First Names: Do You Like Yours?

I did NOT make this name doodle.

We’re just one week away from finding out our little one’s gender, and then it’ll be time for the big “name that baby” exercise.

I was one of the many Nicoles, Jennifers, Jessicas and Danielles that cropped up during the late 1970s, and I distinctly remember having four girls named Nicole in one of my classes in grammar school, including me. Two or three of us were Nicole C., which was even more confusing for the teacher. When the poor teacher attempted to ‘change’ my name to Nikki for simplicity’s sake, I balked. I wanted to be known by my actual name. I won that round, but to this day, I’m hypersensitive to the fact that there are so many females named “Nicole” in the world. Heck, last week alone I had to share my name with a tropical storm that came up the East Coast and battered us here in New Jersey!

When I was in my early 20s, my friends started shortening my name to “Nic,” and it’s stuck for more than a decade. Even my brother calls me Nic now — I suppose I finally decided that the only way to provide some individuality was to accept this nickname. And it’s fits me 100% better than Nikki!

Mr. Not-So-Frugal’s name is not one of the most popular from our birth year, but it’s nowhere near uncommon, either, despite an alternate spelling.

That being said, I don’t want our child to go through life with one of the most common names out there today, but I find the names we do like are going to put our son or daughter in the same exact predicament. We’re not the type to come up with (or use) an exotic name, such as Sparrow, Pilot Inspektor or Moon Unit — let’s leave that to the brave — or insane — parents. So I’m in a quandry.

I don’t know that my name has helped or hindered me at all. It’s easy to remember and spelled in the ‘conventional’ way. But I feel lost in a sea of other Nicoles that came from my generation, making it no small wonder that I’ve managed to be the only one at my job with this first name for years on end. I suppose most women named Nicole don’t want to be journalists!

It’s be interesting to see if there’s a correlation between first names and career paths. Are more guys named Bob doctors, or are a majority of the Bobs engineers? Is there a majority of Marys in the writing business?

How do you feel about names? Would you give your child an uncommon name to make him or her stand out, or do you play it ‘safe’ with traditional or popular monikers?