The Wolf Files: Strange Baby Names
April 2, 2002 — -- My son is a fruit. My daughter's a tart. And if you think that's cheesy, tell it to my nephew, Gouda.
Some parents are apparently naming their children after returning from the supermarket. Among the 200,000 who have signed up at Global Name Registry — the company in charge of handling registrations for the new Internet domain extension ".name" — are people with first names such as "Gouda," "Almond," "Cappuccino," "Veal," and "Bologna."
Topping this trend is Jamie Oliver, better known on TV as "The Naked Chef." His wife Jools gave birth March 18 in London to a 7-pound, 14-ounce girl named Poppy Honey.
It's tempting to think "Cappuccino" and other names are fabricated. However, the dot-name domain requires registrants prove their identities. And an expert who analyzes census and Social Security Administration records is not surprised such names exist.
"Anything is possible, when you consider that last year alone, 298 girls were named Armani and another 10 boys were named Halston," says Cleveland Evans of Bellevue University.
"Every year, the list gets stranger and stranger. It's as if parents think they're guilty of abuse if there is another kid in the classroom with the same name as theirs."
About 2 million boys and 2 million girls were born in the United States in 2000, the last complete year for which records are available. The Social Security Administration reports that 33,957 boys were named Jacob and 25,714 girls were named Emily, making them the most common baby names for the year.
But the number of strange names on the Social Security Administration's list is getting longer. There were 17 boys named Ventura (as in Jesse), six boys named Timberland (as in the boot), 49 named Canon (spelled like the camera), and 27 Blue (as in little boy).
The girls' names were equally bizarre. Thirty-five were named Vanity. Another 29 were named Whisper, while 54 sported the name Sincere. And 24 were positively Unique.
Imagine two mothers meeting in a mall: "Hi," one says. "This is my daughter, Unique."
"Well," says the other mother, her competitive fire sparked, "my daughter is also Unique."
The strangest names aren't even on the list. The Social Security Administration only releases names chosen five or more times, in order to protect the privacy of parents with bad judgment.
You have to worry about the ramifications of such parenting. Do the 13 girls named Wisdom feel even worse when they screw up? What happens when the 10 guys named Truth lie?
Then there's the issue of spelling. Are the 15 kids named Ruddy really that rosy-cheeked — or are they really just Rudys?