29/10/2013 16:35 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Name Snobbery: If Your Name Doesn't Fit, You're Not Coming In

Children in playgroundPA

My daughter came home recently talking about a brand new friend she'd made at pre-school. "Her name's Courtney", she said proudly. I winced.

Courtney might be a lovely girl, but she's not coming to my house. Nor is anyone called Jade, Rhys, Paige or Tyler.

You can tell a lot about families from their names they give their offspring, and frankly I'd rather my kids made friends with Ben, William and Verity. After all, I'm the one who's going to have to arrange play dates with the parents of these new chums.

In my experience, I'm highly unlikely to find much in common with people who have given their children names which rhyme (Jayden, Kayden and Hayden), or with those who have adopted non-conventional spellings (Jayson and Khloe) for the sole purpose of "being different".

Why on earth any parent would want to saddle a child with an anagram for a name is beyond me. Surely it's tantamount to cruelty? I can't help but wrinkle my nose in dismay when I look at a nursery coat rack neatly labelled with what look like perfume brands from the Eighties.


Before you pelt me with baby-naming books, I'm not the only mother with name-snobbery issues.


My friend Emma is just as clear cut about those children she'd go out of her way to avoid, "Names where the last letter has been changed to an i instead of y so they sound all hip and cool really bug me. I hate to say it, but there's generally a certain chavvy accent which goes with the parents of these children, too. As for people who name their children after a type of weather, fruit or any other ridiculous item – they ought to be taken out and shot."

The bottom line is that certain names are just synonymous with bad behaviour and revolting habits. Teacher Kathy agrees with me. "I'm afraid I've never met a well behaved Ryan or Connor," she sighs, no doubt already scanning the register for this year's intake.

The problem is that these families don't do anything to reverse my opinion. While Aleesha and Chardonnay are running riot in Asda, at the other end of town in Waitrose, Isobel's biggest crime is eating too many organic olives from the deli counter's sample bowl.


I'm not saying children with posh names don't cause any bother at all, but on balance I'd bet my bottom dollar you'll get more grief from a Brandon than from a Henry.


Blogger Nickie agrees that it's hard not to be a snob about names. "Because name choice is so personal I try not to make judgements, but I can't help having pre-conceived ideas about children named Crystal or Britney (chavvy), Storm or Rain (hippy) and Rupert or Henrietta (upper class)." Nickie's personal pet hate is the ever popular double-barrelling of children's first names, when parents like two names so much they decide to use them both. So schools are filling up with girls called Amy-Leigh and Sherry-Mae, who almost always have painted nails by the time they're four and a range of high heels Imelda Marcos would be proud of.

Nickie's not precious about her own family either; "My granddaughter has one of those names and I cringe every time I hear it."

I sometimes wonder if I'm missing out on some great friendships because of my name snobbery, and perhaps I should have a go at curing myself. After all, maybe I'll end up best mates with Tyson's mother – we could swap parenting tales on a Friday night over a nice glass of Lambrusco.

So I'm open to suggestions on how to solve my name snobbery. Perhaps treatment could involve gradual exposure to children with the offending names; starting with the mildly awful Scotts and Jodies, and slowly working my way up to the Chelseighs and the Mitchells. Who knows? It could work.

I'm told the ultimate cure for name snobbery is being on the receiving end yourself. "Before I had children of my own I definitely based my opinions of a child (and its parents) on their name," Catherine tells me. "But then we picked an unconventional name for our baby and were amazed at the quizzical and even rude comments from people. It has stopped me ever criticising a child's name again."

Perhaps I should re-christen my eldest as part of my therapy; "Dwayne, time for supper, darling."


On second thoughts, I'm just not sure I could bear it – what on earth would the neighbours think?

Another name snob: Katie Hopkins!

Are you a name snob? Tell us what you think...