What's Wrong With Popular Names, Anyway?

A lot of people have e-mailed me things like "There's a reason Jacob is so popular--because there's nothing wrong with it! Jacob is a great name!" So what is wrong with having a name that you share with tons of other people? The answer: Nothing, if you like it! Some people like having the same name as others; they can blend in. They never have to spell their name out for people. There's no hassle and they were not picked on in school. This is fine and dandy, but what about the rest? Here is one person's feelings on the subject of common names:

It was annoying going through elementary school with slews of Amys. I was always known as Amy B., or in extreme cases (such as an 8th grade home ec class where there were 6 girls in the class: 5 Amys and one Susie), Amy B. #2 or Short Amy B. Occasionally, I was "Amy--the weird one." Sure, that was irritating, but I got over it. In larger workplaces, there is usually one other Amy to contend with, in which case I am branded "The dark-haired one" or "the new one" but it's not that big a deal, there are usually far more Joans and Kathys.

The real annoying part of having a super common name came later in life--every guy I've ever gone on a date with has already dated at least one Amy. I always get "Oh, I dated an Amy once. She was a real -(fill in the blank)-." If she was a freak, then the name will be forever equated with a psycho in his mind. If Amy was wonderfully gorgeous and amazing, I'll never fill her shoes. No matter who I date, I'll always be the Second Amy or the Third Amy, or That Other Amy.

Tied into that is the fact that a friend of mine was viciously dumped for her best friend at the tender age of 14 by a guy named Steve. Eventually, she got over the heartbreak and married a different Steve. That marriage failed, but the legacy of the Steves lives on. She will not date another Steve. Now no matter how charming, intelligent, witty and handsome a Steve is, Sarah will avoid him at all costs. Do you know how difficult it is to avoid Steves when you're in your 30s? See? If the Steves' parents had been more creative, Sarah would probably have gotten over her psychological hang-up and just taken up crocheting or something, rather than snarling at movie credits every time a Steve is listed.

And some quotes from people about their common names:

"for 26 years I have labored under the world's most boring name. When will Sweet Oblivion relieve me?"
--Michael in NY

It's an Ok name. I'm afraid there's not much to say about John.
--John in NY