Call me a traditionalist (I’ve been called a lot worse), but I prefer baby names that are conventional (even Biblical). Yet it seems like the trend is running counter to that. Even if you ignore the celebrities (don’t do that, they crave your attention) and their outlier wacky baby names (Apple, North, Sky Blue, Bronx Mowgli, Pilot Inspektor, et al.), more people are giving their newborns what I like to call “last names as first names.” Which is all well and good – after all, these are their babies, not mine.

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But I wonder if the parents have really thought through these newfangled names, especially on the girls’ side of the ledger. Because a couple of decades from now, if their daughters are traditionalists, they’ll wind up taking on a new last name…

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And what happens if their daughter Riley Smith (“Riley” is #7 on the list of most popular girl baby names) winds up falling in love with a guy named Patrick Riley? That’s right, she could become Riley Riley!

What if Madison (popular name #18) Jones meets the man of  her dreams, and his name is  Jack Madison? What if Harper (#20) Collins wants to marry a dude named Ryan Harper? I know they say “love conquers all” but it would take a superhuman dose of love to overcome being called “Harper Harper” for the rest of your adult life.

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Even going the hyphenated route would still be a bit confusing (Madison Jones-Madison? Sounds like a law firm.) Heck, even keeping the maiden name would probably cause some Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First”-style hijinks when you’re doing introductions in a social setting:

“Hi, I’m Patrick Riley and this is my wife Riley Smith.”

“I’m sorry, it’s loud in here, I didn’t catch your wife’s first name…”

“It’s Riley.”

“I thought that was your last name.”

“It is.”

“So what’s your wife’s first name?”


“No, not the last name, the first name”


“Riley is her first name?”


“And you’re a Riley too?”


“Then who is Patrick?”…

Maybe it’ll all work out, though. Maybe Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter North West will marry a guy named Larry Starr. And they’ll live happily ever after (with their own reality show, of course).

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