I know you’ll all understand …

I had a funny conversation this past weekend about names — I was talking to a couple older people (older than 70), and I was telling one of them the nickname that one of my boys goes by. “That sounds like a name better suited to a grown man with a cigar hanging out of his mouth!” he said, good naturedly but with the unmistakable tone of what were you thinking? The other person in our conversation, who knows my little guy and his nickname, burst out with, “Yes! He sounds like a stevedore down on the docks!”

I can’t tell you how much I loved both comments! Haha! I know they weren’t meant to wound (we were having a fun conversation up to that point anyway, so I think they were kind of just going with the tone — kind of jokey, kind of roast-y — and besides, I get that older generations have a different taste in names than younger), and the fact that they indeed reveal a little of what they really think of the name (not positive) didn’t matter to me at all because one of the things I love about his nickname is the Old World, little bit fusty feel it has. I’m sure they thought I was crazy when I said, in response to their “man with cigar” and “stevedore on the docks” comments, “Thanks! I love that!” 😀

30 thoughts on “I know you’ll all understand …

  1. Haha! It’s that phenomenon of tastes skipping over generations. We have a Rosalie (great aunt) in our family. I know my parents would side-eye me for passing it down! “What about Carla? Or Lisa? Why fussy Rosalie?” :). (That said, my mom is actually great to bounce name thoughts off of. The generational differences just occasionally peeps through).

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  2. I find that topic – differences in name preferences through the generations – intriguing and often funny. Recently my 15 year old son was talking about his group of friends. There is a Catherine in the group who goes by full name. All the other girls in her friend group go by nicknames that end in “y” sound. So the group decided she should be “Cathy” and the boys call her that. She dislikes it because she says “Cathy/Kathy is an old lady’s name.” I laughed because to me Kathy is not an old lady’s name, it is a little girl from the 60’s/70’s (so apparently my generation is old ladies now – lol).

    Speaking of “old lady names” – my sister named a daughter Agnes (11 years ago, before I was hearing it anywhere in the Catholic circles) and I said it was an old lady name. My oldest son indicated it was a “dead lady’s name” because it was that out of fashion. And he was probably right. At that time I put the name with what to me were old lady names like Bertha, Ethel, Mildred. It has grown on me as my niece is adorable and it fits her. And St. Agnes is an awesome patron.

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  3. I love this! I love names like that. We have relatives where the wife is in her mid-30’s and the husband is just over 10 years older. She likes names that I would consider “hipster”—mostly even a little too “cool” for me! And her husband only likes names of people born around the same time as him (late 60’s). So she’s been pointing out every instance of a Nicole, Jennifer, Lisa, Kelly, Heather, and Dana who are GRANDMOTHERS. She’s getting such a kick out of it and I’m actually surprised by how many people with those names really are coming into the grandmother role now.

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  4. On a recent ferry trip from the Netherlands to England I talked with a German lady while we were waiting to disembark, and we got onto the subject of names. She asked my daughter’s name (Gwendolyn) and made very approving noises, and contrasted it with the names of her grandchildren (who are about Gwen’s age), saying that in Germany “Older parents — like you — tend to give more classic names, while younger parents go for more French names”. I knew what she was trying to say (we were communicating in a mix of English and German, neither of us speaking the other language very well), but inside I laughed and laughed and laughed at being pegged as “an older parent”. I suppose in her demographic, I am, though in my demographic (academics) I’m on the younger side.

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  5. It’s like the name Walter. I personally think it would be cute on a little boy…. But my parents/aunts/uncles/cousins/etc would wonder what on earth I have done to my little boy….and cringe every time they heard the name. Its my 90 year old, quite crotchety, grandfathers name! We would never live it down! But I have a feeling the name is making a comeback….even if Grandpa Walter is old and grumpy 🙂

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    • Haha! Those kinds of names are totally coming back! The story I posted here isn’t the first time relatives have been like, “You’re thinking about WHAT name??” But they all come around, once the baby’s here and named. 🙂

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  6. So funny! We love old man names, so we just go with it and don’t announce the name until the baby is here (and do so via email or text). We still got a couple wrinkled noses at Arthur, but whatever.

    I have to admit though, I’ve been having a twinge of naming regret lately over our Mark. I didn’t follow names much back then, so didn’t consider its bell curve. We love the name, and his namesake. But whyyy are there so many middle aged redneck Marks? Gah! Middle-aged man is not nearly as hipster as old-man. At least the Biblical reference keeps it from being totally in the Bruce/Keith/Ken category.

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    • 1. I love Arthur.

      2. I love Mark. It would be on my list except it’s my cousin’s name. He is a handsome, tall, athletic (collegiate level), intelligent (Master’s degree) man in his 20’s from New England who recently joined the Marines. So my biggest association with Mark is basically 100% awesomeness.

      I can’t actually think of another Mark off the top of my head. I know a Marc (I mean, same name, right?) who is a total hipster though in his early 20’s. So yeah, does that help? 🙂

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      • 1. Oh my he sounds amazing! Is he single? 😉 (not for me! I know some really great girls)

        2. I have a Mark in my life who’s a wonderful person as well, low thirties. And there was a Marc in my class growing up who was one of the cool kids, so …

        3. My amazing husband just reminded about Mark Darcy (Colin Firth!), AND one of his best friends from growing up who’s really cool, AND Marky Mark, who has a checkered past but who just opened for the Pope. Mark’s got it going on!

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      • How could I have forgotten about Mark Darcy????? (Colin Firth, *swoon*).

        I think my cousin Mark has a girlfriend?? I am not sure. Next time I talk to him, I’ll have to ask lol!

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