Monday, February 6, 2012

The Most Ridiculous Baby Name Book Ever: Part II

Previously in Part I, we were introduced to the mind-boggling ridiculousness that is 40,001 Best Baby Names and its unexplained, random lists that make up the first fifty pages (not counting the introductions with helpful information telling you how to change your name, that the name Erica is evil, and interviews with people telling you how much she loved being a Jennifer, or how traumatizing the name Wendy is). And yet the lists go on.

Sure, you have the prerequisite "[country] names for boys/girls" (although Asia gets lumped together--good luck if you wanted more than one Thai name), and for the worried parent it helpfully lists "names that get shortened" (where else would Lucretia and Nanette be put together, or Wilfredo and Augustus?), but how about "girl names that spawn nasty nicknames"? She earlier introduced earlier to her female friend Christopher, unfortunately saddled with a distinctly male name, so that name is on the list, along with Dusky-Dream, Hermione, Lesbia, Scarlett, and Winifred. I'm not even sure where Lesbia came from--it's not listed in the book's actual name listings AT ALL. And Dusky-Dream?

Dusky: (invented) dreamy;

Dusky-Dream: (invented) dreamy; Duskee-Dream (alternative spelling)

Debbie-Jean and Fluffy are "girlie-girl names"; Glanville, Jaden, Maureen, and Hilary are "so over";  Cherry-Sue, Galaxy, Snooks, and Boots "make you smile"; Bryton, Derlin, and Alexakai are "made-up" (which begs the question: why are they here?); Ned, Arden, Ethel, Corinna, Irene, and Polly are "old-fashioned...[but] cute again"; Bebe, Fluffy, Pal, and Rabbit are "for playful personalities"; and along with Gwyneth and Roosevelt, Don Quixote, Bjork, and Karalenae (defined as "a combination of Kara and Lenae") are "overpowering."

I want to ask questions: what does "overpowering" mean, because there's a lot of different between Penelope and Deja-Marie. Why are "made-up" names included? Is "make you smile" some secret code for "try not to laugh at the poor person who was named by their 4-year-old sibling who really just wanted a puppy"?

I keep thinking I should be done with the lists, but things keep popping up. Specifically, two lists: "alternative spellings for boy/girl names you can't pronounce" and "Boy/girl names for children of lesbians and gays".

Please let that sink in.

In the first category, we have Dameetree, Malla-Ki, and Playtoh for the boys (Dmitri, Malachi, and Plato respectively), and Alaygrah, Sheelyah,  and Tateeahna for the girls (Allegra, Shelia, and Tatianna). Sure, if you name your child "Bouvier" there's going to be confusion (avoid that with the lovely Booveeay), but how many people have trouble with Monique (Moneek) or Dana (Dayna, which isn't too bad as a name itself except for the implication that Dana is a horribly difficult name to figure out)?

The entire reason I picked up this book was because of this last list, names for children of lesbians and gays. Surely, I thought, there must be some rationalization, some sort of explanation. Perhaps these are the names of people dominant in the history of gay rights, or current activists, or it turns out that Alex actually means "likes to kiss other boys" or something.


I have no idea where this list came from. There's no explanation, it might as well be "names of people who checked out this library book before I did" or "list of people whose favorite color is puce." Because I don't know about Bevan and Noel, but Spencer, Ethan, and the aforementioned Alex are fairly wide-reaching. And maybe I don't know that many Glorias, Annabelles, and Ramonas, but I'm pretty sure that the many Ambers and Jessicas I've met don't all have same-sex parents.

I keep looking at this thinking, surely there is some semblance of reason in here. Surely there is invisible ink explaining this. And there's not. And it's hilarious.

Part III, We Finally Reach the Name Listings: Meashley, Yu-crazy
Part I, An Introduction: Just in Case You Wanted You Child to Have a Death-Row Name

1 comment:

  1. I want to see this book! It sounds amazingly awful!



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