One of my many—let's just say delightful—oddities is that I'm obsessed with baby names. Obsessed. Despite not being ready for the whole birthing-and-owning-a-human aspect of motherhood, I've researched names for my future hypothetical children with such intensity that I can get a doctorate with my notes on the subject.
It's a fun escape. I'll doodle various names in my notebook to feel how they flow off the pen. I'll say the name aloud, sometimes in a newscaster-y voice, "Reporting live, this is So-and-so Mc-so-and-so." (It's a journalist thing.) I'll consider the feelings the name evokes, how well it sticks in one's memory, its searchability on Google.
I know for certain that if I have kids, they will have at least somewhat weird names. Something a little offbeat but not so much so that it disqualifies them from becoming a Supreme Court justice. (Read: no Blue Ivy.) I think it has something to do with the fact I was always buried in a sea of Michelles thanks to that Beatles song nobody actually likes.
I must not be the only one with this zany obsession because there are numerous websites and message boards dedicated to the craft of baby naming. The decision is a huge one: A new survey by Gurgle.com reveals that 54 percent of parents regret the name they gave their child. And it's interesting to see what names are trendy these days. According to Nameberry.com, an online guide based on books by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz, some of the hottest names of 2011 include Pippa, Adele, Mila, Archer and Flynn. But what's even more fascinating is clicking through the hundreds of Nameberry categories to suit every personality and interest.
HIPSTER: Dexter, Ike, Lennon, Oscar, Milo, Leopold, Georgia, Piper, Olive, India, Tallulah
NEW YORK NEIGHBORHOODS: Gramercy, Kensington, Hollis, Hudson, Tremont, Astoria, Bronx, Brooklyn, Cambria
HARVARD-BOUND: Alcott, Carter, Francis, Graydon, Lowell, Constance, Emerson, Francis, Honor
TREES: Ash, Aspen, Cedar, Elm, Linden, Acacia, Juniper, Kamilah, Laurel, Willow
MINERALS AND METALS: Clay, Coal, Cobalt, Emery, Flint, Granite, Jet, Mercury, Mica, Slate, Stone
ROCKER: Axl, Bowie, Cash, Hendrix, Lennon, Zeppelin
BIBLE-COOL: Asher, Ezekiel, Ezra, Jethro, Levi, Malachi, Atara, Delilah, Keziah, Phoebe
JANE AUSTEN CHARACTERS: Darcy, Elliot, Fitzwilliam, Price, Willoughby, Augusta, Elinor, Georgiana, Louisa, Lydia, Jane
SCI-FI: Cade, Holden, Korben, Mal, Rune, Talon, Amidala, Pallas, Serenity, Zhora
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Just stay away from Zorg, and all will be well.
This column appeared in print as "Baby Name-Pedia."