Maggie Gyllenhaal has named her new baby girl Gloria.
Despite (or because of?) strong associations with the song (“G L O R I A,”) Archie Bunker’s infamous holler, “Glooooooooooria,” and in Excelsis Deo, I love this name.
Not so long ago I took my kids to a bleak, city playground on a cold, miserable Sunday. The only other parent at the park was a mom in gray jeans and ankle boots with a big men’s blazer over an old t-shirt. She looked like Debbie Harry circa ’82. When she called out to her five year old daughter, I swooned: “Gloria!” Ahh, I thought, now that is a hip name.
Gloria, which means glory or glory to God, was huge in the 1940s, ranking # 27 in popularity. These days it comes in at around #500. Still, it’s a recognizable name: There’s Steinem, Gaynor, Estefan and Swanson.
Babycenter says if you like Gloria, how about Victoria, Evelyn, Amelia, Clara, Grace, Elizabeth or Violet? The Baby Name Explorer offers other alternatives: Stella, Mabel, Dorothy, Clair, Cynthia, Irene, Jocelyn, Clara, Ivy, Cecelia. I’d add Wanda, Cybill, Noelle, Vivian, Glenda, Celeste, Veronica and Francis. Wanda! Come on people! Let’s do this.
When I was pregnant with a girl, my baby name list included many of the above. I think at one point we had Ivy, Evelyn, Clara, Celeste, Veronica, Sylvia, Wanda, Glenda and Cecilia. We picked Sylvia even though we were told by a very stylish New Yorker we know, “it’s too soon.” Maybe there are benefits to being “too soon”– you hit the trend before it hits you. By decades. Or maybe you miss it entirely, which is also just fine.
(PS: The caption to the photograph is a line from Laura Branigan’s rousing hit single, “Gloria.”)
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