Just say ‘no’ to Nowahh

Every January our local newspapers publish special sections featuring babies born the previous year. Proud parents send in their pictures and the papers publish them for a couple of bucks. This serves two purposes: 1) it gives parents one more opportunity to boast about their newborn and 2) it allows the papers to fill space in early January when there is absolutely no news and even less ad revenue.

Everybody loves babies. I love baby names. What I love even more is yelling to my wife, “I can’t believe what they named their baby!” My wife, she doesn’t love it so much.

The following are real names, and if I mention your child’s name specifically, I mean no offence but merely want what’s best for society, with a reminder that it costs only around 50 bucks and a bit of paperwork to legally change a name, so it’s not too late. Go on, we’ll wait.

Frankly, I don’t care what you name your child – Bingo, Salisbury, Panic, Big Poppa, Trump-Star 5000. Name your child after all the soap opera characters you like, for all I care. Bring on the Mileys. But stop with the random spelling.

Poor Linzee, she never saw it coming.

Poor Linzee, she never saw it coming.

Yes, I’m looking at you, baby Alys. You’re a cutie, all right, but is it pronounced “Alice” or “Allies”? Or maybe “Alleese.” The life that lies ahead of you is long, but, alas, Alys, it is a finite life, and your parents didn’t consider how much of your limited time on this planet will be squandered shouting at people, “IT’S PRONOUNCED ‘ALICE’!” Please don’t shout, Alys.

Or you, Alyvia. Won’t you get tired of explaining that your name is not sensibly spelled O-L-I-V-I-A but A-L-Y-V-I-A? “Yes, like an allergy medication,” you will sigh, and that will be the end of that date.

This letter Y seems to be the big, confusing letter du jour: Alys, Alyvia, Brayden, Jayk – is that pronounced “Jake”? Maybe it’s “Jack.” Maybe it’s “Jay-Kay” for “just kidding.”

And Saydee. Why, Saydee, why?

I know that, like your freshly pierced little ears, all of this was painfully inflicted upon you without your consent. And, sure, you will have a unique – dare I say “edgy” – name, which will set you apart from the Emma’s and the Lily’s and old reliable Emily and last year’s most popular girls name, Sophia, yes, even Sofia with an F. But ultimately what you will have, Saydee, is a mistaken conviction that there are no right and wrong ways to spell words, only close estimates.

How will you benefit, Kalvin with a K, other than be pushed further down in alphabetical order when they call out names and you discover that all the good candy has been picked over by Charlene, Chung Hui and Catherine with a C?

Mostly, though, I feel for the teachers, who must already deal with the traditional name variations plus the many new and wonderful multicultural names. Plus, they’re still recovering from the Mikayla epidemic of 1998.

And so, pregnant parents of 2014, think hard about your child’s name. Say no to Jaxson, shun Danyell, banish Soosan and a pox on every and all unsanctioned Zs. Trust me, your children will thank you for saving them the 50 bucks later on, or my name’s not R-H-O-S-S.


A version of this piece originally aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway” on January 21, 2014. You can hear the original audio in Technicolor here.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
This entry was posted in Family - whadya gonna do?, Turn that radio on! and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Just say ‘no’ to Nowahh

  1. El Guapo says:

    I have to ask – how many people called the CBC to complain about this piece?

    I’ve never liked the name Brad.

  2. Lily says:

    Possibly my least favorite thing ever. It makes me lose so much faith in humanity. The made up names, the awful spellings…I tell you, the end is nigh.

  3. List of X says:

    I’m just glad to see that X doesn’t yet seem to be too overused, unlike Y and Z, but I fear that it’s only a matter of time until reckless baby-namers ruin the rest of the alphabet. Or, if how they would spell it, the “Al Fabbed”.

  4. ksbeth says:

    when you sub in vowels and ‘sometimes vowels,’ like the letter y, you are just asking for trouble

  5. Robin says:

    So true! I read somewhere even that giving kids non-traditional names like that, Including weird spellings, actually doesn’t help at all in the long-term success dept. I do remember as a kid complaining to my parents about my boring name Robin Gail, why couldn’t they have at least spelled it Robyn Gayle??! But I guess I’m glad they stuck with boring, now it’s just my last name misspelled all the time.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I didn’t know there was a supposed name-success correlation. That’s like counting on zodiac signs, if you ask me.
      I like your name. It’s gentle but firm, solid. Robin Gail: Girl Detective.

  6. justaddtea says:

    I’m so glad someone finally said something. This guy I’m dating once told me he wanted to name his future daughter Elemenope. I made a joke, because obviously, he must be joking! No one names their kid after a run of letters in the alphabet (LMNOP)… Turns out he wasn’t entirely joking. He thought it sounded pretty. He has a fascination with the name Penelope, but doesn’t want to be that traditional. Yikes! I told him he was fired from naming. Forever.

  7. Oh Rosemary,
    I guess you’d not have sanctioned the name “Llewellyn” (a boy)? Or “Vyvyan” for a boy (I’m a die-hard ‘Young Ones’ fan)…I was not able to name people my favorite names, so therefore I have to have pets for them. And yes, I had a cat named Llewellyn and a fish named Vyvyan. So there…

  8. Amanda Fox says:

    I saw this lady once giving her kid “Malachi” crap for running around through the store. Somehow, it just didn’t sound right. Shouldn’t he be ruling the world? I don’t know. And for some reason, I can’t get past the name “Apple”. That was just stupid, Gwyneth.

  9. AAH! I am obsessed with baby names /name trends/sociology behind naming (I can send you some FASCINATING links if you’re so inclined, which I’m certain you are not) and this is a peeve of mine, too! It still sounds the same! They’re just doomed to a lifetime of having it spelled wrong and having to explain. GRR! Let’s put a stop to this together!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Everybody now: “GRRRRR!” In fact, that’s all our protest signs will says: “GRRRRR!”

      Send me ONE link and if I’m not fully satisfied, I’ll return it at no cost to me.

  10. Hilarious! So true. Think of the poor teacher doing attendance! I’ve seen parents go ballistic when their child’s name is mispronounced. uhhhh, perhaps you could have spelled it correctly in the first place? Just sayin.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      My original intro to this piece was about how there is endless parenting advice out there, and yet parents hate to be told what to do. So really, parenting advice exists so you can tell other parents what they’re doing wrong.

  11. Letizia says:

    Darn, I was thinking of naming my son Royse (pronounced Ross) in your honor!

  12. Do you see right through the bullshit all the time or is it just with this post? Everyone thinks their kid is so extra special. Each pregnant woman thinks she’s the first woman who’s ever been pregnant. Each name has to be unlike any other. Chris Rock said it best: “Even cockroaches have babies.”

  13. benzeknees says:

    My real birth name is misspelled. When my father filled out my birth certificate he forgot a letter. So for 13 years I had to endure the teacher mangling my name on the first day of school & all my friends laughing at me.
    My girlfriend & I were pregnant at the same time in 1980/81. My daughter was named Samantha which was not so overly popular then as it is now, so people would comment on her name. My thinking was – I wanted a name my daughter could grow into if she so wished. If she was a tomboy she could choose to call herself Sam & still be true to her name instead of trying to de-feminize some fru-fru name like Priscilla. During her life she has used all formulations of her name at different times in her life.
    My girlfriend (who was pregnant at the same time as me) saw the name Charysse in a magazine but thought it was pronounced a different way. When she first told me what she wanted to name her little girl, I pointed out the correct pronunciation & she was disappointed. So together we designed a name which guarantee her daughter would be called by the name she wanted – Characie! (in case you’re wondering the first “c” is pronounced as “s”)

  14. Jennie Saia says:

    Even some sensible names are just horrible – I could never, for instance, date a Bob. Just… no. BOB. *shudder* (Sorry, not sorry!)

  15. Elyse says:

    I am testament to the difficulties of Y. ElYse. My parents did it intentionally, as I was named after my (quite cool) great Aunt Elise. She told them to change the “I” to a “Y” so that nobody would ever call me “Elsie” (as in the Bordon spokes cow.) Tante Elise was wrong. Everybody called me Elsie and I hate them all.

    Elyse (with a y or an i) is a relatively common name, now. When I was little, I was traumatized by the fact that I couldn’t ever find a license plate — or anything else — with my name on it. That pain was exacerbated when my own mother forgot my name: http://fiftyfourandahalf.com/2013/12/12/its-the-thought-that-counts/ .

    Name children Mary. Or John. Or something easy. Spell-able. Pronounceable. Think of the children.

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