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To be surprised that pretty much everyone I know has given their child a ‘wacky’ name?

(199 Posts)
custarddonut Fri 12-Jul-19 14:21:59

I’m reluctant to give specific examples as it would be potentially outing but by way of comparison I mean that none of my friends’ kids have names that were fairly standard when I was growing up in the 80s. E.g. Rachel / Sarah / Lucy / Daniel / Matthew / John / David etc.

I appreciate that names go in and out of fashion, and I understand (to a degree) that parents perhaps want their kids to stand out (or at least not have what are perceived as ‘boring’ or totally run-of-the-mill names, but more often than not the names in use now (in my circles at least) are, in my opinion, pretentious at best and verging on the ridiculous at worst! Worst-case is where they are sort of just random words, rather than actual names, e.g. ‘snowy’. Or names like the Geldof children e.g. ‘Pixie’ etc. Then you get names which are like old age pensioner names but not necessarily the trendy ones …they seem so dreary to me! (e.g. Phylis) OR names which to me sound really American (and names that you’d need to be quite cool to pull off, or a bit more grown up – they don’t seem to suit kids IMO) e.g. Harrison / Grayson etc. When I think of it, not a single friend of mine has given their kid what I would consider to be a ‘normal’ name.. and this is of a circle of say, 25 kids.

AIBU to feel a bit disappointed about this? I know, each to their own, live and let live, but to me it seems a bit of a shame that ‘normal’ names seem so unfashionable these days…OR, if I were to call my child something like ‘Anna’, would I be setting them up for standing out (in the wrong way) when they go to school? Will the inverse happen and names like ‘John’ become the weird names?!?

PapayaCoconut Fri 12-Jul-19 14:25:31

You do realise that everyone who named their kid Alfie or Wilfred in 2010 thought they were doing something edgy, right? Tastes change and trends develop.

Pinktinker Fri 12-Jul-19 14:26:59

What is a ‘normal’ name to you by today’s standards then? The top ten names like Harry and Olivia? Should every single person only name their children those names or maybe we should move to a system like Scandinavian countries where parents have to choose from a pre-approved list?

I agree with you to an extent re ridiculous made up names which literally are just random words. Plenty of names I dislike too but I’m unsure what constitutes as a ‘normal name’. I think Phylis is a normal name fwiw.

DannyWallace Fri 12-Jul-19 14:28:59


Names go in and out of fashion.
You want names that were popular when you were young, but not ones that seem "too old".

EssentialHummus Fri 12-Jul-19 14:32:26

Some of this is just personal taste colliding with trends/fashion. You learn as a new parent to say “Ah, lovely” when you meet little <odd name>.

custarddonut Fri 12-Jul-19 14:34:35

Well this is kind of the question, what is a 'normal' name these days anyway? To me, it seems like wacky is the new normal. As I said in my original post, each to their own, but for me, they seem try-hard and pretentious. But I wonder if by calling a kid born in 2019 something like 'john', would one seem equally try-hard and pretentious? I just don't know anymore! And of course I am not advocating that people choose from a pre-approved list of names, don't be silly. I love that we live in a country where people can do what they want, I just won't be using what I perceive to be a 'wacky' name. I also think a lot of names that i hear these days don't strike me as though they'd look great on a CV but I realise that's not the be-all-and-end all.

Glitterblue Fri 12-Jul-19 14:34:38

My daughter born in 2010 has a classic name. There was an Anna born at the same time in the hospital, a Rebecca and a James but I do know what you mean, so many of the children in her school have the kind of names you're talking about, or odd spellings. There's someone with a name similar to Ronnie spelt Ronnee and there's another e ending name with 2 e's, for example Sophiee but a different name, if that makes sense!

I'd go with a name you love, personally I like names that stand the test of time, names where you don't read the name and think "you were born in 2019"!

custarddonut Fri 12-Jul-19 14:35:36

And yes, I'd never say anything but 'ah, lovely name' when a friend announces their child's name (this makes me a hypocrite I know, but I always seek to be polite)

Purpletigers Fri 12-Jul-19 14:36:36

There’s a super chapter about names and the cycles they go through in Freakonomics .
Anna is a lovely name btw.

Barbarafromblackpool Fri 12-Jul-19 14:37:10

Those 'normal' names you mentioned are synonymous with the 70s and 80s. Go back a bit and there would be a different set of 'normal' names.

TeenTimesTwo Fri 12-Jul-19 14:39:52

It's just fashions.

I think of Ivy and Alfie and Bertie etc as 'old people's names'
Patricia is my parent's generation.
John and David and Keith and Susan are my generation.

But youngsters now don't know the Ivy and Alfies so they are back in. The John and David and Keith are 'grandparent' names.

LadyTiredWinterBottom2 Fri 12-Jul-19 14:39:53

I am sure there was a time when someone first called their baby Rose, and everyone who had biblical names turned and stared.

I don't think it matters to us; it might matter to the child, if they have a ridiculous name they have to spell and/or pronounce for people all the time.

custarddonut Fri 12-Jul-19 14:41:34

Ooh that would be very interesting to read the freakonomics chapter on name cycles! Thanks - will have a look. And yes, aware that these things go in cycles, but some names (in my view) remain 'classic' and kind of more straightforward, I guess. But ultimately you have to go with what you love personally... I guess what I'm driving at though is my surprise when friends who are, I think, unpretentious in every way, then give their kids names like 'boo boo' - it just jars but perhaps I shouldn't find it shocking anymore (and I know that I shouldn't be judgemental here but I can't help myself)

Purpletigers Fri 12-Jul-19 14:42:28

My childrens’ names have probably been in the top 100 for the last 100 years . I went for names which won’t date and don’t place them in any particular class.
I can’t in all honesty say “ lovely name “ if I don’t like it. I will comment on the cute baby instead .

juneybean Fri 12-Jul-19 14:44:13

Isn't pixie in her 20s, so hardly these days?

Unfortunately names do go in and out of fashion and unfortunately Rachel isn't in fashion at the moment.

MyOpinionIsValid Fri 12-Jul-19 14:45:42

You mean celebrity style names -

Poppy Honey Rose
Petal Blossom Rainbow
Daisy Boo Pamela
River Rocket Blue
Buddy Bear Maurice


or similar outlandish names ?

Catinthetwat Fri 12-Jul-19 14:46:24

My friends called their baby Richard. A very normal name for our generation, but definitely odd now. He will stand out for that name, as it bucks the trend.

Alfred, Wilfred, Ella, Audrey... All totally normal now.

It happens every single generation.

I should think people raised eyebrows when our grandparents generation started naming their children Barbara and Susan.

Alsohuman Fri 12-Jul-19 14:48:46

If they were using current pensioners’ names they’d be Linda, Susan, Karen, Shirley, Stephen, Robert, Michael, Graham, etc. The old fashioned currently in vogue date back to the late 19th/early 20th century. I like them personally.

I imagine a lot of kids with off the wall names will do what Zowie Bowie aka Duncan Jones did.

corythatwas Fri 12-Jul-19 14:49:52

But I wonder if by calling a kid born in 2019 something like 'john', would one seem equally try-hard and pretentious?

In a word, yes. What others have said about cycles. The young people naming children now won't find John an ordinary, everyday name, and their children as they grow up certainly won't. The names you associate with pensioners are probably the ones due for a comeback; the ones that seem normal to you are the ones that will remain "pensioners' names" for a little longer. This is the time of the Alfies. I expect Fiona and Deborah seemed quite daring when they were presented to your grandmother's generation and they'd certainly seem out of synch now. But give them another 20-30 years and they'll be fine.

corythatwas Fri 12-Jul-19 14:51:37

or maybe we should move to a system like Scandinavian countries where parents have to choose from a pre-approved list?

Which Scandinavian country are you talking about here? Certainly not Sweden. Beyond common sense (you can't call a child Satan or Mein Kampf) there is no list.

Iceland had a stipulation that names have to fit into their grammatical declension system (which has disappeared in the other Scandi languages) but even they are having to make some concessions now, I believe. And this was never about the names per se: it was about the risk of changing their language to a point where they would no longer be able to stay in touch with their old culture.

spiderlight Fri 12-Jul-19 14:53:40

I think it's Denmark that has the list.

Expressedways Fri 12-Jul-19 14:54:45

There’s an Anna and a John in DD’s class at daycare along with some more modern picks like Quinn and Hudson. I think there’s just a big variety of names than there used to be.

goodfornothinggnome Fri 12-Jul-19 14:55:11

I get what you mean.
I know someone who called their child Har-leiigh because its "special"

I managed to pull off a less common name with DD. People often comment that it's a nice name. Itll suit her when shes grown up and ot hasnt got a weird spelling.

recklessruby Fri 12-Jul-19 14:56:30

Names do go in cycles. I m the generation of karen/susan/Louise/julie and my parents wanted me to stand out so they chose what was then an old fashioned name.
Never met another one through my whole school years 70s/80s but now its one of the most popular names going. They are everywhere!
Ds was named after his df but dd is Emma born 1994. It was super popular then but i didn't care. I have loved the name since i was 14 and always wanted to be called it.
Outlandish names like zowie or scout i dont like though but would just say oh how lovely.
My cousin s boy is Gage which i think is a bit odd and my friend called her dd Fred. Not Frederica. Just Fred confused

custarddonut Fri 12-Jul-19 14:57:10

My own views and prejudices aside, am finding this chat very interesting, so thank you! Fiona - now that's a name I've not heard in a while :-)

But yes I suppose I do mean more celebrity-style wacky names but also, to a lesser extent, the dozens of Marlows, Arlos, Wilfreds etc.

Take the point that 'Richard' is almost provocative in its own way now...

Anyway - all very interesting so thanks again

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