Whether you’re expecting a child, planning one for 2014, or just like being prepared, a lot of parents like to have a few baby names in store. But having a vague idea of a favorite letter isn’t always the most efficient way of finding great forenames.
The baby name finder from popular UK parenting site Mumsnet offers a new way to choose – by envisaging where your child might work and shop in the future. You simply select an ideal job, clothing brand, shopping destination, and biscuit of choice, and you’ll be presented with a selection of suitable names.
While most moms from outside the UK may not be familiar with British shopping destinations and teatime biscuits, the concept is pretty simple. Options at the top of the drop-down menus are considered posh and those at the bottom are traditionally working class.
Of course, it’s all powered by some not-so-subtle class stereotypes. If you want your child to be a hedge fund manager who wears Dolce & Gabana and shops at the upmarket London department store Fortnum & Mason, suggested names will include Hugo, Charles, Victoria, and Allegra. A window cleaner who eats at Greggs (purveyors of greasy baked goods) will supposedly suit the names Alfie and Jayden.
You can also search by place of origin, or pick a name that you’re interested in to see the social profile associated with it. A child named Gustav for instance, is most likely to be an estate agent who shops at middle class paradise, Waitrose. Obviously.
But while it at first it all just seems like a bit of fun (or outdated classism), Mumsnet users’ contributions may actually provide some rather useful information about different baby names and the way that they’re perceived. Click on a name of your choice and you can see different parents’ views on likely nicknames, interesting and unfortunate public figures with the same name, and a section for “when I hear [name]I think of…”
Say someone was considering the name Kai for their son. They may be interested to know that moms on the forum described the name as “vile” and ruined by its appropriation by England footballer Wayne Rooney.
A search for my own name will remind oblivious parents that their child will share their identity with Sesame Street veteran Oscar the Grouch (thanks mom).
Make what you will of their suggestions. But this site may still prove more useful than randomized name generators or alphabetic lists. If nothing else, it might be worth simply checking that a celebrity hasn’t gone and ruined your favorite name. That’s Apple off the list then…
Photo pbkwee (Flickr)