B&HPerhaps it’s just as well that I am without issue because had I ever had children, I’d have had two: a boy called Tadhg and a girl called Maud. And I wonder how happy they’d be with their solid, old-fashioned names in a world where calling your twins Benson and Hedges is perfectly acceptable and calling your kid ‘Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii’ gets her made a ward of the court so that she can, at nine, legally change her own name.

Sweden has blocked attempts by parents to name their children Superman, Metallica, and Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 – mad. But a not-so-fortunate kid in New Zealand is walking around with the name ‘Number 16 Bus Shelter’. I can’t help wondering at the logic of needing a licence to have a TV or get married but being able to have kids and name them at will.

I know of just two parents in the last 20 years who have called their daughters Mary. But it’s starting to come back in vogue, seen as it is as a solid, traditional name. I was christened Mary Martha. And for years and years and years I hated that name. Whenever it was trotted out, I knew I was in trouble. For my cousins, it was the weapon of choice when it came to needling me. But then I realised that Martha is quite a cool name and now I quite like it. But it’s too late to go back to the double barrel…

I was copied on an email not long ago, one with quite an extensive To list. I’d have used BCC myself, but hey, I wasn’t sending it. I always look at who else has been addressed and this time I laughed out loud. The descriptives used to describe the journalists included were amusing: bald guy with glasses, quiet chap from ME, woman with donkey laugh. This is what happens when your email address doesn’t state your name. You get qualified. I got off lightly with Merry M.

I do some work for a UK publisher who uses typesetters in India and the Philippines. I have trouble with some of the names and rarely, if ever, can identify the gender behind the name with complete certainty. Today I got an email from a new contact whose name is … Lovely. The email address itself doesn’t help in clarifying who is behind this moniker so I don’t know if Lovely is a lovely man or a lovely woman. But it’s a lovely name, Lovely. Made my day.



2 replies
  1. andyboda
    andyboda says:

    Mary, Given my love of history, I’ve been fond of “old” names most of my life and I’m embarrassed by the trend started by my generation [ Free, Moon Unit etc.] to saddle unsuspecting infants with monikers that will get them more than their fair share of grief growing up. I think Maud is lovely, and the only problem I had with Tadhg [beautiful sounding and unique] is that when I went on You Tube to hear the correct pronunciation I found a link to all those great Irish names and spent the next hour going from names to individuals to kings and queens to Irish history. Not complaining, being retired does have its perks, free time to study what I wish being one of them.


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