I am eight months pregnant with twins and married to the most amazing man I have ever met (on the internet). I am so grateful to JDate for introducing me to my husband that I want the world to know it forever, or at least until my offspring pass. Can I legally call my baby boy JDate.com? I’m thinking of naming his twin sister FatFace.
Mommy to Walking Advertisement
Dear Mommy to Walking Advertisement:
Good news if you live in America, land of the First Amendment! We here in the U.S. of A. will let you name your kid almost anything you and your big beautiful mind can spell, and even stuff you can’t! In 2012 alone, our country has issued birth certificates to the likes of Deva (parents are definitely not creating an ego problem), Excel (admittedly a wise name in this economy), Blue Ivy (although, a kid born to Jay-Z and Beyoncé will be juuuuust fine), Haven’T (parenty really instilling a can-do attitude) and Navaryous (a combo of nervous and nefarious that does not bode well). And let’s not forget the dastardly first and last name combos: Anita Lay, Chris P. Nugget, Polly Esther Sheets, Ben Dover… Some humor columns just write themselves.
Fortunately for you MTWA, in our fame-obsessed culture, names like John Smith just don’t get you anywhere anymore (unless you look like him), so you are wise to want to make sure your kids stand out on a roster even if they have no other redeeming qualities. Money tight? Save a few pennies on birthday cake icing by naming your child Birthday. Want to encourage a healthy dose of sibling rivalry? Name them Blessing and Mistake, or go topical–Mitt and Barack. There’s no reason “who’s on first?” can’t be a daily part of your life by naming your child Who.
In our great country, people have won legal battles to be called many things. Other countries aren’t so free. New Zealand is entirely uncool about names, ruling illegal clearly awesome names like Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips (for twins), Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit. (Thankfully, children called Midnight Chardonnay and Number 16 Bus Shelter were safe from governmental scrutiny.) Denmark has a Law on Personal Names that forces parents to choose from a list of seven thousand pre-approved monikers. (In America, we have more Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream flavors.) The Naming law in Sweden generally requires authorities to approve names in an effort to prevent non-nobles from giving their children noble names–sort of the equivalent of having the U.S. government ban parents from naming their kids Clinton or Kardashian. In protest, two parents (who apparently dropped a coffee mug on their keyboard) attempted to name their child Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced Albin). Sweden wasn’t having it. But before we feel too bad for tiny Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, just remember that Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 has a wikipedia page dedicated to him. Do you?
But even America has its limits. In yet another reason that China will eventually surpass us in the global economy, numbers tend to be off limits–“1069” and “III” were rejected by state courts as legal names. Some states are totally cool with you naming your baby Santa Clause, while others are less so (still, Kris Kringle should be fair game everywhere).
But just remember, while you may legally be allowed to call your daughter FatFace, there’s nothing stopping your neighbors from calling child protective services on you. The New Jersey parents of Adolf Hitler Campbell and JoyceLynn Aryan Nation lost custody of little Adolf, and so could you. I mean this was in New Jersey… home of Snooki and JWoww. You’re not safe anywhere.
Maybe stick to naming pets.
Luci Lawless is an attorney at a big law firm in the northern hemisphere. She was born to parents and lives in a dwelling. She has graduted from a law school that awards degrees, where she learned law-related things. She is not calling upon any of that knowledge, or any real or imagined skills or expertise, in her blog contributions. If you want real legal advice, consult an attorney. Seriously.