Badly named boy dodges a life­time of oh là laughs

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - COMMENT -

‘A ROSE by any other name would smell as sweet,’ wrote Shake­speare of the point­less fuss about nam­ing. But his wise words were lost on the French au­thor­i­ties in Brit­tany, who have re­fused to let a cou­ple call their new­born baby boy Am­ber for fear it might cause gen­der con­fu­sion down the line. You have to ad­mire the Gal­lic in­sis­tence on qual­ity con­trol, right from the ab­so­lute get-go. In­deed there might be a gen­er­a­tion of lit­tle Or­a­cles and Tiberiuses grow­ing up to­day who will ap­plaud this move to stop hip­ster par­ents flag­ging their in­di­vid­u­al­ity by sad­dling their blame­less off­spring with out­ra­geous names. Hav­ing spent my child­hood wish­ing my par­ents were told that the an­nual quota for ‘Mary’ was ex­hausted and that they should choose some­thing orig­i­nal like Anne or Pa­tri­cia in­stead, I can em­pathise. For an eight-year-old there is noth­ing more sym­bolic of the re­dun­dancy of one’s ex­is­tence than hav­ing the same name as half the fe­male pop­u­la­tion. To­day’s Topazs and Jethros have the re­verse prob­lem; a life­time of snig­gers or raised eye­brows at ev­ery new en­counter. Then again, that might be the least of their prob­lems. They may also have a child­hood of con­form­ing to other bonkers ideas from their par­ents about stand­ing out from the crowd.

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