I read about Felix, Hugh Grant and Tinglan Hong’s new baby boy, in “People” magazine about two weeks after I spotted this tweet:
Someone introduced himself to me thus recently: ‘ Hi I’m Felix, yes that’s my name – my parents hate me’.
— Lou (@LouDeNoms) February 3, 2013
Of course, I don’t believe for a minute that Grant and Hong hate their new baby. On the contrary, Grant claims he adores both his new son and his one-year old daughter Tabitha “to an uncool degree,” and I believe him.
If Grant and Hong had read Lou’s tweet, they might have wondered why on earth Lou’s acquaintance had such an unhappy relationship with his name. I wondered myself—and this is what I discovered:
- Felix is a Latin name which means “fortunate” or “happy.” That’s rare—a name with a positive meaning; it can’t be the problem.
- One association people have with Felix is “Felix the Cat,” a cartoon character popular in the 1920s, which gives the name a “dated” vibe. Take a look at an image of Felix the Cat and you’ll see why his popularity faded when the era of silent films ended. But this dated image couldn’t possibly have caused Lou’s acquaintance to hate his parents for naming him Felix.
- Probably the best-known famous namesake for Felix is “The Odd Couple’s” Felix Unger, the fussy, fastidious, neat-freak who suffered from (undiagnosed) OCD and almost drove his slobby sidekick Oscar Madison crazy. (In the movie, Felix and Oscar were played by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau; in the TV series, Felix and Oscar were played by Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.) I think when people hear Felix, they picture Felix Unger vacuuming up the mess made by Oscar Madison under a card table as he stuffs a salami sandwich into his mouth with one hand while fanning his poker cards with the other.
If I knew, in utero, that my parents had named me Felix, I would have insisted on Jack as a middle name before I agreed to come out of hiding and meet the obstetrician.
It all goes to show ya’: Pay attention to what baby-name bloggers write—or ya’ might wind up with a kid who thinks you hate him.
My Verdict: Two thumbs down.
© 2013 Bruce Lansky
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