- SF Trend Watcher
You're right that a new round of "old ladies" is about to find the baby name fountain of youth. As a rule of thumb, it takes about four generations after a popularity peak before a name is ready to return. By that time, the name has passed beyond "old" into "antique."
Today's schoolyards are packed with girls' names from the late 1800s (like Grace and Amelia) through the 1910s (Ruby, Evelyn). The names of the 1920s and '30s, then, should be right around the corner. That's the generation of Dorothy, Shirley, Betty, Marjorie, Norma, Joan, and yes, Beverly and Nancy.
-- Emma, For Now
I'm glad you phrased your question the way you did. It's a simple, honest statement of a very common feeling.
Jeremy is kind of a stumper, isn’t it? When you see a long, traditional boy's name, you assume it will trim down neatly. Christopher becomes Chris, Benjamin goes by Ben, Nathaniel shortens to Nate, and so on.
But that’s not typically the case with Jeremy. In theory, the name does offer some nickname options. Jem is a potentially fashionable choice; Jerry is a natural but a bit out of style today; Remy is a possibility, though seldom heard. A Jeremy could also go by Jay, or add his middle initial and be called J.T. or J.D.
- Perhaps Hartley's mum
Many parents worry about a name being "too popular." You're smart to be worried about the reverse -- a mysterious lack of popularity. It's like a seeing a product advertised for a ridiculously low price. You figure there must be a catch.
Often, a name that other parents have passed on does have a hidden flaw. Maybe it's the name of a movie villain, or maybe it sounds like some rude slang term you're not familiar with, or maybe it just sounds unattractive to everybody else.
Following the girls we know named Madelyn, Brooklyn, and Ashlyn, we're really liking Gwendolyn. This has been met with mostly positive responses from our family and friends.
Inspired by Bella, Anabelle, Campbell, and many versions of Isabella, we're thinking about naming our other daughter Clarabelle. Our friends overwhelmingly don't like it.
I've been trying to figure out why a name that clearly fits in naming trends isn't a hit. The only 2 Clarabelles I can find are a cartoon cow from the '30s and a clown from the '50s. It's been more than 60 years since those characters were on TV--are they really strong enough to taint this name? If we use the name anyway, does she stand a chance at overcoming people's negative associations with the name?
I'm not surprised that you're puzzled. The fashion math doesn't seem to add up. If Clara is rising in popularity and names ending in "belle" and "bella" are red hot, why is the combo so much less than the sum of its parts?
The answer is that in the realm of style, illusion can be as powerful as reality. The -belle names have soared due to their antique charm. "Antique," though, turns out to be in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.
--Potential Parents of Peter
Grandma's got it both right and wrong. While it's true that the word "peter" was occasional used in the way she fears in the past, the slang is no longer current today. You could even say it has "petered out." After all, you've never heard that usage, which should be reassuring.
Peter is a classic name that might appeal to you because it's familiar, yet not common. It peaked back in the 1950s, and now sits comfortably in the 200 ranks in popularity. It's traditional, masculine, and solid. That's what people will hear when they hear the name.
- Junior Perplexed
This question only sounds complicated. The answer is actually quite simple: Yes, your third son will be a "junior" if you give him his father's exact name. Any son named after his father is considered a junior, regardless of the order in which he appeared in his family.
My LinkedIn page is full of recommendations for my alias that would give a boost to my job applications. How do I get out of this mess without looking like I was working fraudulently? My business and service was successful, but I am worried that in an interview they may get confused and not offer me the job due to this problem. Am I over-thinking this? Should I explain it to them? Should I legally change my name?
- Me/Other Me
Oh, what a tangled web we weave! Fortunately, it doesn't sound like you "practiced to deceive," with fraudulent intent. You served your customers honestly; you just wanted to put your best foot forward, namewise.
- Stuck for Boys' Names
Why does it seem like the world is full of girls' names that are traditional and attractive but uncommon, while boys' names of that description are rare birds?
In part, it's a matter of history. In generations past, boys' names didn't go in and out of fashion as much as girls' so there aren't as many neglected antique boys' names to revive. But I believe that the biggest factor isn't the names themselves, as much as our standards for them. We tend to ask something special of a "traditional, masculine" name. We ask it to be in English.
- Excited Auntie
Adopting a child is a beautiful act, but an emotionally complex one. Names, with their power to represent relationships, culture and identity, are a natural flashpoint in the process. In the best case, a name can be a positive symbol of transition (or continuity) for the child. In the worst, it can become a symbol of tension between her old and new worlds.