Speed Reads

america, wyd?

What's up with these baby names, America?

If you want a lesson in what not to name a baby, you need look no further than the U.S. Social Security Administration's list of names that are increasing in popularity. The first lady's name, Melania, rocketed in popularity between 2016 and 2017 — but beyond that, the list gets extremely weird.

To tackle this treasure trove, it helps to break it down into a few different categories. The first is "fairly normal names spelled horribly wrong." Kairo, Jairo, Paisleigh, Jaxxon, Kyng, Journee, Juelz, and Wynter all fall into this category.

Then there is the category of cool-sounding nouns that make stupid names: Ridge (just a fancy word for "hilltop"), Opal (pretty good rock), India (a country), Magnolia (a 1999 dramatic film starring Tom Cruise; also, a tree), Ledger (a book where you keep financial records?), and Cairo spelled the right way.

Pop culture also heavily influences what people are naming their babies, for better or worse; that's why we have Dream, Khaleesi, Arya, Leia, and Anakin. Then there is a category I like to call "variations of names that sound like 'Oakland' but are not 'Oakland.'" This includes Oaklynn, Oaklyn, Oaklee, and Oakley.

The whole list is definitely worth perusing — for laughs, for bracing yourself against a generation of boys named "Bjorn," or for figuring out how many N's in a row is socially acceptable to put in a human baby's name. Just please … don't get any ideas.