The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 October 2007

What's your name? Is it Mary or Sue?

Of course, what Don and Juan (Roland Trone and Claude Johnson) really wanted to know was in the next line: "Do I stand a chance with you?"

And they're not asking if her name is Deirdre or Elspeth, which brings us to this discussion at Jezebel:

"What's your ideal name for your perfect girl?" And while I'm weirded out that this is something guys actually devote brain energy towards, as a person with an unusual name, I often think about what names mean, what feelings they invoke, whether they sound pleasing, are fun to say, seem sassy, smart, cute or sexy. Even if you're open minded, don't the names Mildred and Ethel inspire a certain mental picture? It may not be fair, but it happens.

That mental picture is "old," which seldom seems "sassy, smart, cute or sexy," and being old, I should know. While Ethel was the 8th most popular name for girls in the 1890s, and Mildred hit #6 in the 1910s, both names were considered hopelessly passé by 1980. (Stats by The Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager.) I can't help but wonder if maybe the names you consider sexiest are the names that were popular around the time of your adolescence: on a whim, I keyed in a dozen names that for some reason push at least one of my buttons, and all but one of them peaked somewhere between 1950 and 1980, followed by a descent into desuetude.

I'm also guessing that what guys think along these lines is colored by how they were treated, or how they think they were treated, by someone by that name.

Posted at 4:21 PM to Almost Yogurt


"What's your ideal name for your perfect girl?"

She's supposed to have a name? Next they'll tell me she's supposed to have a face, and a personality.

Posted by: McGehee at 6:01 PM on 19 October 2007

My favorite name for a girl is Krista -- which just happens to be the name of the girl that I love!

Posted by: david at 11:29 PM on 19 October 2007

Mildred? Ethel? Whatever happened to Henrietta, Wilhelmina, and Hermione?

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 5:34 AM on 20 October 2007

How come Moon Unit never took off? And how come no one names their kid Adolf anymore? That one's due for a comeback, no lie.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 12:48 PM on 20 October 2007

"Adolf" was dealt the death blow by Carnac the Magnificent, as follows:

"Napoleon, Alexander, and Adolf."

[rips open envelope]

"Name two conquerors and a meat tenderizer."

Posted by: CGHill at 1:26 PM on 20 October 2007

Some females in my family through the last four generations before mine: Prairie Hinkle, Lyda Mae, Marguerite Sands, Delsa Mae, Beulah and Eulah (twins), Lucinda Devilla, Harriett Henrietta (named for her two grandfathers), and really...need I go on?

My name may have been THE most common for its age, but somehow, I can live with that.

Clarification:

Somehow I feel damn lucky.

Posted by: Jennifer at 6:33 PM on 20 October 2007