1. DON’T NAME YOUR BABY AFTER A JAZZ MUSICIAN. No Ella, no Ray, no Miles. Nix on Billie, nyet on Bessie, never on Duke. And did you really think you were going to get away with Thelonious or Django? No and no. Lionel, however, is still genuinely cool.
2. NO NAMES OF GODS AND GODDESSES. We can blame the ultimate cool mommy blogger Dooce for this one. Her daughter is named Leta, which is derived from Leda, who was the mythological mother of Helen of Troy. And then, at the farmers’ market in Madison, Wisconsin, we heard a hipster dad calling to his toddler son, “Stop right there, Odin!” Zeus, Jupiter, Andromeda, and Pandora are all similarly hipster heaven.
3. AVOID THE NAMES OF HIGH-FALUTIN’ LITERARY CHARACTERS. Atticus, anyone? The more obscure and high-minded the character, the more hipster-worthy the name. So you’ll have to stay away from Scout, Daisy, Maisie, Holden and Gulliver. Soap opera character names remain safe if otherwise repellent bets.
4. AVOID THE NAMES OF HIGH-FALUTIN’ WRITERS. This is kind of a thin line. We’d say Auden, Austen, Flannery, Harper, Tennessee and Tennyson are dripping in hipsterdom; Edith, Eudora, and Ellison, still okay.
5. NO NAMES YOU MIGHT USE FOR A DOG. Prince, Duke, Max, Fifi: This kind of I’m-so-cool-I-don’t-care name should not be used for a human, even one you make yourself. Likewise do not name your dog Marian, Frederick, or Patricia.
6. IF A SUPERMODEL WOULD CHOOSE THIS NAME FOR HER BABY, STAY AWAY. Along with four-foot-long legs and cheekbones as wide as their shoulders, supermodels seem congenitally hip, and inevitably choose hipster names for their babies. (Yes, all supermodels seem to have babies.) Nameberry has a list of Supermodel Baby Names, which run toward choices such as Neva, Presley, and Sahteene.
7. SIMILARLY AVOID NAMES CHOSEN BY HIPSTER CELEBRITIES. Matilda hits the hipster list because it was chosen by hipster parents Heath and Michelle. Romy is Sofia Coppolla’s pick and Roman Cate Blanchett’s; Ramona is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s choice and Moses is Gwynnie’s. While you’re at it, you should probably not use names of hipster celebrities themselves: Isla, Ewan, Scarlett.
8. STAY AWAY FROM NAMES OF PLACES YOU WOULD NEVER GO. Okay, so Savannah and London are overplayed. Hipster parents have therefore decamped to Alabama, Indiana, and Reno. And from there it’s all too easy to wander from hipster turf into maverick territory: right, Bristol Palin?
9. DON’T PICK ANY NAME THAT STARTS WITH I OR Z OR ENDS WITH X OR O. If this whole issue is way too confusing for you, just following this one simple rule and you should be all right. Forget Iris and Isaiah. Zoe and Zane. Pax and Maddox. Nico and Orlando. Done.
10. FORGET ALL HIGHLY UNFASHIONABLE AND HIDEOUSLY UGLY NAMES. One earmark (Hi, John McCain) of hipsterism is being so hip you can be totally unhip, so cool you can give your kid a name that’s entirely uncool. Like Edna. Or Ignatius. Or Myrtle. But as important as it may seem to avoid names that threaten to turn you into a hipster cliché, it’s even more essential to stay away from those that might make your teenager try to kill you while you sleep.
the chunky hipster