On The Fine Art of Baby Names

March 1, 2012

** DISCLOSURE: I am not pregnant. Please don’t think I am or Rita is gonna have a heart attack. THANKS IN ADVANCE. **

I am big into baby names.

I always have been.

It’s partly because I want some babies some day and I am also a dreamer and in case you didn’t know, a dreamer-who-wants-babies thing to do is to think up your favorite names and doodle them on a notebook with hearts and stars around them and see how good they sound with your boyfriend’s last name while you’re on a conference call at work.

Is that just me?

Setting back the feminist movement by one thousand years?


Moving on.

I’ve also done a fair share of babysitting here in Manhattan and with that territory comes meeting lots of little kids with fantastic unique names.

I was super into the trend that started a long while ago of naming kids what I call ‘Old Granny Names’.

Long gone are the Tiffanys and Jessicas and Brandons of my generation.

Popular kids names nowadays are Oliver! Owen! Grace! Ella! Olivia! Ezra! Camilla! Violet! Ruby! I’ve met them all! Plus 27 Harrisons and 42 Hudsons. I haven’t met a Myrtle yet but I’m dying to.

Anyway, I WAS SO BIG INTO THIS because all the names I like are those old granny names. SWEEEEET!

But then, of course, the trend blew up and I’m still not having babies and by now, all my favorite names are so, so popular that it makes me want to cry. Especially here in New York City. YOU CANNOT COMPETE IN NEW YORK CITY.

So, I’m continually on a quest to find a name that is both Awesome and Classic Granny/Grandpa Sounding while still being Mostly Unpopular.

(For no reason at all, mind you. Just to have an arsenal of these names already picked out so by the time I have a baby (AT 45!?), I’ll be good to go.)

This means if I hear a super strange kid’s name, I’m like WOAH AMAZING AM GONNA STEAL IT and my boyfriend makes this face like oh God, you can’t be serious, we’re not naming a future baby of ours Magenta Jane.

I’m only slightly exaggerating.

(Once, when I was at the playground with the twins, there was both an Axel AND a Maverick present. THOSE ARE NAMES OF HUMAN CHILDREN. I know. Plus, I WANT to be annoyed with those parents but I CAN’T because it strikes me as so, so great.)

ANYWAY. Somehow, this spawned a new game where my boyfriend sits and ponders baby names and throws them out at me to see what I might agree to.

And so, here is a list of baby names courtesy of me & my boyfriend.

by Laura and her Man of Mystery

Ebenezer (I actually like this name in a legit way but it sounds like my boyfriend’s last name so it kind of rhymes together which makes it absolutely hilarious plus also my mom would murder me if I named a grandchild of hers Ebenezer. BUT WHY NOT? IS IT NOT THE GREATEST?)

Aren’t I so nice for letting you share these? People can be so protective about these types of things!


  • Marci

    I named one of my kids a granny name…Clara Naomi. She is 14 years old and to this day we have NEVER met another girl named Clara. I love it.

    However, Harpoon has a certain ring to it, as does Smashfist. Sweet!

  • Kyle

    Apparently one of the writers at Jezebel is in the same mind-set as you are. They wrote an article today called “The 50 Ugliest Baby Names”


  • Roxanne

    I love this, and totally agree. Whenever I am contemplating baby names, I have to go to the social security website to make sure the name I choose is not in the top 50 most popular. What I didn’t account for was similar names being popular. For instance, my first daughter is Madeline (#70 the year she was born) but Madison was #3. It is awful because I can’t even get her name fully out of my mouth before people assume her name is Madison.

    Also, I just had a conversation about the name Ebenezer with my bestie the other day. She loves it legitimately, but her husband shuts her down. It is an ok name, but I get why people are against it. No one could ever hear it without automatically thinking of Scrooge. It is like naming your kid Madonna or Prince. It’s taken.

  • TheSpectrum


    Marci – funnily enough, Clara has always been a love of mine and the woman I am replacing at work (who is out on maternity leave) named her little one Clara! I had never met a Clara until she brought her in to the office. Your daughter is probably even better off because she’s older so even if it’s gaining popularity, she’ll be unique because she had it first. CONGRATS, YOU WIN THE BABY NAME GAME.

    Kyle – So weird! Particularly because I wrote this a few days ago and automatically set it to post today. Jezebel should stop copying me.

    Roxanne – I DO THE SAME THING WITH THE SOCIAL SECURITY WEBSITE! Though I won’t even go near a name in the top 200 or so or any name that’s been moving up fast. It’s been crushing my dreams! All the names I love have skyrocketed to the top over the last 10 years or so. And I feel you, Madison is…oh God. It is everywhere. Madeline is so fantastic!!! Love love love!

    I do realize names are popular for a reason and if you love it, it shouldn’t matter but according to social security, Laura was #23 in the entire US the year I was born (Lauren was #24, UGH!) and there were 3 Lauras in my graduating class and at least 3 Laurens (of only 190 kids!) I don’t want to make my kid a total freak (HARPOON WHAT UP!) but I admit I’m a sucker for originality. I do have a few up my sleeve that don’t even make the SSA list! One of my favorite girl names fell off the chart in 1964 and never came back. GOOD SIGN??? Or…HORRIBLE?

    ALSO WAIT, why must everyone hate on Ebenezer? If it didn’t rhyme with my love’s last name, I would legitimately be for it also. I mean, yes, Scrooge but…that is one of the best stories of all time, HANDS DOWN and is the ultimate story in redemption. Also, Google tells me Ebenezer means ‘stone of help, foundation stone’. WHAT? THIS IS AMAZING! And you can call him a normal nickname – Ben! Benny! or a weird one! Beezy! Bez! Beezer-Weezer! I HAVE NO IDEA STOP THIS COMMENT NOW HELP

  • TheSpectrum

    Okay I just read that Jezebel list and Myrtle is on it! And Dorcas? POOR DORCAS. But honestly I sort of like some of those names? Elmer? I feel like I would totally name my kid Elmer. I…should probably not be allowed to procreate.

  • Ryan

    Hahaha. This is sort of amazing Laura…. Ebenezer.. is um… not the best. My Mom had twins in her class named Ping and Pong…. and a kid named Handsome… I also went to school with a Bambi Lebar who I have no doubt is now a stripper in the midwest. I think a interesting name is good but if its TOO interesting thats a killer.

  • TheSpectrum

    Wait…Ping and Pong…that is not…serious, right? THAT IS NOT SERIOUS!!!!?

    I’m not getting too crazy, trust me. Next time we hang out, I’ll regale you with my baby name list. BRING YOURS TOO AND WE’LL COMPARE AND HAVE SO MUCH FUN YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.


  • TheSpectrum

    Also, rumor has it (RUMOR HAS IT), there was a girl who went to my high school a few years before me named Krystal Chandelier.

    That rumor has not been confirmed.

  • The Mom

    Here’s how I would have MY mom on edge: Every time we were expecting, I would state that, “If it’s a boy I will name it Doug!”
    DOUG DLUG! So symmetrical, so snug, so rhythmic! And your grandmother would say, “you not really going to do that, are you?” Tee hee…maybe the next one…oh, wait, NEXT?

  • Bambi LeBar Norris

    @Ryan- I’m pretty sure there is only 1 of me. How fabulous that you have remembered my name after all these years! Haha best part about my name…no one ever forgets it! FYI I am not a stripper. I am a stay at home mommy of 2. So where did we go to school together?

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