9 Rules for Naming Your Baby

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The most unusual baby name that I proposed was Svetlana. My wife vetoed it. I don't blame her and probably wouldn't have gone through with it anyway. A child should have perhaps an interesting baby name, but not a weird one. We live in an age in which Cheese is an actual baby name and some parents are selecting names from the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, so it's necessary to tell this to people.

Drew Magary of GQ has 9 helpful tips that future parents may want to keep in mind when thinking about naming their children. Here's a selection:

1. Do not invent a name. Most inventions fail. Many don't even make it past the patent stage. What makes you think a name you created out of thin air is gonna stand the test of time? There's a reason why "Jane" and "David" have hung around for so long. They're proven. They've been workshopped out in the field. That's not true of Kaydiss. You didn't even run it past a focus group. You're putting the responsibility for an entire new product launch on that poor baby's shoulders. That's a dick move. This also goes for any classic name that you deliberately mutilated. No one's gonna be dazzled that you took Christopher and turned it into Krystougher. [...]

6. Do not use double letters if you don't have to. Branlee. That's a real name. People have used it, just as they've used Kylee, Sandee, and thousands of other homemade names that deploy double e's and double n's wherever possible because…well, beecausee! It just looks betterr, doesn't it?! We're on the verge of triple letters. In two years, a Trissstyn will show up at your country day school and everyone's head will explode. [...]

7. Do not name your child after the following things:

  • A television network
  • An item in the Pottery Barn catalog
  • Some goddamn character in Twilight
  • A car
  • A type of New Age exercise method
  • Yourself
  • Food
  • Any celebrity baby. We already have one Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette. We don't need a second one.

What would you add to the list?

-via David Thompson


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Zoe is a perfectly good name ...for a girl. I have an uncle (in-law) whose first name is Zoe. In the military, he told everyone it was pronounce "Joe." Later on, he went by his middle name.
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I had kind of the opposite problem with first daughter. Her last name is one syllable. The middle name that tied three branches of the family together was one syllable. And then it seemed every name my husband and I both liked for her first name was also one syllable! We did finally give her an acceptable longer first name that we both liked.
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Take into consideration the Last Name when choosing a First Name. If your last name is long and/or hard to pronounce go with a short and easy 1st name. You don't want to saddle your kid with a lifetime of having to spell out both their 1st and last name to everyone they meet. If you last name is simple you can be a little bolder, but just a little.
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