Some of the names they list come down to us from renaissance times. Barbara? Barbara is a dead name? Instead of that, you should name your daughter Meliffany, I suppose. To my way of thinking, current fashion should not drive what you name an actual baby. It's all very well for fictional characters, but your flesh-and-blood daughter's name should be a name that rings down the ages, not the nom du jour.
The thing is, naming the baby is how you begin to claim this child as your own. If you let the knowing ones of the internet select a name for your baby, even me, you have taken the first step in handing the poor little thing over to the evils of Modern Culture. Drugs. Videogames. Texting while driving. When I was a bookkeeper for the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, shepherds of the delinquent and abandoned, I couldn't help noticing that three-quarters of the children on the DYFS rolls had funny names. Let that be a lesson to you.
If you want your child to grow to be a dignified and respectable human being you have a very limited range of choices when it comes to names. Don't let anyone tell you different. You can name the baby after a relative, a beloved friend, or an admired public figure. (Not Adolph Hitler.) If you're Jewish, you can name the baby after a relative who is dead. If you're Christian, you can name the baby after a saint. If your people came from the old country—Poland, Ireland, Kenya—you can name the baby something aggressively nationalistic, but you run the risk that no one here will be able to spell or pronounce it. If you're Southern, you can name the baby, male or female, with the last name of someone in the family. That's it. Those are your choices.
You may not name your little boy Sue.
© 2014 Kate Gallison
*Blanche, Myrtle, Ethel, Barbara, Mildred, Agatha, Phyllis, Beatrice, Marge, Ruth, Gretchen, Gertrude, Martha, Opal, Rose, Eleanor, Marlene, Gladys, Josephine, Ilene