A Quick Guide To Hipster Names

Lucy Thackray, writing in The Daily Mail Australia, is bound to generate a lot of buzz with her article about hipster naming trends.

She starts by describing hipsters as bearded, kale-munching, green juice-drinking, cardigan-wearing, bike-pedaling, glasses-wearing non-conformists who shop in thrift stores and hope to raise non-conforming children (by giving them the same oddball names that other hipsters give their children). Then she describes hipster names and provides lots of examples.

Here’s how to recognize hipster names when you see them or hear them:

-vintage names like Edna, Mabel, Edie and Ramona for girls; Ray, Stanley, or Ignatius for boys

-plant and food names like Clover, Juniper, Magnolia and Olive for girls; Kale for boys

-nickname-names like Frankie and Lulu

-names from To Kill a Mockingbird: Atticus, Scout; Catcher in the Rye: Holden, Salinger; or Gulliver’s Travels: Gulliver

-names from “The Simpsons,” like Homer, Mo, Maggie or Lennie

-names that start with the letters X, Q or Z which produce oddball names like Xena, Zola or Zeus

-names that honor musicians like Everly, Elvis, Jagger or Buddy (for children of either gender)

-masculine names for baby girls and vice versa

-place names to commemorate great trips to Arizona, Aspen, India or Brooklyn

-names descriptive of personality traits their children may display from Serenity to Rebel or Truant

I’m glad my parents weren’t hipsters. How about you?

P.S. Notice how different Thackray’s definition of “hipster names” is from the definition in my first post on the subject, which defined “hipster names” as a reflection of the culture (athletes, comic strips, authors, movie stars and music) of the ’40s and ’50s, when the term “hipster” referred to a “hip cat” rather than a contemporary, juice-guzzling thrift-store shopper who wants to name her son after Homer Simpson, Ignatius J. Reilly (protagonist of A Confederacy of Dunces) or call him Truant.

The Kind of Name You Pick Says A Lot About You

Kiri Blakeley’s article in the Stir makes a lot of sense. I suggest you read it before you pick a name. Blakeley points out that the kind of name you choose says a lot about you. So it makes sense to think about who you are, so you can figure out what kind of names you’ll feel most comfortable with. In her article, Blakely lists seven different kinds of names and the kind of people who pick them.  Here’s a brief summary plus a comment about the kind of risk people run when they stick to their comfort zone, like glue.

Classic Names: People who pick classic names like William, Katherine, Michael and Emily have traditional values and don’t want to call attention to themselves or their children. They can’t imagine picking a silly, made-up name. Risk: the names you like may strike others as boring.

Grandma or Grandpa Names: People who pick names like Millie, Mary, Harvey or Eugene that were popular many decades ago, have good old-fashioned values and relationships that are built on strong foundations. Risk: the names you like may strike others as dated or out of style.

Family Names: People who pick names like your mother’s maiden name or your grandfather’s first name have strong family values and value close families. Risk: Family names have meaning within your family but others may not understand or appreciate them.

Made-Up Names: People who pick names like Pilot Inspektor, Moon Unit, Joeliana or Bethantony value creativity and have confidence in their own creations. Risk: It’s hard to come up with a creative name that doesn’t come across as silly or strange.

“Narcissistic” Names: People who pick names that come across as self-important like Beautiful, Awesome, Prince or Princess may have overcome great odds or hardships to  conceive or have a baby. They want everyone to know how grateful they feel. Risk: It may be almost impossible for your child to live up to the name.

Unisex Names: People who pick unisex names like Bailey, Kelly, Tyler or Jordan believe boys and girls are of equal value and should be treated fairly. Risk: People won’t know the gender of your child from his or her name, which may cause embarrassment or confusion.

Hipster Names: People who pick hipster names like Luna, Isla, Fallon or Ocean may come from hip urban areas like Brooklyn, Portland, San Francisco or Austin, where people shop organic and everyone knows the latest indie tunes. Risk: How will people from different walks of life relate to your child and vice versa?

Start your search for a name for your child by identifying your values and the kind of names you’d feel most comfortable with. This may save you a lot of time and effort. Keeping the risk factors in mind can help you avoid going to extremes. (For example, not all names used in your grandparents’ generation come across as outdated. Some, like Max, are making a comeback.)



Like, 100 Totally Amazing Hipster Baby Names, Really!

This article by Michele Zipp from The Stir seems like it might be fun. (I’m always looking for fun, funny or charming articles about baby names to share with my readers.) Unfortunately, she forgot to mention what hipster names are. After staring at the list for a while I could see they were names associated with books, comics, entertainers, ballplayers and a variety of famous people (fictional or real) from the 40s and 50s. And in the process of identifying the people associated with each name, while writing this article, I realized how entertaining it might be if I identified some of the names and let you identify some, too.

On the girls’ list I found: Lana (Turner), Edie (Gorme), Stella (Kowalski, from “A Streetcar Named Desire) and Everly (an homage to the group I used to call The Everly Sisters because the brothers had such high-pitched voices) and (Little) Lulu. Here are some other girls’ names without any identifying last name or reference: Daisy, Pearl, Violet, Juniper, Wren, Evie, Piper, and Clementine. Did you figure out who they refer to?

On the boys’ list I found: Holden (Caulfield, from The Catcher in the Rye) Milo (Minderbinder from Catch 22), Atticus (Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird) Otis (Redding) and Roscoe (one of the great all-time New York R ‘n R DeeJays). Here are some other names without any identifying last names or references: Jasper, Duke, Miller, Sanford, Elvis, Arlo, Calvin and Hudson. Did you figure those out, too?

Now that I realize how much fun Michelle Zipps’ like, “100 Totally Amazing Hipster Baby Names” really are, I’ve provided a link so you can find the whole list and I challenge you to figure out why Michelle put each of those names on her list.