Names have always put me in a bit of a quandary. I’ve never been one for nicknames, unless I’m being highly sarcastic (which if you know me well, is in fact most of the time). ‘Imogen’ seems to be abbreviated to all kinds of horrors; ‘Imy’, ‘Imo’, ‘Imy-G’, even ‘Starkinator’. I recall one time being mistaken for an ‘Emma-Jane’, but I’ll save that complaint for a future post. Being blessed, or perhaps cursed, with a surname like Stark, it’s difficult for me to stray from the world of Iron Man and Game of Thrones. Whilst I appreciate the witty nature of the pop culture references, the many times I’ve been asked if Tony was my dad or if winter is coming can get a little repetitive.
To be honest though, I’ve gotten away quite lightly with Stark. My other names (Imogen, Laura and Elizabeth) are all pretty standard these days, despite that they’re so ridiculously posh. Occasionally, I come across someone who compares me to the infamous Imogen Thomas from Big Brother. Just brilliant. (Please do not sing her jingle to me. Ever.)
Consider the poor sods who’ve been named after Disney’s latest fad, Frozen. Whilst Anna has been acceptable for quite some time, Elsa’s on the rise, and who’s to say whether or not a little Olaf will make an appearance soon?
Any Game of Thrones fan will know that Khaleesi and Daenerys are popular girl’s names since the series has hit new heights. I’ll admit that I quite like the two but I can’t imagine a world in which my daughter is called Daenerys Stark. Imagine the uproar about Targaryen vs Stark!
My largest disgust with baby names and pop culture stems from Peppa Pig. Any child named Peppa has now most likely been named after a pig. A cartoon pig. Who snorts. A lot. Really?!
However, I don’t have much opposition to Hazel, Augustus and Isaac from The Fault In Our Stars, probably because John Green is a literary god and any name his characters don will be acceptable. Likewise, Piper from Orange Is The New Black to me is fine… if you want your child to be known as the pretentious drug trafficker who had pie thrown for her. If OITNB is as popular as we think it is, are we going to see names such as Poussey and Crazy Eyes on the rise? Maybe Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl or Dandelion will make an appearance in future primary school registers.
Will Anastasia and Christian follow suit bearing in mind the unfortunate popularity of the recent 50 Shades franchise? Imagine knowing your name was chosen all because your Mum (or more worryingly, your Dad) read some cheesy sex novel?
Most importantly, can we just take a minute to think about the prospect of a baby Walter White or a little Jesse? Psycho Skyler and purple-obsessed Marie? Think about a young Hank whose first word would most definitely have to be “minerals”.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that most names these days have any number of connotations to some kind of pop culture reference, whether it be positive or negative. I’d be curious to find out the name of the next person you meet; think of any pop culture reference possible that’s related to their -perhaps unfortunate- name. Let me know in the comments if it tickles you!