One of the many, many things I love about this column and all of you who contribute is that it is so unabashedly a sociology exercise. We discuss names, and sooner or later those names apply to someone – and you can’t not react.
I knew that there would be people mad because I didn’t like certain names. I didn’t know there would be people mad because I did. Here are the names I’ve gotten emails to please stop suggesting:
Duana! You have GOT TO STOP SUGGESTING ARCHIE! And today I see Archie AND Walter in the same article. These are the names of my two lovely sweet boys and I shudder to think of them becoming Walter and Archie B, because there are so many of them. You have great taste. I agree with pretty much every one of your suggestions. Of COURSE I agree with these suggestions. But please! Please don't make these names popular! Please!
My daughter’s name is Jane. She is the ONLY Jane we know under the age of about 50. She OWNS the name Jane. But I am getting worried...first Jimmy Kimmel named his daughter Jane, now you keep suggesting it to Name Nerd expectant parents. Please stop, we must keep the perfection of JANE a secret from the rest of society. I read "Jane" in your column again today and my heart literally skipped a beat. I knew then that I had to reach out to you. Please stop, let others have their McKenna, Mackensie, Madison, etc. while we keep Jane to ourselves.
Duana - I thoroughly enjoy reading your baby names article but please stop suggesting Veronica! I just named my baby that 5 months ago and I feel like you're trying to make it happen! Lol...I'm only half joking. I would hate Veronica to become the new Olivia/Sofia/Emma.
I was delighted to read about your love for the name Greta but please stop pushing it. I haven't met another one and want to keep it that way.
But I’m not the only one who is promoting names that were supposed to be kept private and exclusive. One woman is enraged that her name was hijacked by the Timberlakes:
We've already had someone say: "Oh, you named your kid Silas? That's the same as JT's son!" And in a couple years it might be: "Oh, did you name him after JT's son?" NO!! Absolutely not!! So I guess there's nothing I can do about it now, but I just wanted to rant and rave a little and I thought you might sympathize with my inner name nerd rage.
And finally, in keeping with the fact that names are an ongoing issue and not just for babies, one woman wants people to lay off falsely expanding her name:
My problem is with my own name and an issue i've seemed to run up against the last few years. As a kid, it was easier because whenever there was roll call in class, it quickly became obvious that 1) I was not a boy, and 2) Had my name been Danielle/a it would have been listed as that on the attendance roster. I guess it's the downfall of having a name that is considered by many to be a 'nickname.' I know that I'm going to be annoyed for the rest of my life by all the Danielle's and Daniella's who claim Dani as their name when it isn't. Because of them I've noticed a tendency for everyone to presume my name is Danielle. It's probably trivial, but I find it a little annoying as well as upsetting when a friend I've had for more than a decade has no idea that my name is actually Dani and will then proceed to call me Danielle. I can't tell you how many times over the years I've run into this little issue. Do you have any suggestions on how I can nip this issue in the bud when meeting new people in a professional as well as social capacity? I don't know if there's a way to say it without sounding like a bitch, and maybe I'm just oversensitive about it but there it is.
My advice to you is to always smile like it’s a funny joke. “Oh it’s Dani actually!” When they express surprise or even outrage that you’ve been ‘keeping this’ from them, you smile. “I know, a lot of people think it’s something else, but it’s just Dani.” The end. My delightful friend Michelle told me that there was research that says women explain, rather than just state facts (this was about email, but I think the same applies in person). Just state a fact. Then don’t overexplain. Your name is your name, and while you can’t really put a limit on the Danielles and Daniellas who borrow it, you’re entitled to have your name stand on its own. Incidentally, I know a young Dani, full name, and wonder if she won’t have this problem because they name Daniella is so firmly attached to a woman in her 30s.
Love everything about these emails – tell me more about what I need to lay off on or lay into!
A note to name-nerd letter writers,
I love getting your letters. In order to give them the best chance of being answered in a timely fashion, could I please trouble you to include the due date in the subject line of your email? Also, please send only one email – duplicates are deleted and may result in your email not being answered. Thanks!