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Baby Names: Why Cool is Hot

Frank Heckers

Some parents even believe material benefits will come to a carefully named child. "It was important to me that our kids' names be perceived as cool because we want to give them every advantage in life," says Charity Hand, the Hickory, North Carolina, mom of sons Thomson, 6, and Chase, 1, and daughter Taylor, 3. "A name that's cool just might be the name that gets more attention on a résumé someday. And we want friends to see them as cool because they're extensions of our tastes and personalities."

But cool, by its very nature, is an ever-changing concept. Choosing a name that's going to stay cool over your child's entire lifetime may be impossible. Ethel and Maurice, for instance, along with Shirley, Debbie, and Caitlin, Ricky, Bobby, and Jason, were all cool names at one time.

The only solution: maybe avoid cool entirely. "Kareem and Cosmo—these were the names my sweet, excited, and effortlessly cool husband picked for the boy half of the twins we were expecting," says Marijane Funess of Pelham, New York. "Not wanting to hurt his feelings, I just asked him to consider how hard it can be for a kid with an 'unusual' name. He thought about it and came up with Nicholas. Our son's nine now, and even though there are probably a dozen Nicks in his school, the name seems to fit him to a tee, and we marvel at how names do become the person."

Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran are coauthors of Cool Names for Babies and The Baby Name Bible