulfilling prophecy they made there in the delivery room. Can you turn out a demure Mother Teresa type if you name your baby girl “Jezabel”?

And a name lasts forever. (Unless, of course, you’re Archibald Leach or Norma Jean.) But barring any unforeseen trips to the county court house for name changes, it will be their calling card for life. It must be fabulous, yet restrained. Elegant, but not snooty. Easy to spell, but not on the top ten list.

The first, middle and last names need to have “a ring to it.” Easy on the ears, soft on the tongue, and look fabulous in cursive.

Judging by the papers littering my desk, you’d think I was a pre-teen in love, what with all the cursive names doodled abundantly in the margins.


8 responses »

  1. i’ve started to think names are self-fulfilling prophecies for sure. my kids all act like exactly what their names mean. my advice? look for something that means “good sleeper”.

  2. I’m right there with you. I’m due with number 6 at the end of the month and am looking for names as well. I never even thought of how the names look in cursive though. Great, now another thing to take into consideration. 🙂
    And I LOVE Pam’s advice. Lol.

  3. Have you seen Freakonomics yet? They talk about this very issue! They point out a girl who named her baby after the Cosby show character Tempest Bledsoe but misspelled the name and the baby was named Temptress. (We still have yet to name this child as well….. )

  4. Are you having a boy or girl?

    I just had to comment on your email subscription box.. it made me laugh… you wrote “lasted.”

    are you trying to say “blasted”
    or “latest”? 🙂

  5. We had such a hard time with the last name we came up with. In fact, we had to change it once we got home because it wasn’t just “right”. It’s so difficult to find just the right one that BOTH parents can agree on. Do read Freakanomics. Very strong arguments on why you should or shouldn’t use certain names. We are boring at our house. Very traditional names that the kids won’t get teased about. Timeless, strong, and something that would look great on the top of a resume or in a family history a hundred years from now etc. We came up with James Edward and he goes by Teddy.

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