If you ever work in the clerical field of any type (whether it be as a receptionist, librarian, telemarketer, or in Human Resources), you often come across hundreds of names daily. This amounts to a myriad of names that you may come across, for both boys and girls. It, therefore, isn’t hard to make some generalizations about names and naming children.
First Generalization: People like to name their kids generic names. Especially immigrants. Why? Because obviously, their non-American name would very likely be pronounced wrong, perhaps even turning into something vulgar in the English language. For example, Bich is a common Vietnamese name for a girl, meaning “jade.” Now Jade is a rather nice name, but imagine pronouncing Bich, yelling it out in the waiting room full of adults and kids. Someone is bound to misinterpret the situation and try to cover their child’s precious ears. This is why we have so many Michelles and Tiffanys in the world. Combine this with a common last name like Chan or Wong and you can see where some confusion and mix-ups may occur. Don’t get mad at people who confuse your kid for another Michelle Wong. It is totally not their fault you named your kid such a common name.
Second Generalization: People like to name their kids “unique” names. Why? Maybe it’s to negate the generalization stated previously, but seriously, “Apple” is not a name. Apple is a fruit to be eaten. Do you see the possible bad interpretations of this name? In today’s world, whether we like it or not, names can affect how someone is perceived. Will “Apple” ever get the chance to be CEO of a large company? Very unlikely. Why? Who is going to listen to a guy or girl named Apple as the head of a corporation? Seriously. I am sure if they had the potential to be in a high executive position, the first thing he or she would do would be to change their name to something more mundane like John or Jane.
(Additionally, if you want your kid’s name to be pronounced a certain way, place an accent in the name and accept that people will likely say it incorrectly the first time. If you name your kid Françoise, put the cedilla in the name. If you name your kid Zoë, put the umlaut in or name her Zoey. If you don’t write it, how are people suppose to know it’s pronounced a certain way?!)
That brings me to the Third Generalization: People like to give their children unisex names. This means that the name can be interpreted as either feminine or masculine. Already you can see the problems that will arise when these children start going to school. 99% of the time, Kelly will be a girl and Ryan will be a boy. Do not get upset if people make this generalization without taking into account that your kid may not be what their name would commonly suggest.
No wonder parents fuss over naming their kids.