Harper? Really? Could Baby Names Be Going Retro?

There have always been wacky celebrity baby names—hello, Apple—and alternate spellings, but maybe the tide is shifting back to classier alternatives.

When soccer stud David Beckham and wife Victoria, the former Posh Spice, named their new girl Harper Seven last week, no one paid much attention.

Celebrity baby names have always been good for a laugh, but the Beckhams’ choice seemed a little tame. After all, Harper is becoming increasingly popular—could it be because of Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird fame?—and Seven, well, OK, that’s Beckham’s jersey number.

I was actually impressed with the Beckhams' name choice. It seemed classy, a name to grow into. A solid name.

Remember when Bruce Willis and Demi Moore named their three girls Scout, Rumer and Tullulah Belle? River and Rain Phoenix? Gwyneth Paltrow’s Apple? We all had a good chuckle, but weird names thankfully never caught on with the majority of non-spotlight parents.

Even so, everybody wants to be different, according to a recent segment on NPR. The report focused on normal-named Laura Wattenberg, who wrote The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby. Wattenberg told NPR that parents are coming up with more creative names than ever, and that often means alternate spelling. Of course, that may be cool for parents, but a lifetime of corrections for the kid.

Wattenberg’s website is a goldmine for expectant parents who want to go with something different.

But it seems to me that while new parents may want to be unique, they don't want to be too unique.

According to the Social Security Administration, the top 10 boys names in 2010 were Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Jayden, William, Alexander, Noah, Daniel, Aiden and Anthony.

For girls, they were Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Madison, Chloe and Mia.

As you can see, these names are all spelt traditionally. That’s good news. There may be a slew of Aydens and Abygails. Has to happen. I can live with that, though. Good solid names.

When it came to naming our two daughters, my wife and I were pretty much in agreement. Pretty much.

Hillary and Allison. We thought those two variations were the most popular renderings, but of course both have suffered through alternate spellings where their names had only one “L.”

Sorry, girls. At least I was able to give you a normal last name, right?


Hey, I had no choice.

Marsia July 14, 2011 at 09:19 AM
Harper is cool name and i like it most. Its meaning is Minstrel I found it here http://www.babynology.com/meaning-harper-m1.html
Brian Soergel July 14, 2011 at 04:52 PM
I like Harper too, could be boy or girl really
Jennifer Cox July 16, 2011 at 05:52 PM
As a Jennifer born in the mid-70s I can only implore expecting parents to consult the decade's top 10 name lists and then name their child ANYTHING else!


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