What’s in a name? Lots of alcohol, I think…

I’m fascinated by the choices people make when naming their children. Maybe it’s because I’m the bearer of an unusual one myself, but whenever I hear an odd name I tend to dream up elaborate theories about how the recipient’s parents made the choice to gift their child with the one they gave.

Sometimes, I also have to wonder if they loved the kid at all…  I mean, how do you send a child called Jus-N-Tyme to school with a clear conscience?  Do you budget for annual therapists’ fees to go with his school fees, too?

That should be illegal, you might think.  And, interestingly, in some countries it is.  Germany, along with a few others, prohibits parents from naming their children anything that’s not on the approved list of monikers.  That feels slightly too much like a chapter from a George Orwell book to me (where does freedom of speech come to the party, anyway?) but I have to support the idea behind it to a certain extent. I’m not saying we should all be Adams and Eves and wave goodbye to individuality completely – that would be very, very boring – but where does it end?

It ends, I’ve come to realise, someplace scary: in a world where Apple (the girl, not the fruit OR the brand name) is the epitome of cool and teachers have to keep a straight face when talking to Jermajesty Jackson in class.  Hah!  I really don’t think I could. 😉

Even though I can make a hobby of correcting mispronunciations of Juanli or laughing at the creative spelling people saddle me with (see my previous post on the topic), I know I wouldn’t want it any other way.  (My favourite is when ‘clever’ types actually argue with me about the pronunciation/spelling of the name I’ve had since before I could say/write it myself, as if I could possibly have forgotten along the way and have been wondering about it until they ‘helped’.  Really.)  It definitely gets on my nerves sometimes, but in a way, I like it!

At least it’s not boring, or so common that you need to remember my surname too, to distinguish me from a dozen namesakes.  I don’t feel like a Marie, though, and no Marie has ever walked into a room with the first topic of conversation already lined up in the same way I can:  “Hi, I’m Juanli, pleased to meet you”, I’ll say, and they’ll respond with “Juanli? That’s interesting, I’ve never heard that before…” And there we go.  We immediately have at least one other thing beside the weather to discuss, which helps if you hate small talk as much as I do.

Although, that being said, I don’t have enough fingers and toes (even if I borrow some from friends and family) to count the number of times some Dufus has heard my name and quipped, “Haha, are you, like, Bruce Lee’s sister?”  I don’t think it was even funny in nursery school – that joke crashed and burned a long time ago, but they keep making it.  Original.

I now have to admit something embarrassing.

. . .

This post was inspired by Kourtney Kardashian.  In my defence, I read something in a reputable newspaper.  It’s not as if I watched their show for it!  Although I have had a few moments where the braindead banality of it has helped me to vegetablise on the couch after a long day…

. . .

This was not one of those moments 🙂

Kourtney, sister to four other brunettes with forced K-names (how creative) has decided to call her baby girl Penelope Scotland Disick.  The first name is quite cute, but really, Scotland?

A while ago, we were at the movies to watch Prometheus, which came out at the same time as What to expect when you’re expecting.  While buying our popcorn from the friendly girl behind the counter, I glanced at her nametag:  Expect.  Interesting choice!  I’d love to talk to her mom about it!  I want to ask her what she was expecting when she was expecting Expect.  And if she’s met her expectations? Hehe…

While I was working as an interpreter on campus a few years ago, I saw a friend of mine sitting under a tree in a lonely, shadowed corner, all by her lonesome self.  I asked her why she was sitting there alone, after which she answered, “I’m waiting for Lonely.”  I couldn’t keep a straight face when she explained that Lonely was actually a girl she studied with.  I felt like I needed to give her a hug – the whole scene was just too sad/funny! 😉

It made me wonder how many other examples of such craziness I could find, so I started googling.  I found thousands of examples (apparently the madness is universal) and really giggled like a girl at some of them.  I’ve made a list of my favourites, for your viewing pleasure, so here goes.

Map me, mommy

A tribute to patriotism, or just attention mongering?  You decide.  Besides little Scotland, there are many examples on the net of kids like Ireland England, or “famous” ones like Brooklyn, or Paris (the “fame” part being slightly questionable).  This wouldn’t work in South Africa, of course.  Somehow I don’t see a new trend starting with parents naming their kids for Benoni, or Springs (can you imagine how popular she could be if she lived up to that reputation?).  Let’s hope…

Bite me

I really, really don’t understand this foodie-trend.  I like chocolate, doughnuts and cupcakes, but I have never been intoxicated enough to think that I could name my firstborn after a Kit-Kat.  I was surprised to find out how many people disagreed with me about this, though!  After all, there are people introducing themselves to strangers every day with names like Lettuce, Cabbage Haywood (no relation as far as I know), Lasagne, or Banana Bowdy.  And then there’s Dweezil Zappa (son of Frank) and his poor sister, Diva Thin Muffin.  I kid you not.

Obviously, the parents of these children were either very hungry or very high when it came to choosing names.

Pappa likes puns

As I said yesterday, I like a good pun.  I find them punny (krrrrr-dish!)  😉

But there are limits to appropriateness when it comes to using them.  Making a sarcasting remark about something dumb?  Go for it.  Giving your child a name that will haunt them into eternity?  Hold that thought…  Puns and homonyms are just embarrassing when it comes to names.

How are people like Dinner Ware, Reignbeau Rames, Ivana Tinkle, Al Coholics, or Tu Morrow supposed to stand up in front of a room full of new faces and introduce themselves?  I suspect you have to develop a very sharp sense of humor very early on.

Repeat offenders

Out of all the possible names that people have to choose from/copy/make up for a first name, why do some choose to use the same one as their last name?  If that sounded confusing, it’s because I am.  Confused.  First name?  Scot.  Last name? Scott.  Huh?

In my search, I found more of these than I’m comfortable with, actually.  Is it because the parents were too lazy to think up something else?  Or did they honestly not realise that their child would get tired of saying “No, really, it’s the same” every day? Oi.  While giggling, I also have to feel sorry for unfortunate Zowie Bowie, Cook Cook, Clayton (Clay) Clay and Kurt Curtis.  Bummer…

But You-Neeque is so unique!

Yes, I’m sure she is.  But I don’t think that’s the only thing her mom should’ve been considering when she chose it.  Do you?  Although there definitely are positives to having a name that no one has heard before (Oprah famously stood out for hers after her father misspelled Orpah on her birth certificate), it can’t be easy to wait until you’re sixteen before you can change it.  Lucky for little Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii (nope, not even making this stuff up…), her chance came when she was nine.

Read the funny/sad story here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/parents-must-rename-girl-called-talula-does-the-hula-from-hawaii-876813.html

Here are a few final noteworthy examples of “unique”-but-crazy names.  Some are from famous parents, while others were “normal” people who presumably thought they were being cute.  All of them were definitely crazy/high, but probably both:

Hysteria Johnson

Cholera Priest

Governor Bush

Greed Sister Mancini

Envy Burger

The triplet sisters: Miracle, Mystery and Mirage

Alias (as a first name…)

Pajama (pronounced PAY-je-meh, apparently)

Good Dog (yes, it’s human)

Zuma (Gwen Stefani has definitely never met our president)


Buddy Bear Maurice (Jamie Oliver dropped a few places in my book with that one)

Fifi Trixibelle



Audio Science Sossamyn

And finally, the five interesting R-siblings: Rocket, Rebel, Rogue, Racer and Rhiannon. 

Besides stripping or becoming the Mayor of Crazytown, how do these people get jobs/enter foreign countries/convince traffic officers that they’re not mocking them when they hand over identification?  In a way, the fact that they might be employed at all is sort of impressive!

The scariest thing about this list is the fact that, if you stare at the names for long enough…

They all start to look normal!

What is the world coming to?


What strange names have you come across?  Tell me about it in the comments!  If you want to see more funnies, google it, or go here: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/23631411/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/harry-pitts-worst-baby-names-all-time/


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