Thursday, January 2, 2014

When Creativity Goes Too Far

Well, now it's been about a year since I've left Utah. Wow, that feels good to say. But this post is not about my feelings (whatever they may be) about the interesting state of Utah. This is about one particular aspect of Utah culture that has always fascinated me: making up names.

Since I grew up so far away from Utah, I was pretty shocked my freshman year at BYU when I was trying to learn people's names and much to my surprise like half of the people in my ward had made-up names. Some were more "creative" than others. Some were just slightly misspelled, some just had too many letters that were capitalized, and some just seemed like they were random syllables smashed together. Wherever you are, there's always going to be a few people with more interesting names, but this seemed to be an epidemic.


"Creative" names probably don't bother most people at all, but for some reason it really gets under my skin. Everyone has pet peeves, right? I know parents technically have the right to name their kids whatever they want- but seriously- some people take it a little far.


So anyways, after years of observing this phenomenon and being annoyed by it, even thought it probably isn't any of my business, I graduated! And guess what they give you when you graduate? A program with thousands of BYU students' names on it! When I got bored during the graduation ceremony, I was going through the program and laughing to myself about some of the Utah names. Eventually, I decided that I really needed to share of these names. I found some real gems.


Without further ado, here's how I spent a few hours of my Christmas break: dividing some of the funniest names into categories for your entertainment. And to spread awareness of this issue. Haha.


A trend I've noticed during the last few years has been "Br" names for guys and "Mc" names for girls.


So some of the "Br" names...

Brandtley
Brandall
Breckan
Brinton
Brenton
Brynce
Brigg

And "Mc"...

Maclane
McKinlee
MaKinsie
Michelli
Mechaella
Mikyn

By far the BIGGEST trend were variations of the name "McCall"/"McKell"

MaCall
Mikkel
Mikal
Mickell
Mykle
McKelle
MeKell
Mykel
Mikella
Maichael

Of course, "Br" names for girls and "Mc" names for guys are also a thing.

Brodie
Breckyn
Braedyn
Brynlee (variations of this are HUGE at BYU)
Brighton
Brennelly
Bristal
Brillaine

and

McCade
Macord

Obviously, a big issue you have with made-up names is knowing what gender they belong to. Thankfully, most people included their (usually more normal) middle names in the graduation program so I could put these names in their proper category :)


The next category I came up with was names that double as nouns. Parents that are fans of butter substitutes can name their daughter Margarin. Nature fans can go with River, Glade, or Griffin. Hippie parents can choose names like Serenity, Karma, or Berkeley. White supremacist parents can go with Ivory. Parents that have Texas roots have options like Houston and Stetson. Fans of the aristocracy can choose names like Gentry (also a very common one at BYU). Parents that want to prove that they could not possibly be more Mormon than they are can name their daughter Temple. So there's lots of options for noun-names.


Like I said before, one of the first trends I noticed my freshman year was interesting names with more than one capitalized letter. MeChelleKayAnna, DeLaney, JoLynn, TyRee, LynDee, and (my personal favorite) BaCall, were some of the girl's names I found in this category. I hope one of them marries LaVar, LeGrand or LaMar, because they would make a great couple.


As I was going through this long list of names, another category I came up with were names that seem to be, hmmmmm, how do I put this.... only suitable for career paths such as exotic dancers, soap opera stars, or the person that everyone loves to hate on a reality show.


Girls:                        Guys:

Sunshine                   Bentley
Krystalee                  Sterling
Caprée                      Kempton
Destinee                   Thayne
Tawni                       Stanton
Laurette                   Grayson
Tacie                        Kendon
Essy                          Cordell

Yet another major trend I noticed was the whole 'turning a last name into a first name' thing. I think people are into this as a way to carry on the mom's maiden name, or possibly to show everyone that they're deeply committed to family history. For a very limited number of last names, I think this can actually work and be cute. At least there's a nice sentiment behind it. However, this list is about those who went too far because some names just really can't be first names. So here's the best/funniest 'last names as first names.'


Wagner

Thornton
Schafer
Lowell
Jessup (secret polygamist at BYU?)
Taft
Kimball
Crosby
Stevenson (just freaking name them STEVEN)
Jeffries
Truedson
Kesler
O'Neill

May I suggest just using those names as a middle name instead? That would be normal.


Some parents decide to name their children a traditional name that actually exists, but can't bear how common it is and then want to misspell it. I can't decide if this is better or worse than just completely making something up. But I do know that it's entertaining.


Sometimes it's just a letter or two off. Chadd. Rhyan. Steafan. Greggary. Bryon. Tylor. Zakari. Aric. Deric.

Kaycy. Maddison. Jyssica. Mehlanie. Brittainy. Eleisha. Aryel. Jenepher. Haydn.

When people start to double letter it, gets a little messy. Eleesa. Aliisa. Ellexis. Allixis. 


The double 'e' is great way to make names cutesier. Malloree. Emalee. Andee. Wittnee.


And names like Kaeli and Haleigh have a million different spellings. Oh the possibilities.


But if you're going to change the spelling to a classic name like Theresa/Teresa, at least don't add the word 'ass' into it like Tereassa's parents did.


And please, I beg you, just because Lantz sounds about the same as 'Lance' when pronounced DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY.


There's one category of names that says to me "I wanted a son, I got a daughter, so now I'm going to pretend that my daughter's my son." It's when people convert male names into female names. Actually, I'm guessing a lot of the time it's just because they wanted to name a kid after the dad. But still.


Austin ->      Austyn

Earl  ->        Earlene
Kurt  ->        Kirtley
Jerry  ->      Jerrina
Sheldon  ->  Sheldyn
Raymond  -> Raylee
John  ->       Johnna
Jared  ->      Jarelle
Cameron ->  Cameronne
Ammon ->    Ammonette
Sean ->       Shawndeen

This next category is one of my favorites. Names that are clearly a combination of other names. This seems to be a popular formula for creating made-up names.


Previn

Jadd
Travison
Dexton
Summerissa
Laurisa
Kalidawn
Jamyn
Linlea
Kimbrel
Davina
Sheliese
Jalenna
Jillesa
Sharolee
Nashelle
Tessara
Keichelle
Noralyn
Kylyn
Kellyn
Jamiece
Kaitleigh

After reading this, me and Jenna are considering changing our names to Summerissa and Jalenna.


Lastly, here's my list of names that sound like they're combinations of other made-up names. Basically, a lot of them are just sounds.


Kellus

Aubin
Trevan
Shantia
Demri
Joriann
Jenisy
Kaeling
Rustyn
Kimbrel
Talysa

Phew. That's a lot of names. So there's a glimpse into the Utah culture that I've been experiencing for the past few years.


Do you know that in France there's a law that people can't make up names for their kids? Hmmm. Just a thought, America. But really, could we all just make a commitment to thinking about the child's future life when you name your child? I promise that you can still come up with a unique name that actually exists and is spelled correctly. It's possible, friends!!





2 comments:

  1. Heehee! Well put, Marissa. I like your categories. : )

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  2. Yes! I totally agree with all you said. Luckily, my sister and I were both girls. If not we would have been given a name in the category of "nouns". I won't say what it is because my parents still actually like it. Maybe I'll tell you in person.

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