Tuesday, June 04, 2013

In Search of a Very Uncommon Name

The New York Times printed a "First Person" column a few days ago on the modern challenges of choosing a baby name. (I'm not sure why Tintin is featured in the article's illustration, but I'm glad he finally stopped carousing with Captain Haddock and found a nice girl.)

Illustration courtesy of the New York Times.

The article focused on the eternal quest for names that are unusual but not weird (well, maybe a little weird).

The percentage of parents choosing names outside the top 1000 has climbed to 27 percent from 23 percent over the past decade. That means a lot of people are picking very out-there monikers for their little ones.

From the piece:
Keep in mind that “Maxton,” “Krish” and “Brecken” already were on the Top 1000. To get more obscure than those, you basically have to draw Scrabble tiles randomly, which is perhaps how parents come up with neologisms like “Cree,” “Izan” and “Emi” (for boys) and “Safi,” “Nanou” and “Esosa” (for girls), all of which cropped up for the first time last year among the 450,000 births to registered users of BabyCenter. 
“No one wants their kid to be one of 15 Aidens in the kindergarten class,” said Linda Murray, the site’s editor in chief.

Looking beyond the Top 1000 was not enough for Jenn Lewis-Gordon, a waitress in Lakewood, N.J. She and her husband crossed off any name that had been used more than 100 times in the entire country in the last year. This left “Ptolemy,” “Bombay,” “Thursday” and “Ocean,” as well as “Atlas,” their ultimate choice. “I feel as though he’ll be less likely to be a follower if he starts out from the beginning being different,” Ms. Lewis-Gordon, 35, explained.
I have to say, I kind of like Atlas.

You can't argue it's a not a real name. Atlas was a primordial titan, which means he predates Zeus. (And it's easy to spell!)


Atlas has at least 1,000 years on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. What a bunch of hippy-dippy names those are by comparison.

So even though striving to be unique will often result in something like Moroccan Scott, it occasionally works out.