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THE AGONY OF CHOOSING A BABY NAME

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Giles from YOU THE DADDY finally understands why people look to pop culture for unusual baby names

By Giles from YOU THE DADDY

I had no idea how many people I hated until my wife and I starting discussing baby names for our first child.  

Unfortunately, while presenting our favourite names to each other during early pregnancy, our initial excitement quickly turned to disappointment when we somehow managed to veto every single option on each other’s list within a matter of minutes.

From that creepy old neighbour and that evil school bully to my bunny-boiling ex and the work colleague who always wreaked of B.O, literally every name we suggested to one another turned out to have some kind of negative connotation with ghosts from our past. 

So, ever the traditionalists, we turned our attention to the online lists of popular baby names in search of something (relatively) untainted that we might both agree on. 

But once again, we faced a problem.

While many of the baby names suggested were perfectly pleasant, all of our favourites were also, predictably, the preferred picks of thousands of other new parents. Nobody wants their first-born to be the fifth kid in their pre-school class with the same name, forced to go by some weird nickname or abbreviation in order to differentiate themselves from their classmates. 

Plus, if my overbearing parental aspirations are anything to go by, we could be about to give birth to the future prime minister or a gold medal-winning Olympian, so our little one deserves, nay requires, a name that will help them stand out from the crowd. 

I’ve since come to realise that pop culture might just hold the key to our baby naming puzzle. With its constant flow of new characters, actors and celebrity names to choose from, the possibilities are endless. As a result, my latest obsession is trawling the closing credits of all my favourite TV shows and movies in search of interesting and unique baby names.

Hit TV epic Game of Thrones is proving a great source of names that you won't find anywhere else. As far as baby girl names go, personally, I quite fancy Brienne (after Brienne of Tarth, the badass warrior noblewoman), And as for an unusual name for a baby boy, how about Tyrion (after Tyrion Lannister, the loveable dwarf known as much for his intellect as for his love of fine wine and prostitutes)? Something for the little tykes to aspire to, I say. And others agree. Four baby girls were named Brienne in the UK in 2015, and 17 boys were named Tyrion. Arya, the fearless youngest daughter of king maker Ned Stark, has been so popular among new parents that the name shot into the top 100 baby girl names for the first time ever. And why the hell not?

British parents have always taken inspiration from the pop icons and celebrities of their day. Just as there was a whole generation of Johns, Pauls and Georges following the Beatles' success (fewer Ringos though, for some reason), today you can't move for Elsas, Khloes and Kims.

I even know one couple who named their baby after a character from Street Fighter, the cult kung-fu video game, but again this is nothing new. England footballer Wayne Rooney was widely reported to have named his first-born son Kai after a character from his favourite video game, Mortal Kombat, so, clearly anything goes.

Ultimately, although my wife and I are still undecided, I’ve come to realise that there’s absolutely nothing unusual about wanting to name your child something original, even if it is after an obscure character from your favourite TV show, movie or video game.  

Baby name trends are cyclical. While certain non-traditional names may be thought of today as a novelty, it’s unlikely that they will be viewed this way forever. But don’t be fooled into thinking that there aren’t any limits on your creativity. One French couple learnt this lesson the hard way after their intended name for their baby girl was rejected and subsequently banned by local registrars in 2014. Apparently, naming a child ‘Nutella’, after the famous hazelnut spread, was against her ‘best interests’. You have been warned…

:: Giles is the author of dad blog YOU THE DADDY. You can also follow him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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