(This article was originally published in 2009.)
When two of the most physically attractive people on Earth have a baby, it’s not surprising that they would describe their new daughter as “beautiful beyond words.” And when you read the names of their other children, Henry Gunther Ademola Dashtu, Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo, and Helene Boshoven, who have middle names imported from a variety of different countries (Germany, Russia, Japan, and Nigeria), it’s not surprising that Lou’s middle name is Sulola.
What is surprising, however, is that:
- Lou is the only child who has a gender-ambiguous name. Unfortunately, her middle name, Sulola (a Nigerian family name), does not provide any additional information to help Lou’s kindergarten teacher figure out whether she’s a boy or girl before roll call on the first day of school.
- Lou and Helene are the only children who don’t have at least one “safety” name they can fall back on if, for whatever reason, their first names don’t pan out for them. (In Lou’s case, she might get tired of being teased for having a boy’s name.)
It’s fun and meaningful for families to come up with unique naming traditions (for example, middle names from all over the world), but that doesn’t guarantee that the varied names will function well for each child. It makes more sense for families to make an effort to insure that their children will have names with which they can live comfortably for a lifetime.
Verdict: Two thumbs down.
© 2009 Bruce Lansky
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