So you've come up with a perfect name for your new baby. Great. Now it's time to test-drive it. Here are 12 tests to make sure you don't end up with deep regret.
The 'Rhymes With a Bodily Function' Test
I'm not one to suggest you avoid all names that can be made fun of, because believe me, the kids will find a way, (for example, "Arthur is a fart-er!"), but try not to make it too easy. Think twice about names that sound like bodily functions or private body parts. Also, do the initials test, please. Avery Shane Smith is just unfortunate.
The Bad Vibes Test
There can be a name that you love on an intellectual level, but life has ruined it for you. If it has bad vibes attached to it in any way - say, it's the name of your partner's terrible ex, or that kid in your class who would write his name on his papers with boogers, or that coworker in '97 who swiped your promotion - call it a wash and move onto a name with zero baggage.
The 'Three Emilys in Every Classroom' Test
I had to go by Michelle Woo (or just Woo) my entire life. I'm OK with that, but I would have preferred to have a slightly less common first name. Check recent lists of the most popular baby names, and maybe avoid those, lest you want your kid to forever go by Charlotte P or Oliver G.
The Supreme Court Justice Test
If you're going to dream, dream big with the Supreme Court Justice Test, which is where you, well, just imagine your kid as a Supreme Court Justice. Supreme Court Justice Ace Danger? Supreme Court Justice Reighleigh Jo? Does it work?
The Totally Average Person Test
As explained above, everyone likes to envision their baby, their precious blank slate of a human, on the cover of Forbes or as the headliner at Coachella. But statistically speaking, the kid will likely be average. Is Sting going to suit your child if he becomes a bookish teen with acne, who becomes a dad with a minivan in the 'burbs, who becomes a senior volunteer in the periodicals section at the library? Maybe not. This leads us to ...
The Unrealistic Expectations Test
Oprah, Madonna, Beyoncé, Kobe, LeBron, Bowie, Prince, Aretha. Do you really want to put this type of pressure of your kiddo starting in utero? Parents sometimes give their children iconic names, hoping that some of magic of the celebrity namesake will trickle down onto them. What it usually just gives the poor kid is a complex.
The Quick Google Search Test
Charles Edmund sounds like a fine, stately name, but do a quick web search and you'll get pages and pages of results for Charles Edmund Cullen, the serial killer nurse in Pennsylvania. Do your homework. By the way, if you want to avoid giving your daughter a "stripper name", there's an app for that. Nametrix calculates the "P-Star Quotient" of the names you might be considering. For instance, Emma is not at all a stripper name, according to the app. Candy, Kitty and Misty, on the other hand...
The International Translation Test
Your child's name might just be a name where he's from, but then when he introduces himself in another country, he wonders why everyone snickers. Here's a list of baby names that mean something inappropriate abroad. Did you know that in Argentina, "pete" is a slang term for fellatio? I googled it. IT IS TRUE. You're welcome.
The 'Yell It Across the Playground' Test
Sure, you'll be singing the name in soft lullabies as your sweet bundle drifts off into dreamland. You'll also be shouting it when you command "FOR THE LAST TIME, GET THAT BOY'S SHOE OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!" in the ball pit at McDonald's. Practise saying the name sternly, in your best Mum or Dad Voice. Would you fear yourself?
The Happy Birthday Song Test
OK, maybe we should all kill the "Happy Birthday" song. But as it's currently alive and well, it's a good test for potential names. When you get to "Happy birthday dear _________," will friends and family have to take a breath in the middle because there are so many syllables and then stare awkwardly at each other?
The Longevity Test
There was a time when I was certain I would name my future daughter Juno. Guess what movie I had just watched? Naming your kid after some pop culture thing you're obsessed with in the moment can be a dangerous thing. The name Elsa surged in 2013 and 2014 at the height of Frozen mania, but quickly dropped in popularity after that. Another tip: Maybe don't name your kid after a Disney princess. (For the record, though, while I didn't name my daughter Juno, I still think it's a very cute name.)
The Cafe Test
A super-practical way to test-drive a name: Order a drink at a cafe with it. How do you feel? Good? A little ridiculous? If you get a little spark of happiness, it's probably a good name. Some recommend also seeing if the barista can spell it correctly but I don't find that to be a very good indicator. I mean, Michelle as Missle? Come on!
If the name passes all the tests, congratulations! Now you can order eight personalised embroidered blankets on Etsy.