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The Name Game

Sunday, February 27, 2005
I read a baby name article in today's Toronto Star. The article pointed out that BabyNameWizard.com has declared "Ann" to be one of the girls' names that is headed for "fashion oblivion." The others are Carol, Janet, Joyce, and Nancy. (Of course, I couldn't help but notice that they didn't pick on the "Anne's" of the world. Was this an oversight or an attempt to spark division in the "Ann vs. Anne" ranks, much like what happened after the publication of Anne of Green Gables? You have to wonder.)

And as for the boy names that are deemed to be at the peak of uncoolness, I've got bad news for you if you're a Donald, Gene, Gerald, Glenn, or Ray. It's game over for you, too, buddy. But then again, not everyone thinks the name Ray is synonymous with nerdiness. And there certainly have been some very famous and successful Donalds, Genes, Geralds and Glenns. At a time when some people are naming their kids Fifi-Trixibelle (Bob Geldof/Paula Yates), Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin), and Dweezil (Frank Zappa), then what's so wrong with those slightly geekier but decidedly more normal names?

There can be a downside to picking a name made trendy by your favorite celebrity (although I suspect not too many people will be rushing out to call their sons Cruz, given all the heat Victoria -- the former Posh Spice -- and David Beckham have taken after giving that name to their son). If a name is too popular, to many other babies may end up with the same name. Consider this comment from Carole, a 34-year-old mother of two whom I interviewed for The Mother of All Baby Books (U.S. edition)/(Canadian edition): "We initially picked the name Caitlin, but by the time our daughter was born, the world was -- pardon the pun -- crawling with Caitlins!"

So now that you know that the name "Ann" has been declared out of vogue, you may decide that it's actually your best bet for a baby name. I've been test-driving the name for 41 years and it's worked well for me. It's easy to pronounce, easy to spell, it goes with pretty much any last-name, and it looks good on a business card. What more can you ask for from a name?

| posted by Ann D @ 12:53 PM