Hi Duana!

I too have a general name nerd question. Would you advise expectant parents to research their options before settling on chosen names? I googled the first and middle name of a coworker's newborn daughter because it just sounded familiar to me in a maybe-famous kind of way. Turns out little Samantha Ryan F----- (last name is one-syllable, German, vowel-heavy; not that it's relevant) shares her first and middle name with a porn star.

Should this even matter?

Part of me thinks who would know or care....but the other part thinks well, perverts obviously, but also I'm pretty sure I would have liked to have known beforehand if I was that mom. Any thoughts?

Thanks, Megan

(I've seen adult videos in my lifetime but I'm nonplussed as to why I'd recognize a porn star's name!?)


I mean – nope.

I gave this question some serious thought. Obviously, as we discussed last week, having a name that’s too close to an unsavory name can be a real bummer. But I think the key there is rarity. If you are named Orenthal James, yeah, there’s going to be some comparisons for sure. By contrast, if you’re named Timothy (as in McVeigh) or Susan (as in Smith) nobody thinks of the people who committed horrible crimes under those names, because there are many more who didn’t. You know what I mean?

Where Samantha Ryan is concerned, first of all I have to ask, was this baby born in 2014? Named Samantha? That’s the most unusual part to me, because that is a name for women old enough to be her mother. Or, you know, a porn star. But either way, it works out. Because these are the realities of getting older (and yes, we’re all getting older).  

The only people who will know that she shares her name with a porn star are adults. Who are hopefully mature enough not to snicker at the poor little baby. There’s something wrong with you if you look at an infant and immediately think “I am going to point out how similar she is to an adult movie star”, regardless of  the content of those movies, you know what I mean?

By contrast, kids her age will not know or care who Samantha Ryan is. By the time they’re old enough to care about porn stars, I am quite sure there will be stars of much younger vintage, which you can be creeped out about if you’d like, but I’m imagining sex will still sell 15 years from now. You know? And those porn stars will likely use fake names, according to what’s sexy then. But Samantha Ryan the baby will never know about Samantha Ryan the porn star.  Until she googles her name.   But even then …

It seems that you’re writing about the girl’s first and middle name, not her first and last, in which case, the potential for her to google the first and middle only goes down exponentially.  

Having said all this, do I think it’s a healthy activity to google your child’s name, especially if it’s going to come down on the very rare or very common side? I wouldn’t worry too much about a tenuous connection like this, and remember that what matters to kids is kid currency, and we can’t always predict what that is. You could name a kid Joan Crawford at this point and it wouldn’t make a dent in the kids’ opinions.