So your surname is Davis and you have a son in 1948; what do you call him? Why, David, of course! It has a certain ring to it – David Davis. Not.
I was born in France, the same year as the man who wants to be the next leader of the Conservative Party (as if I care) and my parents gave me the two most popular names for girls that year. They weren’t aware of that fact: they arrived at those two names through a long and complicated process involving the Bible, French translations of Hebrew names, dead grandmothers, etc. Still, thanks to them, I have two nice (and patriotic) names, which suit me; which have never sounded ridiculous and which I've never been ashamed of. They never will sound silly either because, although popular in 1948, they were not “fashionable”; they are old and have stood the test of time.
If you’re a responsible parent you owe it to your kids not to burden them with preposterous-sounding names. You do not call your daughters Fifi Trixiebelle or Peaches Honeyblossom, for instance. Or even Apple or Lourdes. You just don’t. Those names are ok for babies and toddlers, not for grown-ups. You don’t give them the name of the latest pop idol, whom no one will remember when you’re long gone and your kids are themselves grandparents.
If you’re not French I don’t expect you to be able to “sense” how utterly stupid the name “Ninette de Valois” sounds to my ears. “Ninette” is a diminutive and, combined with the aristocratic “de Valois”, it creates a weird picture. It’s impossible to take it seriously. Ok, that was a made-up stage name, but it’s never a good idea for the name on the birth certificate to be a diminutive. Let it be the full-size version and let the person shorten it later if they wish to do so! By the way, Minette, as in Minette Walters, is a traditional kiddies' name for a female pussycat.
What about Ruby Wax, who gave her three children names beginning with the same letter? Must make finding your school stuff in the morning easy, mustn’t it? Does she have a fetish for a certain letter of the alphabet, or what? I find it moronic. Same thing with punning names, like the BBC's Jo King. And if your surname is Shakespeare, please don't call your son William.
Tonight I feel like slapping selfish and ultimately cruel parents, whose children will be mercilessly bullied because of their lack of foresight. Slap!