White Bread Names

While I love writing about such bold choices as Ferdinand and Laviticus,* I named my own son Paul.

In an age where more and more parents are trying to choose creative baby names, certain old-standbys create an unexpected element of surprise. These names have gradually become a paradox. They suddenly stand-out by virtue of their ordinary-ness.

While today’s grandparents find these names boring, and most of today’s parents would agree, our children could very well grow up to covet these names.

These names are dependable. They’re reliable. They don’t try too hard.

You Can’t Call It It classifies these names as, “Mid-Century Modern.” Name Nerds classifies these names as either “Classic Conservative” or “Classic Outmoded.” I call them White Bread names because these names convey the same image to me as the enduring primary colored Wonder Bread packaging.

What names am I talking about? I’m talking about:

Boys
Alan
Bruce
Craig
Dennis
Douglas
Edward
Glenn
James
John
Karl
Mark
Paul
Peter
Robert
Samuel
Stan
Thomas
Timothy
Todd
Walt
Wade
William

Girls
Ann(e)
Betsy
Betty
Claire
Deborah
Diane
Eileen
Elaine
Ellen
Jane
Jean
Joan
Laura
Lois
Louise
Marie
Martha
Mary
Patty
Sarah
Sally
Susan

These unassuming names are like hidden treasures, perhaps initially generating a yawn, but upon a second look begin to have a homespun appeal. Perhaps you could picture someday having a daughter named Joan.

Oh. And another thing. These names are unique among today’s children, but still popular on enough adults that you can easily find monogrammed pens, mugs, Christmas ornaments, etc.

I was reminded of this during the Christmas season, when I found this adorable mini-fireplace, with tiny monogrammed stockings to hang for each member of the family. While blank customizable stockings existed, unfortunately, none were in stock, except for ones with bones and paw prints for pets. This meant Fiona could not get a stocking. Deflated, I left the store empty handed.

Amusingly, I almost accidentally got one with a paw print for Fiona, but quickly recognized my my faux pas. Having a younger brother myself (two actually), I could only imagine the mocking Fiona would endure every Christmas from Paul. Fiona would get her revenge though. Her name will be on pre-monogrammed merchandise soon enough.

Vote on which name you feel has the most come back potential.

 

* Laviticus is included in the post about us-enders, The Next Trend in Boy Names.

 

Comments

  1. I like the more traditional names. My boys both have white bread names, but I think they’re good names and people know how to say them. 🙂 My daughter’s name isn’t on the list, but it isn’t ultra modern either.

    • Generally I prefer names that have some history but aren’t exactly traditional, like Ferdinand : ) But lately I have begun to appreciate these white bread names, especially the most “boring” ones, John, Paul, Mary.

      Since I read a lot of name blogs, even unusual names that are unique to most people, I see all the time, and they have begun to feel “used-up” to me.

  2. Edward, of course, as in Edward Cullen. 😛 (I’m a Twilight fan, if you can’t tell). I like the name Edward, but not “Eddie” and if I named my son that, he would inevitable be called “Eddie” by his friends. And like Anne of Green Gables, I prefer Anne with an “E.” It really does make a difference.

    • I like Edward too, but I also love Eddie. I have a soft spot for the old-fashioned nicknames ending in ie, especially on boys. We sometimes call our son Paulie. But I only like them as nicknames, not as given names.

      I’m probably one of the few women my age who hasn’t read Twilight. But I know a lot of parents get name inspiration from the series. I think Isla is going up in popularity because of the books. I should probably read the books. I could do a whole post of how Twilight has inspired baby names.

  3. I forgot to add, that I got a Christmas card from a childhood friend who named her son born about 3 months ago, Glen Alan, after both of his grandfathers. This seems fitting since he is the first grandson on both sides. These names are great ways to honor parents and grandparents.

Trackbacks

  1. […] some surprisingly ordinary names, such as Susanna, Martha, and George, and doing a post featuring “white bread” names, it’s time to go with old-fashioned and bold again in the same vein as Ferdinand. It is also […]

  2. […] handsome yet completely unpretentious, Douglas made a great addition to our list of White Bread names. But Douglas isn’t your ordinary surname. Before Douglas was the name of a powerful Hollywood […]

  3. […] and ice cream cones found along Western U.S. highways. Or the same was I find the charm in white bread names  like Joan. There is something about a complete disregard for “of the moment” that […]

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