I mean, I have to hand it to Lily Allen – I do not hear from her, and most of my thoughts about her family these days focus on whether or not Alfie is bothered by the fact that nobody likes his character Theon Greyjoy. He seems like the type who would be whiny about that, doesn’t he?
But Lily Allen is a relatively quiet personage these days, and in an article about the names of her children, it has to be noted that they really are rather low-key. Baby Marnie Rose came home to join her big sister Ethel Mary. The differences are not glaring – this is not calling one sibling Hepzibah and the other Katie – but still, there’s a distinction. Ethel and Marnie are not exactly equal.
Where I differ from the “norm” is that I think Ethel might have gotten the better deal here. Usually when parents’ naming styles change between children, it’s because they’ve grown up a little and aren’t so likely to be silly – but I’m not sure that’s the case here. In a time when we’re returning to uber traditional names – when Sophias and Isabellas reign supreme – I think Marnie is the name that sounds desperately dated and 80s. The three Marnies I can think of are the character in Girls, who’s supposed to be 25, the two-year-old in the Babysitters Club books 25 years ago (so…same) and, uber weirdly, Neve Campbell’s mother. ( I know. If I could excise the useless trivia from my head, do you know what I could accomplish?)
“Ethel” is a joke old-lady name for every fifth-grader who ever wrote a comedy sketch, but you know what names are popular for baby girls? Adelaide and Josephine. Ethel sounds just like their cleaner, sparer sibling. Marnie – who brings to mind body waves and acid-wash – may be the one left out in the cold.