In Memoriam: The Departed Names of 2009
Each year, we pause to remember the familiar names that slipped out of America's top 1000 list for the first time after generations of steady use. This year of rapid fashion change left us with a record 16 departed names to honor. I'll take them in stylistic groups:
The Gentle Gentlemen
Bernard, Clarence, Gordon, Leroy, Milton, Sheldon
Did you even notice them leaving? These mild-mannered gents, with their abundance of soft consonants, don't even enter parents' awareness today. They slipped off the charts calmly, with a minimum of fuss.
The Mid-Century Standards
There's a purity about these names, the very essence of our imagined suburban America. They are disappearing in our national flight from the "ordinary."
The Swinging Sixties
I'm actually a little surprised Gina lasted this long. Most of the sudden hits of the '60s have already had their swan songs. Gina now joins Tina and Dina -- and Brad, Jodi, and friends -- in hibernation.
Can a name fall out of fashion if it was never in fashion to begin with? Laurel may sound a lot like Laura and Lauren, but it didn't follow either name's fashion curve. It was never too high or (until now) too low, and its botanical roots still shine through. Laurel is the least date-stamped name on the departed list, and still very usable.
This pair surprises me a bit, since classical -s names for boys have some momentum. Perhaps the nickname Con could lure back parents who find Cornelius a little too corny?
The Too Close for Comfort
Justine, Krista, Kristin, Monique
Each of these names peaked in the 1980s, with 3 of the 4 making the top 100. Now they're gone. Feeling old yet?