STFU Parents: Yoonique Baby Names Update: How Speshul Is Your Baby?
Today marks the 200th STFU, Parents column on Mommyish, so in honor of the occasion, I’m writing about yoonique baby names. This is the category I’ve written about the most in this space (in fact, this is the SIXTH baby names column in four years — you can read the others here, here, here, here, and here), and yet I still felt compelled to comment now that Social Security officially reported adding over 1,000 brand spankin’ new names to the extended name popularity list (which acts as a registrar for names that have been used at least five times). I learned this news via an article on TODAY Parents that begins with this perfect lede: “There were 1,393 new baby names coined by creatively-inclined parents in 2014 — and it’s safe to say that at least 1,350 of them would have been better left as words, misspellings, celebrity surnames, or pure flights of fancy.” The article goes on to list some choice favorites, including Payzley (always a winner in my book), Mickinley (screw the ‘Mc’!), Royaltee (of course), and Wimberley (like ‘Kimberly,’ except in whiny/drunk baby talk).
Society has a heavily engaged relationship to baby names, partly because we all enjoy a good laugh or a scratch on the head, and partly because we’ve reached a point where absurd baby names have become wholly democratized. In America, at least, the income gap gets wider and wider, but no matter what sector you’re in, people regularly give their children terrible, made-up, unpronounceable, twee, garbage names so their kids will stand out from the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a bad name is the worst thing a parent can do to a child. Being an awesome mom or dad who’s emotionally available to a child and makes wise education choices is much more important than whether or not the kid’s name is “Ajax” or “Wolverine” or “Kharrington.” There are much bigger problems in the world than parents who enthusiastically choose yoonique names for their kids. But isn’t that also why mocking them is so fun? That and the fact that some parents’ baby name choices are so special, they naturally inspire conversation.