Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's Your Name?

By Judith Garfield

I’m outdated.

My name gives me away. Nobody is named Judy anymore. It’s a name that reveals more about me than I would like. It didn’t start out that way. It was a perfectly fine name when it was bestowed upon me. But the longer I have it, the more troublesome it becomes.

Yes, I have some fine company. Judy Garland, Judi Densch, Judy Holiday, and Judge Judy. What do we all have in common? We’re old. Or dead. You won’t see any modern parents calling their new twins Judy and Barry, or Phyliss and Bruce. The baby boomer names are waaaaay out of fashion. And according to the experts, it will probably take four generations for them to become popular again.

Perhaps the most difficult thing you will ever do as a parent is give a child a name. Charlize may sound real cute now in 2009, but fast forward to when little Charlize is sending out resumes and is relegated to the “too old” pile without even an interview.

Celebrities these days go out of their way to come up with unique names. Nicole Ritchie just named her new baby boy Sparrow Midnight. David and Victoria Beckham have Brooklyn, and Ashlee Simpson has Bronx Mowgli. Rachel Griffiths has Banjo and Jason Lee has Pilot Inspektor. Naming your baby a noun and or a geographic location somehow seems a little unfair to the baby, but luckily in this country one is allowed to change one’s name to anything one wants. The secret is to be different enough to stand out, but not weird enough to be teased.

Remember in the old days, when actors always changed their original names to blend in? Archibald MacLeish became Cary Grant, Bernard Schwartz became Tony Curtis, and-- you probably didn’t know this--but Sandra Dee was once Alexandra Zuck.

So Bronx, Pilot, and Banjo, don’t despair. Let us not forget that having a funny name did not stop a certain someone from becoming President.


Anonymous said...

My dad loves the name "Nosmo King." If you know the story behind it, it is quite funny. Nosmo's mother was in the delivery room and could not come up with a name, until she saw the "No Smoking" sign. I think naming children after signs should be a new trend. I think I will name my child "Nodum Ping" or "Don Twalk."

Anonymous said...

I empathize -----I'm a baby boomer with a 1950's name. But as hard as that is, imagine what these kids with nuveau names will feel like in their old age. There's nothing cute about a sixty year old named Peaches or Zumo. Grandma Shiloh or CEO Kipper just doesn't cut it. I like Biblical names ---they haven't gone out of style in over 2000 years.

Anonymous said...

Ah the name debate. Everyone has an opinion (and generally a strong one)... I guess b/c everyone has a name or two or three.

Big Shantz said...

i'm imagining a world in which child naming is left to the gov't & the device by which children are named is the word verification system for blog comments. in a world such as this my first born's name could be 'berlert'. the name debate is interesting but what's really in a name. the truly important thing is to be attractive.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Judith and I love it...go by that rather than Judy, but I answer to those two and Jude...I was born in 1947 and I read somewhere a few years ago that the name Judith was the 4th most popular name in 1940...hmmmmm

Anonymous said...

My insurance agent told me that I need to get a physical by the companies doctor - Mingtoy Epstein. Sometimes even if the first name works the future marriages to have a slightly humorous effect.

Keep up the great writing -