View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


What's In a Name?

These days, the names people give their children can be pretty exotic.

Posted: February 14, 2008 8:44 p.m.
Updated: April 17, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Let me admit, here and now, that I have a very ordinary name. So the following rant may result from my envy of men, women and children with more colorful names. (When I was 11 I did ask permission to go by Suzette - not Crepe Suzette - and this request was, fortunately, denied.)

If you've spent any time roaming the playgrounds of the SCV, you have probably noticed that children today have rather distinctive first names. When I was little, you were called Karen, Susan, Mike or David. That was pretty much it. Those parents who bestowed a more creative designation upon their offspring were usually punished in some way. (My brother Larry, for instance, is named Lawrence only because the hospital refused to put what they considered a "nickname" on his birth certificate.)
My kids' world is radically different. When my older boy was about 4, I took him to the park. He struck up a friendly conversation with a cute preschool girl. Naturally, his first question was, "What's your name?" The girl smiled and answered, "Dakota." My awestruck son exclaimed, "Wow! Are you North Dakota?" He was mighty impressed to be in the presence of a celebrity.
Similarly, a friend's manicurist once revealed that she had a daughter named Brooklyn. "How adorable!" my friend exclaimed, "Did you name her after the city? Is that where you're from?" The manicurist gave her a blank stare.
Happily, my boys have learned not to judge classmates by their exotic names. I am trying to do the same. The majority of these kids are good-looking and well-mannered. They simply aren't your run of the mill Peter, Paul, or Mary.
I think the crux of my gripe isn't even with the names themselves - some of them are quite beautiful - it's with their unusual origins. Nowadays kids are named after concepts. Recently, my friend Lori's daughter came home and told her that two of her fellow students had been bickering. She explained that "Justice was having a fight with Destiny." Lori asked her whether a child named Karma had stepped in to settle the disagreement.
I've read that the rapper, Andre 3000 called his child Seven, after a digit. I suppose the child is lucky he was named after a number and not a more advanced mathematical theory. He might have been named Trigonometry or Decimal, or Negative Integer.
I find the names that are not chosen as interesting as the ones that are. Why can a child be named Paris or Phoenix, but never Peoria or Schenectady? Why are there young people named Trinity or Neo, but not Matrix Reloaded? If biblical names are in style, why are there so many Jacobs and Rachels but no Hagars or Nebachednezzars? And how come an honest-to-goodness baby-name list offered the choice of Valencia but no Saugus or Canyon Country?
These are questions for greater intellects than mine. So I'm going to go now and consult with Uncle Biff, Aunt Muffy and cousins Wally and Trixie.
Denise Koek is a happily married actress, writer, and producer who now prefers to go by the name " Tiffanella."


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...