Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Unoriginally original

When Gina and I started the process of choosing names for our daughters we had several factors to consider. First there was the Greek factor. Most of the time Greek families name their children after someone specifically, be it relative or important religious figure. At the very least they choose a Greek name for sure. This gives rise to the stereotype that all Greeks are named either Nick, John or George. ... which a lot of them actually are. There was also my side of the family which tends to choose names based on their meaning (which Gina only recently realized that all names actually had meanings attached to them) and often based on a passing of initials or similar sounds(my Grandfather, Uncle, Cousin and Second Cousin all carry the initials RWS while my sistes and I all have the hard "K" sound to start our naems). What we decided was to screw all expectations from our families. We were going to choose names that we fell in love with, regardless of whether they fit into the molds expected of us. We wanted names that went well together but were independently beautiful and strong; and also names that were not overly common. There is nothing wrong with the Sarahs, Chris' and Matts of the world, but I grew up with 5 friends named Chris and 4 named Josh and we eventually just called them all by their last names only. I didn't want that for my kids. I wanted names that were familiar yet under-used. So we spent an entire afternoon sitting on a bench at the dog park going through names in a giant book one by one while we threw the ball for fat dog (who, at this time was still skinny dog because we had plenty of free time in those days to sit on a bench at the dog park and work her out all afternoon). We came up with our top 10 lists and then compared. Similar names moved on to another list which we then ranked. The common denominators (we both had the same top two so that worked well) became our girls' names. We chose them for beauty and meaning and it worked out well that one has Greek roots and one has Celtic roots so everybody could be happy. We then passed on our mother's names for the middle names. So we put all this work in to come up with these somewhat unique names - granted not as unique as Sarsaparilla but not as common as Emily, at the time the top name - you can then imagine our frustration when Gina stumbles across an article from Parenting Magazine last night listing Genevieve as one of the best baby names for 2010. And not just top 50, number 7! What the "f"?! It also goes on to predict that after a bold jump from it's 2009 standing Genevieve is destined to be the new "it" name in coming years. We didn't want an "it" name. We wanted a unique name. We wanted our daughter to be known as Genevieve, not as Genevieve K., or Genevieve Kopp or (god forbid) just Kopp. Granted, it is kind of awesome to be in the front of a "coolness" wave, but why can't I have that apply to my hair cut or my fashion sense? Something like this I really had hoped to keep as just ours. Between the two of us, Gina and I have only known 1 person named Genevieve. In 28 years just 1! I only knew of 2 people named Arianna and neither of them I knew personally. I really wanted to keep it that way. But it appears our attempts and uniqueness are just too popular. Alas, we are destined to be cool. Damn you hipster genes! Damn you to hell!


  1. My wife is German, I’m an American. We too went through a few names before deciding on a name for our son. Not all names sound the same, when pronounced in German, and the other way around. We wanted a name that would sound similar in both English and German, and that took about a week to finally find one.

  2. Oh, man! I think I'd be feeling similarly if I found one of my kids' names at the top of a popularity list. Luckily, that has yet to happen. Our twins' names are very unique and we always get one of the two following responses from people about them: 1) What beautiful names! or 2) Oh, how...um... interesting. lol
    And for the record, I think your girls have gorgeous names. :)

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