Nameberry has a new list they call “20 Cool and Unusual Names.” I’m listing some of those names below, so you can consider whether any of the names would be “cool” for your baby girl. FYI, I found Nameberry’s list in an article on Babble by Aela Mass, a woman who couldn’t stand her given name when she was young. I can’t imagine why a woman whose unusual name had caused her grief would promote Nameberry’s latest list of unusual names, most of which don’t strike me, remotely, as “cool.” Here they are. What do you think?
Aliz: If you replace the “z” with a “ce,” you’d have a classic girl’s name. If you leave it as is, you have what looks and sounds like a “mistake.”
Aberdeen: Nice name for towns in Scotland, Australia and South Dakota (and for a Scottish football team); but not so much for a baby girl.
Amorie: Amory Blaine was the protagonist of Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. Amorie is the female form. It’s not as bad as Aliz, Neri or Tulsi. But, if you’re looking for a name that means or implies “love,” why not go with Amy? You might recognize these song lyrics, “Once in love with Amy. Always in love with Amy.”
Bette: This name was cool back when Bette Davis was a major movie star—in the late 1930’s and 40s. Now the name seems neither cool nor unusual. “Dated” would be a kind way to describe this name.
Blanche: This name was probably cool back when “A Streetcar Named Desire” was on Broadway (in 1948).
Carlisle: There are probably hundreds (or thousands) of towns with this name in English-speaking countries. It’s a nice enough place name, but I don’t think it sounds much like a girls’ name. In fact, it sounds more like the last name of the guy who coaches the Dallas Mavericks. (Rick Carlisle.)
Christabelle: Poor kid, she’ll probably be called Jingle Bells or Christmas Bells her whole life.
Eulalie: It’s a name-book neighbor of many other laughably uncool and seldom-used names (for good reason) like: Eunice, Eudora, Eufonia and Euphemia. How can a laughable name possibly be cool?
(Up to now I’ve gone name by name down Nameberry’s list. But I think you get the point, so lets skip to the strangest four names left on Nameberry’s “Cool and Unusual” list.)
Neri: She’ll be called Neri Christmas until she gets tired of the “joke” and converts to Judaism. (Jews are more likely to tease someone named Haman.)
Reeve: This was the surname of one of the worst Superman impersonators ever, which makes it appropriate for girls how?
Sula: I found this information from the Babble article helpful, “this name hasn’t been on the charts since the early 1900s.” It’s comforting to know this strange name has been kept out of circulation for years. And Nameberry wants to bring it back; why? I have no idea, but it will make the day of some high school jerk who can amuse himself by calling her “Sula Does the Hula” and watching her face turn beet red, before she starts crying.
Tulsi: I guess Tulsa wasn’t unusual enough; so Nameberry picked this rarely-used combination of letters (and called it a “cool and unusual name”).
Of course, I understand that Nameberry is mainly interested in the “fads and fashions of names.” So, on some level they provide entertainment by reminding us that baby-naming trends rise and fall, like hemlines. But some of their recommendations are so bizarre, in an uncool way, I think they’re as ditzy as Apple, North (West), Blue Ivy and Moon Unit.
Nameberry is extremely clever at discovering which stars and starlets are behind big changes in the Social Security Administration’s top-1,000 popularity rankings. By contrast, I look at fast-rising names like Major, King, Messiah and Prince and warn parents to avoid these “pompous titles” which their kids can’t possibly live up to. We’re doing two different things. And both are valid. But when Nameberry labels a list of names “cool and unusual,” they need to stock that list with cool and unusual names. If most of the names seem either common or uncool or both, they haven’t done what they set out to do.
But what bothers me more is when they use the word “cool” to describe names more likely to be a burden than a pleasure for children to live with. That made me wonder what Nameberry means by “cool”? On their website, Nameberry uses this line to introduce their list of “cool names”: “Baby Names All Your Friends Will Think Are Cool.”
That definition is OK with me. But can you imagine any of your friends becoming jealous because you picked Aliz, Neri, Reeve, Sula or Tulsi for your baby girl before they could give one of those awful names to their baby girl?