STFU Parents: Yoonique Baby Names That Confirm Our Societal Demise
Friends, parents, knowers and namers of babies! We meet once again. It’s been six weeks since my last column, which is a bummer, but it’s been seven months since the last baby names column, which is a damn travesty. I used to believe that we’d reached peak baby name status — once people started giving their babies names that were just random words spelled backwards, I lost all hope — and yet every time I go through my submissions inbox or check my hard-hitting Facebook Trending news sidebar, I discover something new that I never, ever could’ve dreamed up. Granted, I did include a submission in December’s column that featured the name Cviiilin (that’s “Caitlin” to all you traditionalists), so I wasn’t exactly surprised by this:
“Truly unique” are the words to zero in on here, because many names that used to be considered “unique” are now practically commonplace. The trick is to be TRULY unique. Unfortunately for parents, though, the window for what’s considered “truly” unique appears to be about three days. Someone will always share your baby name vision, whether people want to admit it or not, and that’s precisely how we’ve arrived at the name “Nevaeh” (‘Heaven’ spelled backwards) being popular enough to show up in children’s homework lessons:
A baffled parent sent me this screenshot with the note, “My daughter asked me to help her with her homework, and I just about chocked when I read the “name” Neveah in her math problem.” Ugh. Who cares how long it takes to change the car oil — this is what’s surprising about baby names now. Not only that they exist, but that they continue to proliferate in volume and get integrated into everyday use. At this rate, we’re all culpable in the baby naming charade to some extent, aren’t we?
Speaking of ‘original’ names dominating preschools and popping up everywhere in the media, is everyone reading this column aware of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s kids’ names? If not, you’re in for a treat, because it turns out he’s not just creative in the kitchen:
Did I mention this clip ran in a post with the headline ‘Jamie Oliver, Wife Jools Are Expecting Fifth Child’? When I posted it on Twitter, someone replied, “This is how I named my cats as a child.” Indeed, the names some parents (celebrity or otherwise) are landing on after numerous brainstorm sessions, months of careful contemplation, and hours of labor and delivery don’t seem to make much sense. I got an email the other day from someone who was innocently perusing a blog post about a “Star Wars”-themed nursery before she came across the baby’s name, “Vegas-Jack,” and emailed me to say, “Either the parents are rampant gamblers or I don’t know what, but I hate that name with every fiber of my being. Decorating a cool Star Wars room doesn’t get these parents a free pass to name their kid something this awful.”
Oh, but doesn’t it? If pressed, parents can justify their terrible baby name choices in ways ranging from the obvious to the inexplicable. Some will blame a name on family tradition, as though there’s a Grandpa’s Law that says you HAVE to name your baby after your Paw-Paw (except spell it in a way that has no historical basis whatsoever). Others say their baby’s name is symbolic, giving weight to the idea that no one should judge another person’s subjective experiences, but the truth is, we’re all still judging. I don’t care if you conceived your baby in a national park and named him “Yosemite,” or if you named him after your favorite vegetable, which happens to be ocra; you still made a pretty bad call and should’ve dug a bit deeper. For instance, here’s a comment that was left on a story about a baby who was born during a snowstorm and given the (awful) name “Wynter”:
Thanks for the backstory, Shirley, but when was the last time someone was confused about the origins of the names “Autumn” and “Summer”? I’m gonna go with never.
Here’s what I really want to know — since when is it okay to saddle kids with haphazard words that have never in the history of the English language been used as forenames? It’s like when Gwyneth Paltrow named her kid “Apple” in 2004, except somehow worse.
When I see something like this, I feel like we’re already living in the future, Trump is President, and every child is one hot trend away from being named Kviiiilin or a series of clapping hands emoji. What else can we really expect?
This joke is a little too real. May the dictionary gods watch over us all. Let’s check out some additional examples of what NOT to name your baby, unless of course you have an aching desire to be featured in one of these columns and should get to scrambling those Scrabble letters ASAP! Trust me, if you’re searching for a “truly unique” baby name in 2016, you’ve got some serious competition waiting in the hospital wings.