Thursday, May 23, 2002

WHAT'S IN A NAME? My husband thinks I spend too much time thinking about names -- especially since I can hardly ever seem to hit on one I really love. I'm picky. I want something normal, traditional and not androgenous, but also uncommon and different. I'm amazed by women who name their babies as soon as they get an ultrasound and know the sex. What if the child didn't look like the name she'd picked out? I think about all sorts of things. What if a name I love becomes wildly popular a few years from now, so that half the kids on the block have it too? (I practically live in fear that the names I give my children will wind up in the top 100 names.) What if the initials spell out something naughty, or ridiculous, that I haven't noticed? OK, so that makes me a typical, neurotic pregnant lady. But as Virginia Postrel explains, I've got good reasons for being neurotic: predicting whether a name will be too fashionable, too frumpy, or just right is as hard as predicting any other fashion. In fact, it's harder, because the goal is to give your child a name that will sound good when he or she is two, 20, 50, and 80. That's like trying to pick out a dress that would look good over a 70 year period. So it's no wonder that names I thought were the coolest ten years ago I wouldn't give to my dog now.

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