Not liking a name≠not liking its bearer

Apparently it’s very hard for many people to grasp that disliking, not personally caring for, or criticising a name isn’t the same as bashing a person with that name. It’s not personal. Many people, myself included, aren’t big fans of our given names, but that doesn’t mean we hate ourselves.

I’ve seen so many childish, whiny, butthurt comments on name sites, like “WAAAAHHHH! You all are being so mean, rude, and cruel! I bet you all have boring names like John and Elizabeth! You’re just jealous of people with this name! How would you like it if someone made fun of your name! My name is [whatever], and I’m not a slut, white trash, or a cheerleader! My little angel’s name is [whatever], and I don’t think it sounds like a stripper name!”

An onomastics site is supposed to provide information and honest opinions. It’s not there to blow glitter and daisies and offer positive name reviews only. Don’t get offended if someone says Nevaeh-it’s-Heaven-spelt-backwards-TEEHEEHEE! isn’t “Slavic” for “beautiful sparkly butterfly fairy princess.” It’s impossible for everyone to like all names in the world, or to have positive associations with every single name.

If you’re considering a name, you deserve honest, varied opinions. If people only kiss your ass and say, “Well, it’s not really my style at all, but what I think isn’t important. It’s your baby! Name it whatever you want,” you’re not getting unbiased information. Some names do have certain associations, like it or not. If a lot of people say a certain name immediately brings to mind trailer trash, a stripper, a dumb blonde, someone slinging fries or selling drugs for a living, or a perpetual four-year-old, you might want to take that into consideration and rethink your naming choices.

I’ve never really cared for the name Joshua, for example. Doesn’t mean I don’t respect it as an old, established name or hate every Josh I’ve ever met, just that it’s not my personal taste and that I don’t like how it sounds. There are lots of Top 100 names I absolutely hate, or at best don’t see the appeal of. That doesn’t mean I hate all the children with those names. They had no say in what they were named.

And sometimes, a name you used to dislike or have a certain association with turns into a name you like or have a different association with, after knowing or reading about someone with that name. I never liked the name Simon till I read the Leon Uris novel Mila 18, where the character with that name is a heroic Ghetto fighter, not a nerd or weak coward.

But no, I’ll never change my opinion of the horrid Nevaeh-it’s-Heaven-spelt-backwards-TEEHEEHEE! I’d hope any self-respecting girls by that name would legally change it or start going by their middle name once they’re old enough.


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