How Many Names is Too Many?
December 2, 2012 § 4 Comments
And is there such a thing?
Perhaps the biggest celebrity trend in baby naming this year has been the predisposition NOT to announce baby’s name at all, but over at Fox News, Uma Thurman’s baby daughter’s mouthful of a name is far and away leading a poll for 2012’s Dumbest Celebrity Baby Name. (For the record, I voted for Moroccan Scott Cannon based solely on his inclusion in a 2012 year-end list, when he was born in April of 2011.) Thurman’s daughter, born July 15th of this year to the actress and her Swiss financier boyfriend Arpad Busson – father to Elle MacPherson’s sons Arpad (Flynn) and Aurelius (Cy) – Uma’s third child was named Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson, called Luna.
Whoa. Perhaps it’s not just the seven names (eight, with the use of the nickname); it’s also the complex name choices that have people kinda freaking out. And sure, it seems like a lot for one kid to handle and will likely take her some time to learn to spell. But Luna’s father is a Swiss man named Arpad (Arkadina, Altalune), and her mother a US-born Buddhist named Uma (Arusha). These names, though they pointedly chose not to share what, all have meaning to the couple. And sometimes, if you only intend to have one child, you load the birth certificate (if so, this would be Busson’s only girl and he might have a lot of family he wants to honour), knowing that the kid will rarely, if ever, use every single name at once.
Sure, filling out government paperwork is going to be rough (they don’t have near enough room on the forms for names this long), and teachers might always wonder how one gets Luna from Rosalind when going over the class list every September – but a name this long isn’t hurting anyone, in the end.
When William and Kate have their first child, we can likely expect a handful of names. Four given names to honour family, the Prince or Princess of Cambridge designation in the front and back, plus a handful of other selections to honour the principalities, duchys, and extensive family heritage of the British royal family. Everyone in their family is named in much the same way. Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, also known as William Windsor, William Wales, Prince William of Great Britain and the Commonwealth – it’s hard to keep track. Yet we call him Prince William. We can barely bring ourselves to call the Duchess Catherine over shorter, simpler, more familiar Kate.
Ironically, the use of two middle names is a bit of a growing trend (perhaps in direct correlation with the steadily lowering birth rate in developed countries – less kids means less opportunities to use names you like or wish to use in honour of family and friends). It’s something I’ve considered I’ll likely do when I have kids of my own, but more from a brokerage standpoint with future hubby, so we’d both have a chance to put names on the birth certificate without worrying about compromise apart from the all-important first name (or name the kid will be known as). I don’t plan on having more than two, unless I’m financially able (and emotionally prepared) to adopt and have a full house, so I will also be looking for ways to honour as many people as possible while still trying to keep the name within the limits of government forms.
Alternately, there are plenty of people out there who eschew the middle name entirely. For some, it’s cultural, for others it’s based on simplicity, and for some, like Mariah (no middle name) Carey and her daughter Monroe (no middle name) Cannon, it’s family tradition.
Personally, I don’t think it matters how many names you use, but what do you think? Did Uma go overboard? Where do you stand on name volume?