The Office of National Statistics for England and Wales has just released the list of the most popular baby names of 2011. The top name for boys was Harry, followed by Oliver, then Jack, but all three of these names might as well have just been MY BALLS, because English people suck at naming kids.
- 1. Harry*
- 2. Oliver
- 3. Jack
- 4. Alfie
- 5. Charlie
- 6. Thomas
- 7. Jacob
- 8. James
- 9. Joshua
- 10. William
- 1. Jacob
- 2. Mason
- 3. William
- 4. Jayden
- 5. Noah
- 6. Michael
- 7. Ethan
- 8. Alexander
- 9. Aiden
- 10. Daniel
As you can see, the list for England and Wales—purportedly fancy places, rich in history—is absolutely devoid of all the –aiden/-ayden/-aidon names that make America's kindergarten teachers sound like ancient Celtic bards whenever they take class roll, singing tales of fearless warrior, sons of So-and-So The So-and-So, who died on the battlefield drenched in blood and valor.
And where are the occupational names? The tributes to celebrated and lucrative modern professions? The Masons, the Tanners, the Parkers, the Chandlers?
The three most popular choices for British boys are all the names of famous literary orphans (Potter, Twist, and Dawkins). The fourth is the name of a character Jude Law played in a movie which is, arguably, even worse. Charlie is a street name for cocaine, so that's great. Real neat parenting, England. The top five names in England are all orphans, drugs, and Jude law.
And the girls' names aren't much better.
In just the top twenty, we've got pagan celebrations of nature (Lily - #3, Poppy - #14, and Daisy - #20), pagan gods (Freya - #19), and names that Americans don't even know how to say which means they are probably also pagan (#15 – Isla).
The American girls' names, meanwhile, are hit after hit: #3 Emma – the world's most popular Spice Girl. #7 Abigail – a President's wife, once portrayed by the incomparable Laura Linney. #8 Madison – one of the most popular names in America.
Nevaeh, which claims the #35 spot on the list of American girls, doesn't even crack the top 100 on the English list – possibly because England's parents have not yet deciphered the clever hidden message carefully da Vinci coded within it. The closest the English list gets is Niamh, which looks backwards any way you write it.
Of course, it wasn't all a disaster for our English cousins. Oscar came in at #17 for boys, and that's a pretty cool name. The #1 name for girls was Caity, as it has been for the past seven hundred years.
*People have argued that, if you grouped together all eight of its differently spelled variations, the number one most popular name in England and Wales is Mohammed (#19)/Muhammad (#22)/Mohammad (63), most likely after Lisa Vanderpump's wealthy friend, Mohamed Hadid.