New Nameberry article

I had a new article posted at Nameberry on New Year’s Day! Is Name Teasing a Thing of the Past?

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I hadn’t thought about it in terms of “name teasing” when I wrote it — the title I’d given it was “Names Will Be Names,” with the idea articulated in the subead: “Living in today’s diverse name landscape, kids no longer find any name weird” — but the title really seemed to strike a nerve — I think I’ve gotten more comments on this article so far than any other article I’ve had on Nameberry! And all the comments had to do with name teasing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Hop on over and leave them on the post itself, or here in the comments.

 

60 thoughts on “New Nameberry article

  1. Love this article!! I honestly feel like name teasing is over. I’m 20 years old, and I never actually heard anyone ever bullied about their name. Even the kids with “weird” names never got made fun of. I’ve always kind of wondered where the idea of name teasing came from. Has anyone actually heard it happen? It sounds like something parents are super worried about, but doesn’t actually seem to happen.

    I’ve always kind of wondered if the comment “the child will get teased” is a cop out, like someone doesn’t have a reason for disliking a name, so they come up with one like that. For example, I really like the name Woodrow nickname Woody, but people are always telling me about how he would be teased so much, and I would think about that, except for the fact that I know and know of multiple men named Woody who have never been teased, so it seems like a bit of an excuse to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Grace, I think you’re so right. I really really think that the only way a name will be teaseworthy is, unfortunately, if the other kids find the name-bearer to be teaseworthy. Woodrow/Woody could be the coolest kid, and no one would say a word! While Michael might end up a target for whatever reason and starts being called Mickey Mouse, just because the kids want to tease, not because Michael/Mickey’s a bad name.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes!!! Exactly! It’s very unfortunate but I honestly feel like a child will be teased no matter what, so not choosing a name because *maybe* the child will get teased seems a little silly to me if you truly love the name. I think people shouldn’t be worried about whether or not their child will be bullied because of their name but worried about what actually causes bullying in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • What Kate said. My husband is very anti Peter or anything else that can be used as slang for male anatomy. Our last name is a common term for something, and he was teased enough for it growing up that he feels really sensitive about adding a first name to the mix that could inflame that. So Peter was a no-go, but I’m still sad about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It must be generational because anyone we ran the name Peter + our last name by who was our age or older (we’re about 15 years older than you, Grace), including our priest who’s in his mid-30’s and is named Peter(!) said we should probably avoid it. Or maybe you just don’t run in circles with guys who were crude growing up!

        Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t know if he was teased in an ugly way for his last name or if it just came up frequently? He describes it as “embarrassing” and actively dislikes his last name. We did go ahead and decide to use it as our family name for traditional reasons (though briefly thought of other options), but I will say that when our first child was born, he was so glad she was a girl (for many reasons), and made the comment, “She’ll get to change her last name when she gets married.”

        Now, maybe it’s because our kids are still young (2, 6, 9, and 13), or because we homeschool or because most of their friends are from devout Catholic families, or because name teasing is less common now, but I don’t think any of our kids have ever had comments made to them about our last name.

        Liked by 2 people

      • This is so sad to me. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ People used to make up funny things about my last name, but it was only ever good-hearted except once, when a boy who liked me made a crude locker room-type comment to a friend about me using my last name as part of the punny thing (trying to be cool, I’m sure), and unfortunately for him his “friend” told people, including me. I think I felt worse for the poor boy than I did for myself! Otherwise I’ve always loved my maiden name … and my super cool brothers never once had anyone make fun of them for it. (My sisters are also super cool, but I don’t know if they were teased — I’ll have to ask them.) But it also doesn’t easily lend itself to rude humor — you have to be kinda creative to think of something.

        Liked by 1 person

      • What I find most interesting is that my dad’s name is Peter and he’s never mentioned anything about being teased for it either! I wonder if it’s very specific to one or two generations?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh I’d love to know what your dad thinks! I’ve seen on some name boards that there are parents who absolutely will not consider Peter because of the other “meaning,” but then there are loads who think it’s wonderful and aren’t bothered at all. I think the other Grace is probably most troubled by the firstname+lastname combo that her son would have if she ever named one Peter.

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      • Probably not. I have a friend about 15 years older than me who is from the UK, and her father is named Peter. He was born before WWII and on another continent and they were familiar with it. I think some people tease in an ugly way and some don’t. My guess is your dad is aware of the slang term but never had occasion to mention it to you (why would you tell your daughter that? Lol!) A quick Google search notes that it’s been in use at least since 1902.
        http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/24308/peoples-names-as-names-for-genitalia
        Actually, English is an interesting language, even in our slang for anatomy. Apparently “John Thomas” was a 19th century British slang term for it. All funny. But if enough people we knew were hesitant about it, particularly in combination with our last name, including our very gentle young priest of the same name, it seemed like it was best to avoid it. We ended up naming the baby John, though, and I guess that might not be much better, at least not if we lived in 19th century England! Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! I love this link, thanks for finding it! I’ve heard that about John Thomas, which is funny because I have several family members with that name. Also, this is so right: “why would you tell your daughter that?” Hahahaha!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Check this out: “With Peter, however, there may be an additional reason why it came to denote penis: that name derives from the Greek petros, meaning stone, a material whose hardness might recall the firmness of an erection. The word is still used with that stony sense in the name saltpeter, a chemical compound that was once given to young men and soldiers to reduce their sexual ardour.” ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ

        Liked by 1 person

      • All in all, it’s my favorite name and I’m sorry we couldn’t use it as a first name because of my husband’s and others’ concern about it. Even if no one his own age cared, the fact that people only a generation older would always look at it cross-eyed never seemed wise. If it had not been for the last name, we probably would have gone with it. But, when you name someone, you’re not just giving them a first name. We will all be known by our first + last names for our entire livesโ€”for women there’s the added complication of having to accept a last name that was not originally your own even if it goes TERRIBLY with your first name! Alas. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

        Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe I will ask him, though that could be awkward, lol so you’re right he just might not have mentioned it to me. What I find more interesting is that I’ve just never heard of it and I texted a few of my friends, thank goodness they’re used to my weirdness, and they’ve never heard of it either!! Good to know if I ever want to name a baby after my dad, or Kate, for future consolations if parents are worried about the teasing potential of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love it as a combo! The men and boys in my family with the name are all descendants of my great-uncle, who was John Thomas and went by John. His son John Thomas goes by Tom; Tom’s son goes by Trey (because he’s the Third); and Tom’s grandson goes by Jack; there’s another grandson of the original John Thomas who goes by Jack as well. I love all the possibilities!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eh, you’re probably OK as long as your last name isn’t Johnson, Dick, Pecker, Ball, Nutt, Cox, etc. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 3 people

      • This is really sparked my interest, in terms of the fact that everyone you guys know know this slang, and I have no clue about it (and neither did my friends). So I decided to venture to urban dictionary (a place I normally avoid) and typed in “Peter” and interestingly enough, you had to scroll through most of the first page to find a reference that was not related to nice men with the name. And even then, good definitions of Peter heavily outweighed the bad. So maybe it’s a slang term that’s gone out of style with millennials?

        Liked by 3 people

      • I’m sure that’s true, just like I never heard of John Thomas until today (but Kate had). Also I grew up in a very cozy, sheltered family so I never heard any of these until I was at least college-aged. And I went to a public university with not many other people who had come from cozy, sheltered families like mine.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Those are the best kinds!

        Not sure if my children will look back on our family like that or not…I hope so! But sometimes I think, “Goodness, do they ever do anything besides fight with one another and disobey me?!” Then I’m not sure how cozy we are around here. Also when it is FREEZING in our house! Lol!

        Liked by 3 people

      • Yet again, we’re like separated at birth. Seriously! I think this alllll the time! I try so hard to have the kind of cozy home and upbringing for my boys as I had, and I feel like most of my time is spent dealing with the fighting and disobeying! And I too hate when the house is cold! I do dishes when I’m freezing, always warms me up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Update: we were getting new iPhones this week and there is a guy who works at our mobile carrier’s local store who I think is just SO cute, with tousled hair and gap-teeth (like my main squeeze Chris Martin, and more importantly, my handsome husband), and just an overall hip vibe. So just now I went in to get a tempered glass screen protector put on my new iPhone that they were holding for me, and while he was helping me, I noticed that his name was John, and then I was like, “Clearly we chose the right *hip* name for our curly-haired little man.” I had to literally restrain myself from gushing over his name. Lololol!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

        So I’ll try to stop crying over Peter now. Although it’s pretty deb. Definitely has a certain hip edge to it too.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I just asked my mom about this, because that’s significantly less embarrassing than asking my dad, lol, and she looked at me like “duh, of course I know it’s slang for male anatomy.” So…..yeah, it’s my generation (I asked people at 19-24 if they knew it and they said no) that don’t know it (and I guess we can assume younger too)

        Liked by 3 people

      • Yup! Well, only one boy, I don’t have many guy friends who would be comfortable answering that, but thank goodness my best friend is a boy!

        Liked by 1 person

      • When our baby John was born, he had to stay in the NICU for a little over a week, so we encountered A LOT of hospital staff. We got so many blank stares when we said his name was John. A few people even said, “What? You mean like, J-O-H-N?” It just seemed SO weird to them that we used the name! We get fewer comments in regular life because there are quite a few Johns in our tight Catholic circles. But none whatsoever on my kids’ swim teams, etc. It must be just a Catholic thing these days.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Kate, I so think we are separated at birth! Although I do not do the dishes when I’m cold, but I probably should! Goodness knows we have enough dirty dishes around here. Theoretically the dishes are my kids’ chore, but that’s one of the disobeying things…

        Liked by 1 person

      • And I LOVE that you called Mary a “somewhat offbeat, bold choice”!!! It SO is! Even among Catholic families, we only know ONE little Mary!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This convo brings to mind a movie I saw where a name revered by a Family was hilarious in its pronounciation…but that’s asking for trouble, right!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems to me a general sensitivity should always be in place, but most of the time, I can’t think, as you pointed out in your article, young ‘uns might not give it much thought at all, and, grown-ups should know better anyway! As you all are so much on the same page…a Name given with love is such a beautiful thing, no matter what!

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      • They should! But do they!

        Obviously if we had named our son Peter even given our last name (which may or may not be Johnson, Dick, Pecker, Cox, Ball, or Nutt…๐Ÿ˜‚), it would have been lovingly bestowed. But since his father did NOT want to bestow it, and plenty of others advised against it, we decided to go with another name which was also very lovingly bestowed, his great-grandfather’s name, and the name of one of my most beloved saints, St. John the Baptist. So it was a happy, though slightly bittersweet for me (since I do so love the name Peter, especially as a brother name to our older son, James), ending.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’d never suggest someone else couldn’t or shouldn’t name their child that! Especially if they have a normal last name! I wouldn’t even suggest they avoid naming their child Tyrannie if they REALLY wanted to, even though I think it’s cringe-worthy. (Have actually met a child named this.) Or even a rhyming name, like Kerry Perry. If it’s meant to be a gift and not a joke, then I support their choice even if it’s not to my taste. But sometimes naming choices are hard, likevsettingbaside your favorite name because your husband hates it or it turns out it rhymes with his last name which you couldn’t have known when you picked it out before you even met him or it has an unpleasant connotation.

        Liked by 2 people

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