…that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

Even Romeo and Juliet had identity problems. Granted, theirs were love-related. However, it doesn’t help introducing yourself to a potential date when your name is “Tula does the hula from Hawaii”, or “Number 16 Bus Shelter”. (I do wonder about this last one and where mum & dad were when…)

New Zealand, like a number of other countries, released a list of 77 names parents can no longer give to their children after the above two slipped through.

Playgrounds can be a tough experience particularly if there is something as easy as an odd name to single you out. It’s not too long ago is it, to remember just wanting to be one of the group and not be taunted for being conspicuous for the wrong reasons.

Zowie Bowie is now Duncan. Obviously too many years of ridicule had an impact.

A lifetime of corrections, nickname traps or a name not to live up to like oh let’s say, Adolf, are some of the stressful considerations you can be up against in preparation for signing the birth certificate.

There may be no choice at all, if you are southern European with staunchly traditional heritage, so that’s another dilemma if you feel the need to rebel.

If you are considering something non-traditional, check out the meaning as a start. For example, Samos might be a nice sound and not too different from Samuel, Samson or Sam. A little fact finding will reveal it’s Biblical for “full of gravel”. Hmmm, not so appealing.

Fikrit may not be an unusual name in Turkey but in an Anglo world it could lead to a lifetime of torment. When I met a Fikrit all I could picture was his parents looking at their adorable, sweet newborn and thinking “… yes of course he looks like a Fikrit”.

How about Hippo, Popeye and Turbo, chosen by parents with what I’d suggest is plain silliness. Also beware of spelling. Tiffany will not be happy spelling out Tiffphanney when signing up for Girl Scouts.

And sometimes the best of intentions can go array. Unfortunately for my friend Blazenko, his parents thought they were doing the right thing, but Croatians spell phonetically. At role call on his first day his teacher called out “BRAIN”, aka Bri-an, and 12 years of school yard taunting and psychological damage ensued.

All I’m saying is consider all the consequences. And be kind.


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