The other day on the nameberry message boards, I heard tell of a little boy named Vandal. And then, the next day, one of the bandmembers of My Chemical Romance named his newborn daughter (yes, daughter) Bandit.
Are these parents masochistic? Gang members? Or do they just love the idea of launching a bad boy (or girl) into the world?
Vandal and Bandit aren't the only hellions in the nursery these days. There's Breaker, one of the seven children of Robert and Cortney Novogratz, hipster parents who own Sixx Design in New York. Then there are Racer, Rebel, Rocket, and Rogue, sons of film director Robert Rodriguez. (Survival tip: If you're invited to dinner at their house, wear a helmet.)
RYKER -- How many of the nearly 700 sets of parents who named their baby boys Ryker last year realize that, when spelled Rikers, it's the name of the notorious island prison in New York? I'd hazard to guess not many, but maybe the association will sink in if I say it's like naming your baby Alcatraz.
GUNNAR and GUNNER -- I fully admit to being one of those wimpy East Coast liberals who's in favor of gun control, so maybe it's just me. But this name seems to go beyond the rabble-rousing Rockets and Vandals to some darker and more lethal level of badness.
RAIDEN -- Of course, this name's popularity is heavily related to the whole Aiden-Jaden thing. But its meaning, and its appeal, has an aggressive edge.
BLAZE -- Blaise is a genuine ancient saint's name, and Blaze Starr was a midcentury (female) stripper. But this name is rising now for boys, more because of its fiery feel than because of its obscure connection with martyrs or fan dancers.
And then there are names we've heard that haven't yet hit the popularity list, but are certainly heading there, such as:
HELLER -- Makes Hell more palateable by giving it a surname feel.
RAIDER -- If Raiden feels too familiar, this choice gets right to the point.
WILDER -- Another surname-y choice that does wild one better.
Why are parents more and more attracted to this wild kind of name?
Maybe they want to arm their kids with an aggressive, take-charge image to do battle with an ever-more-challenging world. Perhaps they feel their sons (and daughters) will benefit from having a name that keeps people from messing with them.
Follow Pamela Redmond Satran on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nameberry