The American Influence - Baby Names

One of the first baby name books that I picked up came from a local charity shop, and looked promising, apparently with over 100,000 suggestions (that's a large pool to fish from right?). What I didn't realise at the time was that the book was an American publication, which shouldn't have made a huge difference to it's user-friendliness, except, I suddenly realised, that naming a baby in America is a crazy business.
The name "Daniel" isn't on my shortlist, but I looked it up anyway upon realising how odd this book's contents were, and considering Daniel a particularly "normal" name, and was it listed? No. 100,000 potential baby names and "Daniel" was not a suggestion. There was, however, an entire page dedicated to possibilities for those who particularly wanted to name their child after well known bull fighters. My friend has a similar book, also American, which even lists names that would be suitable for those parents inspired by notorious serial killers. Both of us were given suggestions in our books if we foresaw our children growing up to be checkout operatives (because certain names are apparently better suited to working a till.)
Based on my (short lived) experience with this book, I was delighted to receive an email this morning from the lovely people at Netmums, who were particularly excited by the latest baby name trends in America, which are "yet to hit the UK". These are some of the most popular American baby names at the moment, which do not feature in the UK Top 100. The emphasis being on the fact that they probably will feature eventually, so you should bag them now if you're expecting.
Let's have a look shall we? These are my personal responses by the way, and are entirely subjective! I'm sure we'll all disagree.
Riley - Boyfriend's eldest son's name - bloody trend setter!
Kennedy - very American thanks to the presidential link, but I like it for a girl. A bit.
Aaliyah - not for me, it may not be in our Top 100 but there seem to be hundreds of variations of this traditionally Arabic name about (I know several Aliyas).
Brandon - Bit of a sore point, I really fancied a Brandon in school (never got anywhere) but I really like the name, just couldn't use it because, you know, unrequited love and all that.
Autumn - Yes! I'm loving nature inspired (arguably slightly hippie) names at the moment. Annoyingly, I'm having a Summer baby and don't like the name Summer.
Brooklyn - As in Beckham. No.
Angel - Love Angel for a boys name (on the basis that angels are male celestial beings, Gabriel probably being the most well known outside of the religious community) I don't really understand it as a female name, like I never understand why only girls are cast as angels in school nativity plays, it is as sensible to me as a girls name as calling your daughter "Boy". I'm also a huge fan of Angel in Tess of the D'urbevilles as a male literary character so it gets points there from me. Oddly though, because angels are seen as girlie for no apparent reason outside of church, I suspect a male child called Angel would actually get picked on loads.
Gianna - This is a new one for me. I don't love it, and I don't hate it.
Jace - There is a small boy I often see with his Mum, called Jace. For reasons I won't go in to here, this has put me off. I imagine everyone would assume it was short for Jason too.
Hadley - Hadley has been one of my favourite girl's names for a little while, but it was also the name of one of my favourite soft toys (a large apron wearing dog) when I was little which is why I can't really feel entirely comfortable using it for my baby (same goes for Harriet - a pink hippo).
Bentley - As in the car?
London - Oh America. Isn't this one of Britney Spears children's names? It's actually not horrible but I do worry about the link between place names for babies and the hint at where they were conceived, which is just awkward.
Nolan - As in, Sisters?
Savannah - dry, inhospitable, barren, probably kill you if you stay there too long. Giraffes.
Chase - One of the only female friends that Seb will admit to having at school is Chase. It's not really my style but as it's not a girlie name I've always quite appreciated it amongst the sea of Evies and Lacies and Darcies and Graces.
Mila - Kunis. Boyfriend definitely would. No.
Easton - To me, this is just the word Eastern spelled wrong? Just me?
Piper - love it. Grew up watching Charmed, so...
Avery - Like it, does make me think of budgies, but it's not offensive.
Addison - not for me, mainly because it just sounds like someone left the M off of the more popular Madison.
Ryder - Not my style, at all. Plus if you practice shouting it across the park, you sound a bit unapproachable...
Hunter - thumbs up, and I'm not just saying that because one of my pregnant friends has already called her son Hunter. I wouldn't go for it, because it's a tad too "cool" for me, and there's a blatant Gladiator reference, but I do accept that it's cool and that Hunter from Gladiators is rather obsolete these days!
Grayson - Since when was this an American name?
Brianna - So not "me", it's a little bit too smiley smiley American for me! Makes me think of cheerleaders.
Asher - I'm biased but I'll never put down another "Ash" name!
Genesis - Wow. This is an almighty Bible meets the 70's name. I'm not sure whether people would assume you were deeply religious or a Phil Collins fan, not that you can't be both. If you are both, then this is a winner surely? I'd still probably rather go for Phil though... or even Colin...
Stella - Again, not convinced that this is very American. I like Stella but I said that once and apparently it's very "common" - I liked the star reference, but whatever.
Aubree - Love Aubrey, love Audrey even more. Dislike this immensely.
Zoey - Love Zoe. See above.
Serenity - Nope.
Peyton - I always thought is was Peighton? Is this an alternative or an original spelling? I'm not even sure!
Camden - Market.
Kaylee - Oh stop it, it's Kayleigh. Which is totes 90s.
Penelope - Now we're talking. I've always loved Penelope, she's one of my favourite characters from classical literature (I studied Homer to death for A Levels) and Penny is cute. I have a weird suspicion that Boyfriend would never allow this on to a shortlist but I am for it. Plus those who didn't study Homer to death for A Levels, would probably think Pitstop (who I'm also a fan of).
Brody - Too close to Boyfriend's name.
Wyatt - Closely linked to one of Boyfriend and my favourite restaurants, so bit odd.
Jackson - I know a really nice dog called Jackson. Which isn't reason enough to discount it. The Michael reference is though.
Levi - Went to school with a Levi. He was an unpleasant child. He grew up to be an even more unpleasant adult and is now in prison.
Jordan - One of my middle names.
Xavier - Correct me if I'm wrong but I've always assumed that people only call their child Xavier because it begins with X, and therefore the child gets kind of cool initials. Apart from our child, whose initials would be XL.
There are lots of other American names gaining popularity already here in the UK. I think the Americans got excited about using surnames as first names before we did (hey to the Parkers and the Coopers and the Baxters and the Andersons.) They're also more up for giving masculine names to their daughters than we are (a "trend" that I personally quite like - Hi again to the Parkers, along with the Elliots, the Drews, the James' and the Reece's) They quite like a place name baby too, as the list above hints with Brooklyn and London (last pregnancy I vaguely wanted a daughter called New York, I've never even been there, I just liked the Paloma Faith song).
Do you find yourself drawn to typically American names? It's funny because in my experience, a lot of Americans love an old school English name, especially thanks to their appreciation for our Royal Family (shout out to all of the American Georges and Charlottes, Catherines and Williams, Harrys and of course, the Elizabeths). My American friend has a four year old Charlotte though... ahead of the game there!

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