As some Slice readers are likely aware, I recently became a card-carrying member of the parenting club. Membership comes with many responsibilities and crucial decisions, not the least of which is bequeathing your child a “given name” (or, “first name” or “forename”). Yep: the baby name.
I think it’s telling that we call them “baby names” when we should just be calling them “names.” For example, there exists in this world a baby boy named Cue. This is all (barely) well and good as an infant, but a gawky 14-year-old named Cue? A 40-year-old? My God, what if he’s bald?
Naming a child is a tricky balancing act. On one hand, you don’t want to have a name so common that 17 kids turn their head when said moniker is called out in the schoolyard (for my generation, this name was Jennifer). But on the other hand: Cue.
When my wife and I were thinking of names for our own daughter, we cultivated a short list whereby every entry struck what we felt was the right balance of classic and unique; names like Sofia, Ella and Isabelle. How delightfully original yet traditional we were! A quick check at the (sadly now-defunct) “Baby File” website, which offered a map showing baby name– usage by postal code, revealed that the most popular names in our area were, in order, Sofia, Ella and Isabelle. We almost had a Jennifer on our hands.
We also had to think of names that wouldn’t clash with my already preposterous surname: Beer. My entire life, I’ve been confronted with absolutely hilarious people who would inform me what would happen if I married a woman named Ivana or Anita. Like I said, hilarious! I thought I had heard them all until my wife suggested a name for our child that I initially thought sounded good: Filippa. Filippa Beer. Say it out loud.
OK, let’s get to the good stuff: making fun of other people’s kid’s names. Nameberry is a website where users help each other come up with unique baby names. You can imagine what goes on in the forums. Names like Sparrow. Vivaleen. Diggory.
The Toronto Star was good enough to comb through the Nameberry forums to come up with a list of the top baby names of the first quarter of the year (note: the criterion here is “top,” not “best”). I urge you to take a look at this list and marvel at some of these first and middle name combinations. Feel free to hand out awards, as I have done.
- Name That Sounds Most Like a Hipster Restaurant: Hudson Sailor
- Name That Sounds Most Like a Gin Cocktail Served at Hudson Sailor: Juniper Elise
- Name That Sounds Most Like a Shady Security Company: Kingston Onyx
- Family That Sounds Most Like a Rowing Team From That Snobby Summer Camp Across The Lake Except for the Last Name: Delaney Meadow, twin sister to Boone Avery, and sister to Dean Clifford, Paisley Madison, Russell Blaise and Cheyenne Mariah
- Family That Sounds Most Like Characters From a Wes Anderson Movie: August Django Kit, triplet of Hazel Magnolia June and Walter Phineas Bay, and brother to Emmett Linus Jack, Flora Hermione Kate, Miles Oscar Inigo and Edith Marlo Wren (you just know this family was thrilled when they found out they were having triplets, as it allowed them to come up with nine new insane names!)
For further crazy names — ultra-WASP edition — please check out Inside Lacrosse’s “All-Name Team,” which features such last name/nickname/boat name-as-first-name gems as Baxter Lanius IV, Wellington Stanwick and Peer Fish.
And yes, you are correct: I haven’t even mentioned celebrity insane baby names (not to be confused with insane celebrity baby names). Why? Too easy. Plus: Cue — arguably unbeatable.
If any readers think of unbelievable names they’ve come across (or have!), please share them in the Comments!
Paul Beer is a Toronto writer, actor and comedian. You can follow him on twitter @pauldanielbeer.