Hi, My Name is WinkieThursday, July 14, 2011
There must be something in the water. First Clare, then Ms Red Boots, then Cate - we appear to be in the midst of a veritable blogging baby boom. I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised; after all, I started off reading wedding blogs, then they turned into married blogs, so it was only a matter of time before at least a few of them started turning into holy-crap-I'm-having-a-baby blogs (that's a recognised category, right? Better than mommyblogs, surely).
None of my real-life friends (because internet friends are imaginary friends, obvs) have babies yet, so this development, although a happy one, is also somewhat unnerving for me. I frankly have no idea what to do with the information. Ever since my married, early-30s, very sensible colleague announced she was pregnant and my panic-stricken, cringeworthy, totally inappropriate response was to blurt out "Were you trying?" (I mean, what was I expecting her to say? "No, just drunk"?), I have been very cautious when approaching any form of baby-discussion. Baby chat is far too close to sex chat for my liking, and I am rather British in that regard (*cough*splutter*change topic*).
And so it is with relief that I seek refuge in the relatively risk-free arena of baby names. To me, baby names are the acceptable face of baby chat, even with people who aren't pregnant (or "trying", cringe). Talking about baby names is the procreational equivalent of talking about wedding dresses. It's fun, you can let your imagination run free, and even someone who has no immediate prospect of having to make the decision usually has an opinion. Many women will have cherished fixed ideas about both for years, even decades, before they actually find themselves standing bewildered in front of a rack of frothy, near-identical gowns or frantically leafing through The Top Million Most Original And Mostly Made-Up Baby Names.
Of course, once you actually come to make the damn decision you realise times have changed, your taste has moved on, and perhaps getting married in an exact replica of Belle's dress from the finale of Beauty and the Beast and naming your daughter Sarah-Charlotte after a minor character in a ridiculous teen novel you used to get out of the library every week may not be such a hot idea. And that's why it's so fun - you can have the same conversation with the same person a year later and get a totally different answer. Although for someone who is notoriously indecisive - like, say, me - this is a tad worrying. Dress regrets are one thing, but baby name regrets?? Nobody wants to give their two-year-old an identity crisis.
Anyway, first this comment thread and then this post got me to thinking about baby names again, and reminded me of a hilaireballs (yes, I now incorporate balls into pretty much every possible word, what of it?) post of Cara's, which at the time resulted in me becoming utterly obsessed with this list of all names given to babies in Scotland in 2009. Hours of fun. Well guess what? The 2010 results are now in! And man, they are gooood. I haven't got as far as the boys' names yet, but the girls' names alone have provided endless entertainment, and I thought perhaps my pregnant blogger ladies could use some inspiration. Prepare yourselves.
The little old lady names:
(Hang on, is this a nursery or the bingo?)
Oh, and spare a thought for little Euphemia. Good grief.
The already-cooler-than-me-even-though-they're-practically-still-foetuses names:
Please let these five get together and start an awesome girl rock band with keytars and crazy-coloured hair (yeah, I'm channelling Jem). But for the love of God keep Blaze away from Euphemia.
The why have one when you can have two? names:
Betsy-Mae (I'm sorry, I didn't realise we were living in 1950s America)
Brailey-Jaii (that's genuinely how it's spelt)
Demi-Debbie (as opposed to a whole Debbie)
The wait a minute, I thought you said it was a girl names:
The somebody get these people a dictionary names:
Tiaami (surely everyone knows it's spelt with three i's and an exotic accent?)
The somebody take away these people's atlases names:
And then there are the just plain crazy ones. Like Winkie. And Yoyo. And Beige. Yes, somebody named an actual living breathing baby girl after the colour of old man polyester trousers.
I know I shouldn't mock. It's not like it's the babies' fault that they have... unusual names. But there is a serious point here, well a couple actually. The first I suppose is a kind of nostalgic sadness that old Scottish names are gradually being edged out, replaced by a swathe of bland Americanisms (the grey squirrels of baby names - lovely in themselves, but our feeble, beautiful native names just wither and die in the face of their rampant proliferation). Eilidh seems to be holding up well, although there appears to be some confusion over its spelling - I clocked an Elidh, an Eildhi, an Eileigh, an Aighleigh and (I think they'd just given up by this point) an Aylie. Isla is going strong too, but there were 200 Brookes and 149 Summers, for example, while Kirsty didn't even make the top 100 (not that I'm biased or anything) and we only had two wee Morags. It makes me sad. And scarcely a Lulu to be found! Tragic.
The other thing that strikes me is that, in a time when social mobility seems to be slipping further and further out of reach, what you name your child can have a huge impact on their destiny. Particularly if you call them, say, Destiny. Or Destinee. I desperately wish that every child in Scotland could have an equal chance at success in life, but that simply isn't the case. We do not live in a classless society; we live in one that is increasingly polarised and divided, as the rich get richer and the poor get trampled. None of us are free from preconceptions, and we are constantly filtering and judging the world - and the people - around us. Can you imagine Brailey-Jaii in the House of Lords, or working for the UN, or even being a boring old lawyer? Can you picture Euphemia living in a crack den? Your name - and your choice of baby name - says a lot about you.
No pressure then, ladies...
So, dish. What are your favourite baby names? Do you lean towards the traditional, or fancy something more wild and creative? And please can somebody call their child Blaze?
Oh, and in case you were wondering - there wasn't a single Harper.