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Recently in baby names

July 16, 2007 | Tate Linden
A close friend recently confided in me that they read my blog, but really only find it interesting or entertaining on days that I'm "pissed off" about something. Typically I find a topic that irks me for some reason and it'll take me a good week or two to get the rant out of my system.

My rants are a bit like Columbo. Just when you think I'm all done I'll come back with "just one more thing..."

Anyhow, my current issue is the fact that I can't figure out how some of my peers in the industry do their stuff. Last Friday's post seems to have been well received (though may have something to do with me buying tickets to Aruba for a few people) and I find that I'm unable to get myself off the same topic. Though this time it has a slightly different focus - we're back to people's names.

There's a link on Maryanna's website (that's Maryanna Korwitts, not "Kowitts" as I'd printed last week) that allows you to get a first name report card for yourself. You can try it here. It's pretty cool.

...Except that it sucks for me.

Sure, my reportcard says I'm a "Logical, Pioneering, Practical Individualist" but it also suggests that I'm not creative, I'm not sexy, I'm bad at relationships and I have trouble getting my ideas across. On the plus side, I'm somewhat healthy, and I'm gonna be pretty well off in the money and job department. (If I were a female I'd be pretty sick, so I had some good fortune there, too.)

What really gets me, though is that according to Maryanna I share my "first name vibration" with Bob Dole. (And also Babe Ruth, Frankie Avalon, and Kate Jackson, but who cares about them?) Excuse me, but Tate Linden does not share anything with Bob Dole. Tate Linden wouldn't know where to find Bob Dole to share anything with him even if Tate Linden wanted to. Tate Linden is not, however, above making jokes at Bob Dole's expense.

I know that no one is saying that a name guarantees a particular personality - but with the name "Tate" I just can't figure out where these ascribed qualities are coming from. I know there's a Tate George (baskeball player) and a Tate Donovan (actor) but few of us Tates have made much of a name for ourselves to establish a precedence. Most of what I've seen has shown that folks with 'my' name are pretty creative. Is it that we folks with the name don't know we're poorly endowed (namewise, of course) and thus aren't held back by our moniker's downside? Anyone have any idea why "Tate" isn't seen as an artisticly talented sex god who is like totally into monogomous committed relationships and can talk like Jon Stewart (though is much taller, of course)?

What I wouldn't give to have a name like Ava - which is evidently a "potential winner!" (Along with Dyanah, Samara, Ericha, Kevan, Margery, Leigha, and dozens more. The thing they have in common for me? Aparently I have never met anyone who is a potential winner.)

But what peeves me more than anything else is this: Deepak is sexier than I am. Oh, and my little son Theodore is completely hosed. Unless he goes by TJ, or Theo. (And no, Teddy and Ted aren't too good either.)

Major apologies to both my wife and son. For different reasons.
July 12, 2007 | Tate Linden
I'll be the first to admit that naming your kid takes a lot of effort, thought, and in most cases comprimise. I would even go so far as to talk with someone - perhaps a historian or psychologist - about whether or not the name has any negative connotations. You could even open up any one of hundreds of naming books that tell you what every name means - or one of dozens of websites that allow you to search for names by their meaning.

One should also take the thirty seconds necessary to ensure you're not creating a catastrophe down the road when little Albert Sammy Smith is asked for his initials.

For me, naming was an intensely personal thing when it involved my own son. The question of who we wanted to honor (a great grandfather and both of his grandpas), how we wanted him to have options as to what he would use (Ted, Teddy, Theo, Theodore, TJ, etc...) to express his own personality...

Now that you know my views - read this article.

Yes. People really do that for a living.

Once you close your mouth (or stop laughing - if you're a corporate namer) I'd love to know what you think. Is there a place for people who offer a baby naming service where the names "Liz" and "Doug" are seen as first and foremost pertaining to fat kids? (Our new intern, Liz, would prove an exception to this rule, by the way.) Sure, almost every name is going to have connections for people - but if you know a Doug from decades ago who was the brightest and skinniest kid in your 3rd grade class aren't you going to have different thoughts about the name?

For me, I'm hoping that little Teddy doesn't select Theo as his preferred name. People in generations before and after mine don't understand why. But ask a Gen-Xer and you'll get the same answer every time: "Oh yeah - that's way too Cosby." If you only know one person with a name, then that name will be inextricably linked to that person in your mind. I only know one Theo - and though I did think he was pretty cool in the eighties - I don't really want that in my mind when I think of my son.

I'll make my question more clear. Is there a reason to pay $350 to get someone else's prejudices and experiences applied to your own flesh and blood?

Whaddaya say? Are you going to hire self-named "Nameologist" Maryanna Kowitts?
May 28, 2007
May 26th, 2007 at 8.30 pm Theodore Joseph Linden was born. Weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz. Congratulations Sarah & Tate!