Don’t believe me?
Guaranteed you have a good friend, or a buddy at work, or a neighbor, or an ex-girlfriend, or a dogwalker named Jennifer (or Jenny or Jen, but NEVER Jenn or Jenifer or Genifer). And probably not just one either -- more like five!
Take me, for example. When I was in college, my roommate for all four years was also named Jen. And by the time we were seniors, FOUR out of the EIGHT girls living in our house were named Jen (that’s 50% Jen!).
I’m totally convinced that one day, in the not so distant future, Jennifer will be a Scary Old Lady Name (much like Mildred, or Agnes, or Bertha) and retirement communities across the country will be overrun with them. I can just imagine all the wrinkly old biddies that will pick up their confused little heads every time someone calls out that name. They’ll have to get nicknames to help differentiate, like Recently Had Hip Replacement Surgery Jen, and Always Forgets Her Glasses Jen, and Stinks Kinda Like Ben-Gay Jen.
It will be chaos.
Anyway, the pervasiveness of my name within my age group isn’t just a gut feeling. It’s a fact. According to the rankings issued by the Social Security Administration last week (and they ought to know!), Jennifer is now the 84th most popular girl’s name. Okay. But that’s in a world filled with Nevaehs (#34), Makaylas (#37), and Destinys (#48)…
Back in normal (boring?) times, Jennifer first broke the top 20 most popular baby names in 1965. In its Glory Days, it ranked as the #1 girl’s name for FIFTEEN STRAIGHT YEARS -- from 1970 - 1984. In 1985, it slipped to #3 -- which was the beginning of its merciful descent. The Reign of Jennifer makes it the 2nd most popular girl’s name in the last 100 YEARS. (In case you are curious, Mary takes the crown as the 1st most popular from 1909 – 1946 and again from 1953 – 1961.)
So… who cares (other than the obvious 8 gazillion Jennifers out there)?
Well, I think my peers who are now parents have also taken note of the “dime a dozen” quality of many of our first names and are coming up with better alternatives for their own kids. Back in February, I told you about 10 babies being born to my own family and friends, and now, they’ve all arrived – happy, healthy, and cute as buttons!
What’s better? They ALL have unique names! (Though it does NOT escape my attention that two of the moms listed below are also named Jennifer…)
Welcome to the World:
Lindsay (#380) Joy
Born in March to Cara & Mike (and big sisters Jillian & Alyssa)
Grace (#21) Elizabeth
Born on May 6th to Liz & Steve
Rebecca (#119) Belle
Born on May 14th to Anne & Dave
William (#8) Charles
Born on May 22nd to Jen & Adam (and big sister Cielle and big brother Ryan)
Roya (*) Lily
Born on June 6th to Minoo & Rob
(*Roya is totally original and way too cool for a ranking!)
Lydia (#120) Rose
Born on June 10th to Jen & Nate
Peyton (#60) Victoria
Born in July to Stacey & Lou (and big brother, little Lou)
Evan (#38) Carter
Born on July 30th to Joanna & Robert
Bryce (#116) Thomas
Born on August 7th to Sheila & Kyle (and big sister Lilly)
Matthew (#10) Finbar
Born on August 8th to Pam & Gerry (and big sister Elena)
Congrats to all the new moms and dads! Much love to all of you.
Now don’t let me be Little Miss Vain all by myself -- check how popular YOUR name is and add it to the comments below! And sorry, but “Anonymous” won’t appear on the list...