Have you ever met an UN-popular Britney, Catherine, Jessica, or Tiffany? How about a nerdy Jason, Alex, Matt, or Cody? It doesn’t matter how you spell the name or whether a nickname is thrown about in the mix somewhere, these names just SCREAM cheerleader and jock, don’t they?
How does this work?
I tested the name popularity theory all throughout High School. What I discovered was that every person who acquired a widely-known name like the ones listed above and others (you’re probably thinking of a few right now, aren’t you?) were more popular as a whole than those who had names that were either less known or less used. It seems as though we are subconsciously drawn to people who have names we hear used more often, and less attracted to people with names we don’t use or hear on as often a basis.
Think of this if you don’t believe me- ever heard of a cheerleader named Ruth? Martha? Betty? Nah, didn’t think so. But Leslie, Kelly, and Andrea made the cut, right? It seems all too clear that we are only as popular as the name we are given at birth.
Take Emma, for example. This name is riding right up to the top of the list of popular kid names, and every Emma I have ever met has had a bubbly personality that tells me they will be well-known and liked throughout their High School lives. Sorry, Abby, Liz, and Rebecca. Better luck in a hundred years. Emma, Hannah, and Isobel are taking center stage.
Don’t even get me started on boy names. Seems every Jason, Max, Michael, and Aaron I’ve ever met have had sports scholarship written all over their faces. Not so for Avery, Ted, and George. Sounds like a very odd and disturbingly true pattern, doesn’t it? Not that we can help it, we are simply drawn as human beings to the same things other human beings are drawn to. If we shun a name as geeky, nerdy, or uncool, we assume the individual given that particular name is also that way. Same can be said for the names we deem of-the-moment, cool, and always fashionable. The people lucky enough to have those names since birth seem to carry with them a right of passage through life.
It doesn’t sound fair, but it does sound consistent. I mean, every person seems to suit the name they have been given. It always seems that the more well-known people have the more well-known names. The less known, almost wallflowerish individuals have the same type of names to go right along with them. The two just go hand in hand.
Always though, there is the exception to the rule. That exception happens to be the introduction of “made up” names, names that are automatically disqualified from the unpopular/popular judgment world as they are too young to have reached a status. So all of you people with names after clothing designers, car manufacturers, and types of fruit are exempt from the torture of being predisposed to be cool or not by just your name alone. For now.
Just give us about a hundred years to figure out whether or not we think you name is popular enough to extend the honor to you.
For all you parents wondering what to name your kids, I suggest to toss this whole article aside and choose the name YOU WANT for your baby based on the name you would have wanted for yourself if you could have chosen. Always trust your reasonings for wanting and secretly wishing you were addressed by another name, regardless of how popular the name sounds or not. Just choose a name you truly enjoy. Not a name Society has picked out for you.
Hopefully one day a person’s popularity won’t seem so freakishly tied to the name they were given at birth. Maybe in the future all the Marthas and Tiffanys can be on the same cheer squad, all the Aarons and Franks playing football on the same team. Perhaps one day all names will be just what they are-names. Each enjoyed for their individuality in meaning, sound, and originality.
Not by their popularity. Wouldn’t that be great?