Dear Will and Kate,
Please excuse my terrible informality of not addressing you as duke and duchess, respectively, but I’d like to note that I am addressing you by your first names for a reason. I imagine that, at this point in your lives, you’re rather fond of your names. You’ve grown into them and like the sound of them for various reasons. Kate, maybe you like yours because your favorite thing to do could be curling up on a Kensington Palace couch on a rainy day and binge watching the classic American sitcom, Kate and Allie. Will, perhaps you’re a giant fan of will.i.am and sometimes do a spirited performance of “Boom Boom Pow” in the shower.
I’m pretty attached to my first name, too. It is Alice. Rumor has it that you might give this lovely five-letter moniker to your daughter. I’m asking you, your highnesses, to refrain.
Please, take pity on this commoner from the colonies and choose a different name for your little princess. You see, one of the reasons I like “Alice” is because it’s not very popular. It’s not so unusual as to be peculiar, and yet it still feels unique.
You don’t see “Alice” on any top 10 or top 20 baby name lists. There are no Hollywood A-listers with the name. There are a few accomplished writers — Alice Munro, Alice Walker, Alice Sebold, etc. — and, since I’m a writer myself, I like sharing my name with these acclaimed literati. And then there’s the famous title character of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland; I think that associating my name with an adventurous girl exploring a whimsical fantasy world is pretty neat, too. (Well, that and she spends a portion of the novel eating cake. Yum!)
In fact, the only not-so-charming Alice association I can think of is the rock band Alice in Chains. I have nothing against the band per se, I’m just not into bondage.
I worry about a future in which huge numbers of babies are suddenly named Alice. Soon, people would stop associating Alice with authors, fantasy worlds, and (in a few tiny circles) me and instead just imagine a faceless horde of same-named ladies. Grade school classrooms would be filled with the likes of “Alice B.” “Alice K.” and “Alice P.” Someone would shout out “Alice” across a mall food court and three-dozen people would immediately look up. One would never find any cute novelty “Alice” license plates or beaded key chains because they would all be sold out, all the time. Sigh.
I can guarantee that this will happen if you name your baby “Alice” because thousands of new parents will be sure to follow your lead. The fact is, “Alice” has already been on the upswing for the last decade or so and I worry that your endorsement would be all it takes to shoot it into the stratosphere. Comedian Tina Fey named her daughter Alice in 2005 and some say that helped push the name up more than a hundred (!) slots on the popularity charts. If comedy royalty could have such an impact, I shudder to think what you — as real, scepter-wielding, island-renting, “OMG, does she have gray hair? EVERYBODY PANIC!!” royalty — could do.
If you’re intent on choosing a less common name, might I make a few suggestions? Mabel and Dolores, for instance, are old-fashioned, rather unpopular names that truly could benefit from a royal pick-me-up. Laverne hasn’t seen much action since the show Laverne and Shirley. And when was the last time you heard someone name her daughter Gertrude? You could bring “Trudy” back in a big way! Why not do it?
Please, just leave “Alice” alone. My name and I are content to dwell on the fringes of the baby name “in crowd,” padding around our quaint wonderland, happily off-trend for as long we can possibly be.