Unique names ruin lives
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
Yes, it is my real name. No, it’s not short for anything. This is how it’s spelt. My parents found it in a baby names book.
For almost every single person I’ve ever met, I’ve had to give at least one of those answers—and, far too often, all of them. All because my parents decided to give me a unique name. If you have a name that’s spelt oddly, pronounced uniquely, or is generally uncommon, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
There are advantages to having a unique name. If you Google my first name, the results are mostly me, which is excellent for building my brand as a writer. People definitely remember my name: As far as I know, I’m the only Cazzy in Canada, and the only Cazzy Lewchuk in the entire world.
But giving your kid a name that isn’t well-known dooms them to a life of explaining their name. Shakespeare asked “What’s in a name?” but the truth is, names are an essential part of our being. It’s usually the first thing people learn about us. It’s our identity and our distinction.
When you name your child something odd, you’re guaranteeing that everyone they meet will be judging them, whether consciously or not, by something they can’t control. Your child will get sick of constantly explaining something as simple as their title to everyone they met. They will feel resentment towards their parents and grow up hating their name.
It follows you everywhere you go—from job applications and social media, to Starbucks, where you stop bothering just give them an alias. Your name should not be a core aspect of your identity. Your name should be a socially-distinguishable way for people to refer to you, without giving much thought towards it afterwards.
It’s not just names that stand out on their own. Odd variations of popular names—Caitlynn, Ayden, or Emilee—are in some ways even worse. The misspelling will forever lead to mix-ups, constant corrections to teachers/peers/bosses, and yes, odd Starbucks drink labels.
Some names are distinctive but well-known through pop culture. I’m talking names like Anakin, Lennon, or Hermione. Names that are almost exclusively associated with a fictional character or individual. No matter how much you love a band or movie, doing this kind of thing will just lead to worn-out jokes and references. It builds resentment, and will probably lead to your child hating the very thing they’re named after.
Your child is special enough on their own. Giving a child a name so they appear extra special only leads to them standing out in the wrong way. It gives unwanted attention to something that should be so basic to their existence, but ends up becoming the bane of it. If you want your child to grow up sick and tired of having to define themselves by an arbitrary label, feel free to give them a “special” name. Otherwise, stick with Tom, Dick, and Harry. Actually, maybe not Harry. That boy wizard ruined it for all of us.