And yet. Style changes. If we make different choices in music, clothing, and so on, than an earlier generation, it’s perfectly normal that our favorite names won’t overlap.
But lately I’m wondering if there’s an explanation for why grandparents are so resistant to new names – or names that are freshly back in favor.
As my kids hit their teenage years, I’ve sometimes had this weird feeling that my head is full. It happened with clothing first. Yes, I will change the cut of jeans I wear to reflect current trends. But mostly? I’m baffled by trends that come and go as I take my kids shopping. Now I’ll be right over here, in my new(ish) jeans and the same black wool sweaters I’ve been wearing for years, thanks, while you try on that whatever that is.
And so if I feel like this now, imagine how I’ll feel in another twenty or thirty years? Maybe it’s not that we dislike our grandchildren’s names. Maybe it’s that our capacity to appreciate new styles and fashions – of ALL kinds – ebbs over time.
A trivial distinction? Sure. But it feels a little kinder to acknowledge that the process is natural and inevitable. We love what we love, and at some point, it gets a little bit harder to love the new. If both sides can acknowledge that, we can probably avoid some bruised feelings – and that’s worth noticing.
Name to watch: Ripley. Why? Because Netflix is rebooting the 1955 Patricia Highsmith novel The Talented Mr. Ripley as a miniseries. You might’ve seen the 1999 movie version, with Matt Damon in the title role. This time, it’s Andrew Scott starring. Ripley might follow Riley and other unisex surnames into wider use; it’s also a very good moment for unisex R names, like Remy, Rowan, and River.
Speaking of unisex, I feel like that’s the new normal for lots of names. Hendrix Rouge is a girl; Banksi Wylde is a boy. Lately I’m questioning my long-time advice. I’ve always said that Hendrix Rose is a better choice than Hendrix Reese, because your child might prefer a less ambiguous name at some point. But is that really an issue for kids born now? Thinking …
Is Othello usable as a name? It’s really just a form of Otto and company. But I saw this raised in a discussion forum and found myself wondering. The reaction was mixed. My take: yes to Shakespeare names. Ophelia was tragic, too. So were plenty of mythological figures whose names we freely use. So … maybe? It’s been used in small numbers for years and the sound is all kinds of amazing. Curious to hear your reactions.
Gala, Vega, Ines; Bruno, Dario, Hector. So many of the most popular names in Spain deserve a closer look here, too.
Of course the name of the year is Barbie. For all the right reasons. If you read just one thing about names this week (or for all of 2023), make it this write-up by Laura Wattenberg.