Thursday, February 25, 2010

Name That Baby!

In 1965, the name Traci didn't make it onto the list of Top 20 Most Popular Baby Names so I'm not sure how my parents came up with the moniker. My middle name, Marian, is in honor of my grandmother who, oddly enough spelled her name Marion. So, it was like my mother said to her, "Okay, I'll sort of name the baby after you but not really."

As far as I know, there's not one Traci, Tracey, Tracy or Tracee anywhere in the family history. Perhaps I was named after Dick Tracy which would be appropriate since I make my living telling dick jokes. If there hadn't already been a Dick Tracy in standup (he was Chubby Checker's brother... seriously) it would have been my stage name.

Most of the girls I grew up with, however, had a first name from the top 20. My elementary school was bursting at the seams with Mary's, Patricia's, Sandra's and Deborah's.

These days, it seems, parents reject popular names more often than they did in the past. According to a Live Science report, only 8 percent of little girls are given names from the list. The rest are named after strippers and characters in fluffy Tom Hanks' movies. (Madison? Really?)

Quoted in the article is Jean Twenge, author of the book "Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled - and More Miserable Than Ever Before". Twenge claims that this trend towards giving your child a name that stands out leads to narcissism. Although I think any child born to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin would have narcissistic tendencies even if she weren't named Apple.

I once met a woman named Latrina. I find it hard to believe that being named after a bathroom would lead to high self-esteem. Of course, we all know a cocky guy named John so go figure.


Anonymous said...

They call me Shamungus!

DamnCat said...

Next time you are at Wal-Mart, K-Mart or some other big [mart]-Mart, stop by the kid's bicycle department and look at the little personalized license plates. You won't believe it. A few years ago I was looking for one for a friend's boy who had just gotten his first bike. Not a Tim or Timmy to be found. You can get everything from Austin to Zachary - but no names you grew up with.

Hey, Shamungus - you can call me Ishmael.

Traci Skene said...

Fascinating. I was never able to get personalized anything because my name is not a common spelling. But why are parents so eager to give their boys names that make them sound like a character in a soap opera?

Were there any Latrina license plates? I's get that one just for fun.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.