A Plea to Prospective Parents (Both Civilian & Celebrity)

So, you've decided to procreate.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but sometime in the not-too-distant future, the world will be blessed with your offspring.  As I'm sure you've already realized, becoming a parent is a HUGE responsibility and you will have a lot of decisions to make about your child before he/she is even born, one of the most important being a name.  It's easy to screw this up, just look at all the famous people who've saddled their kids with unwieldy and/or ridiculous monikers.  Bad baby-naming is practically an epidemic in the entertainment industry, and if you don't want your poor, unsuspecting progeny to suffer the same fate, I beg of you to consider the following before filling out your child's birth certificate. Pay attention Reese, Drew, Snooki, Uma, Tori, and all you other gestating celebs!

Your bundle of joy is not, I repeat not, a color, a fruit, or an animal of the furry or feathered variety.  Ergo, names like Apple (daughter of Gywneth Paltrow & Chris Martin), Sparrow (son of Nicole Richie & Joel Madden), Blue Ivy (daughter of Beyoncé & Jay-Z), and Bear Blu (twice-tortured son of Alicia Silverstone & Christopher Jarecki) will not be readily accepted by society.  In fact, I'm willing to bet good money that your little darling, Persimmon Panda, will be mercilessly teased on the playground, so please restrain yourself.

Classic names like Katherine, Elizabeth, Jonathan, and Robert have stood the test of time very well.  Others, however, have not, and they are now so hopelessly outdated that they all but reek of mothballs.  Case in point, I have a good friend who was named after her aunt Mildred.  It might have been a nice tribute to an elderly relative, but how would you like to go through your formative years with such an antiquated handle?  My pal ended up going by the nickname Middy instead.  Years later, when this friend got married, she wouldn't even allow the minister to use her full name in the vows (her husband and I both got a chuckle out of this.)  I urge you to think twice before you bestow a lifelong sentence of Mabel(daughter of Bruce Willis & Emma Heming), Ethel(daughter of Lily Allen & Sam Cooper), Archibald(son of Amy Poehler & Will Arnett), Marion(daughter of Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick), Pearl and Lucille (daughters of Maya Rudolph & Paul Thomas Anderson), or Agnes Lark (daughter of Jennifer Connelly & Paul Bettany who got hit with a double whammy by her parents) on the fruit of your loins.

***SIDE NOTE*** European royalty gets a pass for using fugly, old-fashioned names on their spawn.  It is, after all, their duty to keep centuries-old traditions going.  But don't think for a moment that the young royals aren't seething with resentment over their musty monikers.  Why else would Harry aka "The Party Prince" act out the way he does or why would Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie embarrass their family by wearing those hideous chapeaux in public?  (Take that, Granny!)

My mother got the idea to name me Tracie from her older sister's high school boyfriend (Tracy), so I have nothing against a good unisex name, unless it's taken to the extreme.  Maxwell Drew - really, Jessica Simpson?  There is no chance that anyone will ever see that name on paper and think that there's a girl attached to it.  Ditto for Sawyer (daughter of Sara Gilbert & Allison Adler), Lou (daughter of Heidi Klum & Seal), and Mason (daughter of Camille & Kelsey Grammer.)

It should go without saying that names like Moxie CrimeFighter (daughter of Penn Jillette & Emily Zolten), Kal-El (son of Nicolas Cage & Alice Kim), Charlie Ballerina (daughter of Jeremy Sisto & Addie Lane), Pilot Inspektor (son of Jason Lee & Beth Riesgraf), and Audio Science (son of Shannyn Sossamon & Dallas Clayton) are ill-advised.  Those kids' parents can afford the therapy bills for their traumatized tots; you can't.  If you're pondering a baby name that's "fun," "different," or a "little wacky," ask yourself this:  Would Frank Zappa (father of Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Diva Thin Muffin) have approved?  If the answer is "yes," immediately proceed to a more traditional Plan B!     

Now that you know what notto do when naming your offspring, I have confidence that you will not fail in this crucial task.  I thank you, and your children-to-be thank you for sparing them a lifetime of having to explain what the heck their parents were smoking when they decided to call them Gertrude Moonbeam or Parachute Magoo.

Did you ever contemplate naming your small fry something off-the-wall?  Do you have a friend or family member whose little one bears a name that makes you wince in sympathy every time you hear it?  If so, let me know in the comments below!

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her Hollywood-themed Chick Lit novel, Blame It on the Fame, was released in January, 2012. She blogs about books and other fun stuff at http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/ and her Twitter handle is @traciebanister.