real life

BEC: Picking baby names has become way too political.


Rebecca Sparrow with her son, Fin. His name was never debated like this…





Lord, am I in a world of trouble right now. (Middle class trouble, rather than Greece and rising debt levels trouble … just to, you know, put it in perspective).

This new baby of mine is arriving in a matter of WEEKS and my husband Brad and I cannot agree on a boy’s name.

We’ve got a girl’s name locked and loaded but if this baby is a boy, well, we got nothin’.  Nada. Zip.

Okay that’s not entirely true — we have a shortlist of  two ‘meh’ names that we’re half-hearted about. Or three if we include Ava’s suggestion that we call the baby “Mr Happy’. (I politely explained that Mr Happy wouldn’t really work and Ava responded by yelling something at me in what sounded like a Scottish accent and stamping away. Excellent.)

We had none of these problems naming Ava, Georgie and Fin. But this time, we simply cannot agree.  Naturally I have a few theories as to why finding a boy’s name this time is proving to be so hard.You ready?

1. Brad’s suggestions are stupid.

Oh. Well look at that. So that’s just one reason. Go figure.

But seriously, let me just run past you some of the names Brad has put forward:

1. Parker Robinson. Now, I have nothing against the name Parker. Great name. Great pretzels.  But Parker Robinson sounds like a beer. Or a clothing label. Or an accountancy firm. Ba-bow.  (Apologies to any readers called Parker Robinson. Please forward your hate emails c/o Jamila Rizvi.)


2. Coby Robinson:  Isn’t Coby a character on Packed to the Rafters who IS IN JAIL? Yeah. No.

3. Tate Robinson:  I’m sorry, are we naming a baby or casting characters on The Bold and the Beautiful?   Noooooooooo.

Ava suggests ‘Mr Happy.’ Brad’s suggestions are not much better…

I should point out that a number of family and friends love Brad’s suggestions and think my reasons for dismissing those names are fairly petty.Naturally, I no longer speak to any of those people.

I should also point out that the EXCELLENT names I have put forward have all been labelled “appalling” by Brad. Whatever, dude.

So we’re at an impasse in what is quickly escalating into a War of the Roses-esque battle. And I know we’re not the first couple to turn naming a child into their own personal Vietnam.

I really believe Gen X and Gen Y have made naming children way harder than it should be.  Let’s just take a look at some of the reasons Brad and I (and perhaps you) have jointly dismissed potential names.

1. The name is waaaaaay too common:

Welcome to the Jamie Oliver School for Baby Names. What is it with Gen X’s need for their kids’ names to be unique? You want to name your baby Buddy Bear. Go for it. I really have no issue with your baby being called Apple or Snow or Zuma. But I still find this obsession with not choosing ordinary or common names baffling.   I went to school with a half dozen Sarahs and Matthews and Cathys and Michelles. Nobody cared.You were Michelle M. Or Sarah C. Or Matthew P.  Why are so many of us (and I’m including myself here) so panicked that if our kids have a ‘common’ name that somehow that will negatively impact their lives?  You don’t stand out in life (for more than 10 seconds) because of your name. You stand out by what you do. How you behave. What you contribute. Just ask Bill Gates. Or Dr Catherine Hamlin.

“What is it about Gen X and their desire to have the most unusual baby name?”

2. I know/worked with/studied with/shagged someone called Felix. And he was a tool.

Many of our parents worked for one employer their whole lives. Not us. I’ve worked in about, oh say, 13,000 jobs since I was 15. I’ve met everybody.  EVERYBODY.

It feels like between my husband and I every single name already has a positive or negative  association.  For instance, I can’t ever call a child of mine Paul.  I dated a Paul once. He drank Peach Bacardi Breezers and never had his wallet on him. See? Name forever ruined. Thanks Paul (and if you’re reading this you owe me $75. Jerk.).

3. Articles like this make you paranoid.

I know, I know. Everybody has an opinion which they’re willing to share online.  This very article is contributing to the problem. There you were, happy with the name Paul and now I’ve gone and ruined it for you by associating the name with a cheapskate arsehat with a fondness for citrus alco-pops. Sozzy.

Or you do a Google search and wind up in some obscure baby name forum where someone called Meggy from Atlanta has casually written, “Only douchebags call their babies XXX”.  Thanks Meggy.  No, really.

So by now you’ve realised I have absolutely no insightful point to make about naming kids other than the fact I’m in a world of hurt.

If you’ve got a boy’s name you’d like to suggest — hit me with it.  And while you’re at it — tell me how you resolved (or plan to resolve) the baby name issue when the times comes.