I grew up hating my name. I still don’t like it, actually. In my generation, the only “Molly’s” were in my reading books: cows and goats always seemed to have that name. Not one girl. This held true all the way through college and beyond. Imagine my surprise when the name “Molly” became popular in the 90’s. Now I run into little “Molly’s” everywhere. There is security in having a popular name. No one makes fun of you or it, or asks you where your name comes from, etc. I have spent some time pondering names lately. It seems that one’s name can be either the catalyst for a lot of anguish, sexual confusion, resentment, or just, as in my case, dissatisfaction. A name can harness its owner with aggravation and more. For instance:

As a parent, one must think long and hard before naming a child something unusual. Bucking trends for some parents is an obsession. But before you name your daughter Prudence, however, consider the meaning behind the name. I have always wondered if those Moms and Dads choosing names like Hope, Charity, Patience and the like are projecting these qualities onto their daughters, or if they are just living in the past.

Luckily for parents who like old fashioned names, however, these seem to be swinging right back into popularity: Joshua, Ethan, Caleb—these are all back. These names are very nice and strong. Again, some parents push this envelope as well, and we get Moab, Orton, Gladys, and Blanche. Can you imagine what being named Blanche might be like? At the birthday party: “Come on girls—Tiffany, Suzy, Maddie, and BLANCHE! Time to cut the cake!” Is grandma among them?

In my mind, certain names have associations that are not complimentary. Hilda, for instance, makes me think of a clumsy red-haired pre teen, who is pushed into ballet school by her misguided mother. Elspeth seems like a wraith with incipient tuberculosis. Cary, I am sorry to say, is gay (not that there is anything wrong with that…). Wendell and Winthrop are nerds. And Cecil is most likely gay AND the neighborhood target for all the bullies. By the way, the bullies are named Jake, Bud, and Willy (Willy became a bully in defense of his own penile related name). Florrie is fat.

I would also like to knock some sense into any parent considering naming a boy anything relating to cowboys, unless the family actually lives on a farm or ranch with real cows and horses. Boys named Emmett, Saratoga, Slim, or Red have a lot to live up to otherwise. The same goes for girls. Why name a child Belle, before you know whether or not she will be pretty? While I am at it—I would like to give another kick in the head to any parent cherishing the name Hortense, Ida, Gaylord, Jemima, Hubert, or Pepper.

Geography should not be confused with the naming of children. How did naming kids after locations become the trend? Sierra, Tennessee, Aspen, Nevada. I guess these sound evocative to some. Thank goodness I have never been introduced to a Little Rock or a Kankakee, but they are probably out there, getting beaten up during recess.

One more thing. Consider your own name before you name your dog. If your name is Rex or Chance, then for heaven’s sake, don’t give your dog a name like Pete or Dan, because folks will persist in calling you by your dog’s name.

A final peeve. If you get the privilege of naming a person, can you please SPELL the name correctly? The popularity of butchering names causes me such pain. Why ruin a fine name such as Susan by spelling it Soosyn? Mollee? Danyelle? Wyllym? Dian??

Ok, I have to go now. I have to go brush my cat Salami.

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