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THE UNRELIABLE GUIDE TO… NAMING YOUR BABY

By Nat Shepherd on July 18, 2017 in Other

Picture: Frances Houseman

If you’ve spent nine months incubating a new human being, I reckon you’ve earned the right to call that human being whatever you like. However, you have to understand that a name is a powerful thing. We prejudge people based on their names – you probably have distinct ideas about what a ‘Rupert’ would be like compared to a ‘Tyler’. I have a friend who says he never trusts a ‘Dave’. Whatever your prejudices, it is a fact that our name defines us culturally and socially. According to tradition, a witch will never give her real name because knowing someone’s name gives you power over them. Names are that important. So if you are about to name your little bundle of joy, read on. The Unreliable Guide has some tips and tricks to prevent your little tacker having the piss taken out of him/her for the rest of their life…

Spell it Right
Look, it’s time someone pointed this out. Stupid spellings make you look illiterate, not clever. Plus you will consign your dear child to a life of explaining themselves:
“No, sorry, it’s Xavier with a ‘Z’. Yes, my parents are f**kwits.” This routine will be with them for the rest of their life, deed poll name-changing notwithstanding. Do you really hate them that much? 


Consider Surnames

When naming a child you have to take their surname into account. HAVE to. If your surname is ‘Knight’, maybe don’t call your daughter Friday. If your surname is Time or Side, calling your son Justin simply giftwraps him for all future bullies. Worst of all, if your surname is Staines, Head, or Less, please don’t call your son Richard.

Nicknames and Diminutives 

Most names can be shortened and we love to use the diminutive of a name here in Australia. Dave becomes Davo, Jonathan turns into Johnny or Jonno, Margaret is Mags or Maggie, Elizabeth can be Liz, Lizzie, Lil, Lilly, Bet, Betsy, Bettie, and so on. You’ll need to think of all the possible nicknames your child can be called before lumbering them a name. I refer you again to poor Richard Head. 


The Weird Ain’t Wonderful 

As I said from the start, if you’ve created a human being from scratch you get to call it what you like, but give the poor little sod an odd name and they really won’t thank you. Kids want to fit in. They can make up freaky names when they are older and need to redefine their inner beings. No five-year-old wants to be the only Honey-Blossom, Kaizyle, or Baghwan-Boogie-Boy in a room full of Davids, Sarahs, and Janes. 


Finally, even though the Unreliable Guide has no business telling you what to call your little ones, remember the Johnny Cash song, ‘A Boy Named Sue”. Sue ended up shooting people. Names really do matter. 


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