Badly named boy dodges a lifetime of oh là laughs
‘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.