The Oldest Naming Dilemma in the Book
I feel almost embarrassed to be writing this post. It is the oldest naming dilemma in the book: We’ve had the perfect name for us in mind for years, and now it’s getting really popular. We’re expecting in late August and don’t know the gender, but the boy’s name we settled on ages ago is Silas.
Popularity per se doesn’t bother me, but excessive trendiness and date-stamping do, so what I’m hoping you can help me figure out is how our chosen name reads and just how much more popular (and, therefore, trendy/date-stamped) it’s going to get.
We decided on Silas for a hypothetical future son because the Biblical association was meaningful for us; because it has a long history; because it’s not aggressively masculine but still distinctively a man’s name; because it’s relatively easy to spell and pronounce and we have a hard-to-spell/-pronounce hyphenated last name. And, like the whole rest of the entire world, we liked that it was familiar but not over-saturated.
But, of course, in the past seven years since we decided on Silas, the name has gone from being ranked in the mid-300s with 937 births to #116 with 3,367 births. In the upper Midwest, where we live, it’s even more popular: #72 in Minnesota, #78 in Iowa, #70 in Wisconsin. (Although I don’t know of any young Silases in our particular town and I wouldn’t even mind of I did know of a few others unless they were going to be on the same block or similar.) I had anticipated it would rise in popularity—I’m a name enthusiast! I understood the trends!—but I did not anticipate Duck Freaking Dynasty, where Uncle Si is a featured character and has given the name a bump I wasn’t expecting (and an association of which I’m not at all fond.)
Again, it’s not popularity that I mind—it’s the type of popularity or what that popularity will communicate to others. I read (or have read) Silas as being part of a trend of slightly antique Biblical names—like Ezra, Levi, or Micah—and I’m okay with that; I also saw it being connected to those gentler gentlemanly s-ending names, like Miles, Lucas, etc. But with the sharpness of its rise, I’m worried that I’m reading it wrong, or that there are other readings of the name that I don’t see.
So how do you read the name? What type and how much popularity do you see it gaining? Is Silas going to be the next Elijah? The next Jackson? Please don’t say the next Jace. Do its Biblical roots and long history keep it from being too date-stamped (as my husband insists)? What about that nickname? We don’t love Si—even without Duck Dynasty—but we wouldn’t be opposed to his name being shorted occasionally for ease. It’s only two syllables, but you know that sometimes automatically get shortened all the time almost automatically. Will that happen here? How long—or how loudly—with the Duck Dynasty association follow the name, even if we insist in the full thing?
Sorry for making this so long, but I know I can count on your good sense and name knowledge to guide me through this most mundane but anxiety producing expectant-namer problem.
Wed, 06/11/2014 - 1:59pm