We’re constantly hearing about the latest celebrity abominations of baby names. From naming their child after fruit, to naming it a color, or to naming a girl a boy’s name, there are some kids out there that are in for an embarrassing adulthood. Let’s set aside the issue of good versus bad when it comes to names and consider instead that some names just don’t age well. They might be perfect for your adorable little girl or your bouncing baby boy…but not so much a professional grown man or woman.

The real problem I think is in the phrase “baby name.” When that fetus first pops out, sure it’s a baby name you’re picking, but it’s not going to be a baby forever. It’ll grow up to be someone’s wife or husband, someone’s boss, or someone’s grandparent. You’re picking a name for life. With great power comes great responsibility.

It’s like when you name your sprightly puppy Sparky—someday Sparky will be advanced in dog years, and his name will be a lasting mockery of those long-gone days of his puppyhood. The same applies to human beings. I think people choosing some of these popular fad names haven’t fully considered their longevity.

Can you imagine your father’s name being Jayden? Or your grandfather? Or pretty much any family member other than a creepy drug-addicted uncle? This is one of those names that’s perfect for cooing purposes, “Awww, look at wittle Jayden!” Unfortunately, someday wittle Jayden will show up with a sawed-off shotgun to work, because literally no one will take him seriously.

Imagine if your name was Brooklyn or Madison and you’re sending out your wedding invitations. Your guests may easily get confused and think you’re having a destination wedding in New York or Wisconsin… because your name is a location.

Picture being 80 years old with this name. You’ll be sitting in the nursing home in your rocking chair with all the Avas and Emmas talking about how your name is “heaven” spelled backwards. …And how your parents actually thought that was a brilliant idea.

When boys with these nicknames-for-names grow up, they’re faced with the existential dilemma of why their parents didn’t just name them Charles, William or Robert. Not every grown man wants to be Billy forever. Just give them the full, proper name so they don’t grow up with a Peter Pan complex.

In considering future baby names for my own progeny, I imagine them calling into a customer service hotline.

“Sir, could I have your name?”


“No sir, your first name?”

“…That is my first name.”

When you name your son Jackson or Harrison, or any other former-president last name, you’re dooming him to this mistake for his entire life. Is that what you really want for your son?

Now that I’m an adult, I realize I hit the name jackpot. Sure I’m Katie now, but should I decide to be one of those elegant older ladies, I could easily switch to the full Katherine. If you’ve been so lucky as to being given a classic, timeless name, stop what you’re doing, call up your parents, and thank them. Not many munchkins being born these days will get to enjoy the same luxury. I think I feel a new cause coming on…

8 thoughts on “Name Awareness

  1. Funny! I can’t stand trendy, cornball names. Professional mommies do this kind of crap to kids, and they are exactly as how you described — they operate under the delusion that the kid is always going to be a kid. It would be cool though to have Grandpa Jayden show up to the family picnic with his full-sleeve tattoos – Yeauh!

  2. I (no joke) met a woman named Bunny once. BUNNY! Super cute for a toddler, perhaps, but not for an adult woman who would expect to be taken seriously. Haha!

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