Although I generally refer to her as “Baby G” when blogging, my baby girl’s actual first name is “Georgia,” a venerable, time-tested name. It’s the feminine form of the name “George.” While the name remains relatively uncommon in the U.S., it’s a top 50 classic in England, Australia and Canada. It’s also a beloved name for Greek baby girls.
When choosing Georgia’s name, we thought about the name’s history, and also about other Georgias, like Georgia O’Keefe. As far as real-life popularity of the name, we only know one other little Georgia in person – she’s in elementary school and lives in our neighborhood – although I suspect that the name has gained some traction lately in hipper locales than ours, since it occasionally makes lists of hipster baby names.
The one thing we never thought about when deciding to name the baby Georgia was the possibility that people would immediately assume that we had named her as part of a trend I didn’t know existed on such a wide scale, which is to give babies names related to geographic locations that are in some way special or meaningful to the parents. Apparently, celeb parents like Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz (baby boy Bronx), Posh and Becks (baby boy Brooklyn) and Garth Brooks (Taylor Maine) have been choosing their kids’ names to honor some meaningful element of the parental love affair that took place in a specific locale. In some cases, parents come right out and say they chose the city, state or other geographic moniker because that’s the spot where their baby was conceived.
Now I know that as a blogger, I talk about some pretty personal things. Perhaps I reveal more about my life than you would be comfortable revealing about your own. But I can assure you that one thing you will never read about when I blog are the intimate details of my marital relationship. I am pretty private about sex stuff, except with my close friends. So the idea of publicly naming my child as an homage to the spot where he or she was conceived is really distasteful to me. Or, if I did do that, I certainly wouldn’t ever tell anyone what the deal is with the name. It would be something private between my husband and me.
But apparently this trend of naming babies after the spot where their parents did the wild thing is now totally mainstream and acceptable to discuss in polite company. How do I know this? Well, I know it because at last a couple times a month, someone who hears that my baby’s name is Georgia gets a sly look in his or her eye before asking me outright whether we named her that because we conceived her somewhere in the southern state of the same name. (Interestingly, no one has ever asked me whether we conceived her in the former Soviet republic of Georgia…)
The exchanges generally go something like this:
Stranger at mall: “Oh! Your baby is soooo cute! What’s his name?”
Me (confused as to how the pinky pink outfit in which I dressed the baby doesn’t override the apparently male-looking baldness of her noggin): She’s a girl. Her name is Georgia.
Stranger (getting sly, disturbingly lascivious look in eye that immediately creeps me out): Ohhhhhhh, did you and her daddy conceive her in Marietta maybe? Or Dahlonega?
This continues to happen far more often than I would like. I keep wondering if it will stop, and then someone else asks me while I am grocery shopping with baby in tow. It really does irritate me – despite my best efforts to shrug it off – because A: I hate that it never occurred to me that people would put the gorgeous, classic name “Georgia” in the same naming category as “Bronx” or “Tunisia.” And B: it grosses me out when complete strangers ask such a personal question with a wink and a grin.
So how about you? Do people ever ask you weird things about your baby’s name? Would you consider naming your baby for where he or she was conceived, and if so, would you tell people how you picked the name? And as for Baby G’s name, when you hear it, do you automatically think “motel bed in an Atlanta suburb?” Talk about place names for babies in the comments below.