Baby names move in a trajectory. They start as quirky and then move upscale. But they retain their cachet for only a short period until the hoi polloi, in a futile attempt to confer status on their offspring, destroy the name's social value.
Consider the name 'êJessica.'ê It was used by hippies in the 60s and was not in the top 200 names. It began moving upscale in the early 70s ranking 59th for the decade. Its status declined as its popularity increased (number 1 in the 80s, 2 in the 90s). Today it is washed up even in Arkansas, Iowa, and Tennessee. The best years to have named your daughter Jessica were 1973 to 1977.
As a service to its valued readers, Flip Side will now reveal the best names for 2010 — those that are just now moving from quirky to upscale. For today, I'm confining myself to boys'ê names.
Avoid overused biblical names — Joshua, Isaiah, Jacob, Aaron, Josiah, Isaac, etc. These will embarrass your son for life. Instead, select one of the less common biblical names that are just starting to appear, for example Judas, Cain, Nebuchadnezzar, Goliath, Herod, and Pontius.
Name for Success
You can help your son succeed by selecting a name that connotes professional achievement. Five excellent choices are Doctor, Admiral, Senator, Justice, and Chairman. Do not handicap your son'ês career with names such as Nightwatchman, Doorman, Chauffeur, Valet, or, worst of all, Lawyer.
Names for Social Class
Certain first names hint of wealth and breeding. For 2010, Flip Side suggests five upper-class first names: Marquis, Baron, Lord, Sir, and Count. Beware of names that connote low social standing: Bozo, Mephisto, Charlatan, Deadbeat, or, worst of all, Lawyer.
Upper class British names are pretentious and should be Americanized. Instead of Neville, Percival, or Nigel, try LaNeville, N'êPercival, and DeNigel.
We like names that have been neglected. Five to catch on the upswing before they become too popular are Adolph, Mao, Benito, Genghis, and Papa Doc. Some neglected names should remain neglected. Stay away from Schmuck, Felon, Geek, Drip, and Mucus.
Nothing suggests old money better than a family name as a surname such as Alcott, Bennett, Brighton, Weston, and Kingsley. However, these should be used only if your last name could also be a surname. Alcott Bennett and Bennett Alcott are smashing as are Brighton Weston and Weston Brighton. However, Brighton Levy, Brighton Giordano, and Brighton Kaminski are lame.