Well, then how about…

Or You’re Going to Call Your Baby What? (Part 2)

I don’t recall exactly how we were drawn to Beatrix. Part of it was because it’s an older name. According to the Social Security Administration’s Popular Baby Names database, Beatrice (and variations thereof) had decreased in popularity from the top 40’s in the first decades of the 20th century to #546 in the 1990’s. And as such, it seemed like a good name that has simply been out of fashion for about seven decades.

The only problem was everyone’s reaction to the name: “You know [pause], it sounds like a Vegas hooker,” “You know, uhhh, it sounds like an aging truck-stop waitress” and “I knew a tranny named Trixie.” We desperately tried to find out if there were any positive associations out there. Doesn’t anyone name their daughter Beatrix? Isn’t Trixie a cute name for a spunky, little girl skipping around? Won’t Bea make a cool nickname in high school? A google search wasn’t very helpful. There were plenty of pet ferrets, lizards and a sheep dog named Trixie, but no cute little babies — only wrinkly, raspy-voiced, little babies that reeked of stale cigarette smoke and diesel fumes.

We turned to the parent message forums next. We had to find out if we were condemning our daughter to years of ribbing. Now, nothing against these message boards, but they can be pretty predictable and repetitive as each new wave of soon-to-be parents logs on and posts something along the lines of:

“We are considering Alpha and Beta for our new [baby gender]. But what sounds better? Alpha Beta [Last Name] or Beta Alpha [Last Name]?”

Then tons of people write in about how both variations are truly beautiful and it’s a great name – a beautiful name – and congratulations!

And so, searching for validation, we took our turn at the wheel and declared our intention to use the name Beatrix. The reaction was less than encouraging. We got a lot of those Vegas/waitress reactions listed above as well as “it sounds like an old fat lady.” I was really surprised at such a cold reaction. I was like, what the hell, it’s a perfectly nice name, it’s just a little less popular. I needed to see if there was a baseline for determining truly bad baby names. I posted that we were considering a few unorthodox ones for our new daughter. The reaction was furious:

“You can’t name your daughter Velocity!!!”

“Pleeeeease!! do not call your daughter Deimos!”

“Think of your daughter!! Oxide is not a nice name for a little girl!”

“I understand that Hera might be a family name, but PLEASE use it as the middle name!!”

Phosphor?!!!??? Are you kidding”

Yes, I was kidding, but I had to see what would spark true outrage over a baby name. It didn’t really solve anything, but it made us realize that we should just find a name that works for us and not everybody else. (But, to be totally honest, I really do like the name Deimos. And Jennifer is still a fan of Phosphor.)

In the end, Beatrix won us over. I like it from a typographical perspective and we decided that Trixie wouldn’t be that out of place. Old-fashioned names are definitely making a comeback. Plus, people will start to remap their associations. Pretty soon, the message boards will be buzzing with “Trixie? That’s an adorable name! My drag queen friend just named his kid that!”

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52 Responses to Well, then how about…

  1. hannah says:

    Look, Trixie is a normal name. Just not over-used. I personally know a little girl named “Surreal” and another named “Rogue.” I still think that Surreal is borderline child abuse of a name. So Trixie has it good. When our best friends chose Ruby, I sorta thought it had a hooker-like sound. But now that I know her, she doesn’t seem like a baby prostitute. So, associations change. I always liked Trixie anyway. But thanx for the suggestions for unique names for our next one – I’m liking Velocity – kind of like Felicity, only faster and more exciting.
    Hannah

  2. Nicholas says:

    We went for uncommon, but not made up names. While pregnant we would discuss possible names with friends and family. Someone would always say something negative. Which would give us second thoughts and force us to drop the name. We ended up not telling anyone the name until the birth. People are less likely to trash talk a name after the child is born.

    Boy named Tierney, not even on the SS list.
    Girl named Devon, #762 on the list for girls. #161 on the list for boys. I think different ethnic groups use it for boys or girls.

  3. FrumDad says:

    In college I was friendly with an actual, real-live “Woodstock baby,” whose given name — and the name he went by — was Starfinder. I forgot his sister’s name but it was equally far out. I thought it was awesome, and wouldn’t have made fun of it even in high school. Though admittedly, in high school I was not high enough on the Hobbesian pyramid to make those determinations.

    In any event, you should realize that this very site is remapping the associations for legions of parents. There’s got to be a multiplier of some sort, too. So when she gets old enough to care, Trixie’s gonna have to thank you for actually helping make the name cool.

    Except she’s gonna complain how there are so many Trixies a year or two younger than her.

    –FrumDad
    (Orthodox Jewish Father)
    (Google Wangle)

  4. giddy says:

    My main association with Trixie is from a book for young girls about 11-year-old Trixie Belden, who was solving some mystery that popped up over her summer vacation. (I think it was a series, but I only ever read one of them.) It got me to troll around the neighborhood looking for mysteries to solve….but alas, real life just isn’t like that! Anyway, that association makes it a GREAT name.

    I’m pregnant now and starting to deal with the name conundrum again. We named my older daughter “Ella” a week before Kelly Preston/John Travolta produced “Ella Bleu Travolta” and Warren Beatty/Annette Bening produced “Ella Corinne Beatty” and a year before Dr. Green and Dr. Corday produced “Ella” on ER–so we thought we were being original. But now it’s in the top 50. The only good thing is that even the most common names aren’t as common now as they were in the 70s. (This is even more true for boys than girls!)

    When Ella was in utero, we called her “Banana” and several (gullible) people actually thought we’d name her that. Maybe we should have!

    My own name is Lithuanian. It’s difficult to pronounce and difficult to spell, and being the only one I’ve ever met with my name doesn’t make up for those drawbacks. It’s such a challenge to strike a balance. At least if you choose a word that’s unusual as a name but still familiar as a word, people can spell and pronounce it.

  5. benmac says:

    We’re totally comfortable with the name now. But we were in a different, terrifying, frame of mind when Jenn was 8 months pregnant and we were afraid that picking the ‘wrong’ name would be our first and biggest mistake as new parents (before we even were parents!) Looking back, it’s actually hard to remember exactly why it seemed so monumental.

  6. Nicholas says:

    I forgot to mention, we got the name Tierney from a street we passed. Tierney street is in East Raleigh off Delaney which is off Glascock and Melbourne. It is an Irish last name. Now I am told that last names as first names are typically given to girls. We like it.

  7. Michelle says:

    My 10 month old son Clark has is the proud owner of a much rarer name than we realized. I think it’s #812 on 2003’s Social Security list. I’m very glad that it’s familiar enough that spelling and such is not an issue.

    We named him after my husband’s grandfather, but also I just loved the name. Who would have thought Superman’s name would be so rare? I think it’s just gone out of fashion over the years – perhaps a bit like Trixie.

  8. benmac says:

    I think Superman names are great. I really, really liked the name Lois (another older name) but Jenn wasn’t on board with that one.

  9. Lindsay says:

    Beatrix is a gorgeous name. I like Trixie, but I hope she will be Beatrix when she’s older. I also associate Trixie with the Trixie Belden girl detective series. And Jenn and Ben, you can’t possible worry about Trixie when Gwyneth Paltrow is out their naming her kid Apple. I mean, come on.

  10. benmac says:

    Very true. The “Federal Registry of Trademarks” option in today’s poll was included just for Gwyneth.

  11. Ann says:

    When I read this site, I think of Speed Racer’s girlfriend Trixie. And she was cool.

    We had resistance to nearly every name we came up with for our first. “That’s so old-fashioned!” “I knew an Oscar and he was an old, drunk guy!” So we *tried* not to tell anyone about our ideas for the second. Now every name we’ve thought of is incredibly popular. It just seems to happen that way.

  12. Shauna says:

    Originally my husband wanted to name our son Kierkegaard after the Danish existentialist philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. I thought that would be a bit much and too many vowels for any kindergartener to try to master.
    So we settled on Keir which actually is Celtic and means dark and swarthy (pirate-like)–rather cool.

  13. Cori says:

    We came to Beatrix for our daughter (6 months old, not too far behind your Trixie) via Beatrix Potter, and my love of old-fashioned, 40’s-esque names, and watching the Speed Racer collection on DVD in the last couple of months before she was born.

    I think Trixie is a great spunky girl name, and she can be Judge Beatrix ____-___ when she’s grown. Also her friends in high school can say, “Yo, B! Whassup?”

    I like old-fahioned names, I like the cool “x” in her name, and I love that it’s nowhere to be found in the top 50 SSA list.

  14. istya says:

    My first thought when I saw ‘Beatrix’ was ‘cool, they named her after the author of Peter Rabbit’…

  15. scazz says:

    Post Apple Martin, Defamer has listed some advisory sites to prevent parents from condeming their children to a life of ridicule, including “10 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Baby’s Name.”

    I think Beatrix is excellent (especially after the excellent “Beatrix Kiddo”). I’ve considered Eunice and Agnes; I love those older names. Consider what atrocities some celebrities have named their children. I mean some of those just have to be completely made up.

  16. Charlie says:

    Alpha Beta is actually a really cool name, gonna lobby hard for that one on #2.

  17. jet's mom says:

    we had a hard time coming up with girls names. i wanted something that could live up to my name – genevra (after a da vinci portrait), and i like one syllable names with my husbands last name (james). he came up with jet, which i liked and have saddled our 2 month old daughter with. even though its in the same vein, i like it better than apple.
    here is a website that is a collection of chats about bad baby name ideas – thought if you hadnt already seen it, you might like it.

    http://www.notwithoutmyhandbag.com/babynames/

  18. A says:

    Did any one watch “Kill Bill” 🙂 Uma Thurman’s character’s name was “Beatrix” and she kicked ***!

  19. fedward says:

    My initial reaction to the name Beatrix was to assume that one or both parents was of Dutch extraction and just loved their Queen.

    Personally I like it a lot. If it’d been “Beatrice” instead I’d be reminded of creepy TV commercials, and the Queen of the Netherlands is a much better reference point.

  20. Kirsten says:

    I love the name. Although I kind of like Bea better than Trixie. But Trixie is cuter for a little girl. My daughter’s name is Edith and her nickname is Edie, although I prefer Edith. Everyone who comments on it generally just say, “Oh, that’s my grandma’s name.” So maybe it will help her live to a nice old age having an old lady name. Beatrix is just so nice because it makes me think of the Beatrix Potter books. I have discovered that you can’t please everyone so you should just go with what you like. The baby currently in residence in me will most likely be Maude if it’s a girl or Rufus if it’s a boy. And no one likes either of them but my husband and I.

    On another note the woman at my local knitting store named her daughter Lucinda and her husband named the second daughter Lisa. Lucinda loves her name. And Lisa asked why she got stuck with the “boring” name and not the good name. So I think in general most people like having a unique name.

  21. Jennifer says:

    born in 1966.
    I went with Jenni, to separate from the crowd.
    and now my 8 1/2 month old daughter is tallulah.
    need i say more?

    (by the way, NO reference to demi’s kid. it is a family name. well, that is, i THOUGHT it was until just weeks before she was born, and my granny, upon hearing that i was going to name our daughter after her mother, said, “that wasn’t her name. (long pause). it was LOULA.” well, anyway, after a 15 minute debate the morning after she was born, her father (perhaps, perhaps not, taking advantage of my blissful state) decided on the embellishment, figuring she could always shorten it. now, of course, i’m with ben. hard to imagine why the whole process was such an ordeal. finally, beatrix was one of my favorite names, until it was ix-nayed on account of a bad aunt on my boyfriend’s side of the family. damn, gotta check into those things before you procreate with just any-ol’-body…

  22. Amy says:

    Jennifer – your comment about the nixing because of the bad relative comment made me crack up! In our case, it was Henry. Oh, we loved the name! Until my mother reminded me it was the name of my paternal grandmother’s married boyfriend. Even though she died in 1985, THAT still holds very bad memories for both my dad and uncle! Sigh. Knock that one off the list.

    We finally decided on Jonathan, with my great grandmother’s maiden name (Kemp) for his middle name. He is 5 now and loves his name! Although he swears his middle name is Camp. Perhaps with our Southern accents, that’s what it sounds like? LOL!

    Ah, the name game!

    Amy

  23. schaff says:

    In re: truck stops, Vegas, and transsexuals, I think it was I who first brought all of those concerns to the attention of the unborn baby’s parents. But it was just to see if they had a tough enough resolve to go forward with their vision.

    I think they’ve proven it was all wasted concern, because while until 2003 we might have clung to outdated notions that “Trixie” signified the above institutions, in 2004 and beyond, “Trixie” is the mark of “baby-charting software you’ve grown to trust”. Congratulations on not just naming your baby, which most people can do, but reconfiguring society’s expectations surrounding that name. You’ve “taken back” “Trixie”.

    If she has a sister, maybe she can be “Roz”.

  24. Greg says:

    Shauna,
    We went with Soren — much easier to spell than Kierkegaard!

  25. jessica says:

    I like oxide. I’ve always been partial to science names. I’m a scientist. I’ve been lobbying for Borrelia (causative agent of lyme disease), Shigella and so on for years. I think the only ones I can get away with are Amyl, Ferrous, and Ester. My cousin convinced my aunt that they were deciding between Pez and Orrin. There were rumblings of dissent.

  26. Christopher Bell says:

    I don’t know about the USA, but Beatrix has some definitely non “truck stop waitress” connotations over this side of the Atlantic.

    For example the Duchess of York has a daughter called (Princess) Beatrix.

    There is also a Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

    Trixie, on the other hand, makes one think of Bob Geldof (daughters Trixibelle and Fifi Peaches, or some permutation of those names anyway. Very nice man, and a good father, according to my Godson who went to the same school as the aforementioned kids for a while, but perhaps a little “nominationally challenged”, or whatever the politically correct term in the USA would be.)

    Christopher Bell, UK

  27. Pamela H. says:

    Oh growing up I hated the my name. It was oh so common. I wanted different names for my children. Well i had three sons with somewhat common names. ie:
    James William (first after father and middle after grandfather)
    Terry Bruce II(after Father {2nd marriage})
    Michael Angelo (born x-mas day , Angel is in angelo also my hubby’s deceased uncles name was Michael, My hubby is an anrtis and the teenage mutant ninja turtle)

    Then came the girls. Here we get a little different, and yes I have the brady bunch for my brood!!

    Meshia Chante’ ( bored to tears, made it up with my mom)
    Diamond Skyy (divorced and have S.O. and his love for Diamonds inspired this name, The Skyy my sister thought up)
    Sapphire Rochelle ( Born in September, the birthstone and staying in time with the gem theme.. and Rochelle came from Grammas name ‘Roenna’ and aunts name ‘Michelle’ mixed together.
    I cannot find “Sapphire” on any list or “Meshia”. They have very unique names….(until i posted them here)
    Pamela

  28. FrumDad says:

    This past weekend I met a nice young family with a two year old named “Beatrix.” Which prompted me to a long monologue about how “Trixie” is such a great name and there’s this website and I thought it was a little odd but I’ve gotten used to it and I’m pretty much crazy about this “Trixie” kid and how it’s such an excellent nickname and strong and hard to make fun of, too, which is important…

    For about 5 full minutes. Before I realized the chill I was feeling was the icy stare from her mother.

    “We call her ‘Bea.’ We don’t really like ‘Trixie.'”

    Oh. well, um. If you could just help me pull this shoe out of my mouth, then, I’ll just be on my way.

    But then I told them about this site. I’ll bet they start calling her Trixie any day now.

    –FrumDad
    (google wangle: Orthodox Jewish Father)

  29. hope says:

    I like it. Hey, I want to name my kid Roxanne/anna (Roxie) if I ever had one. Now there’s a name that sounds like a porn star..

  30. schaff says:

    After all the press that the Trixie Update has been garnering, it’s not really surprising that it has itself become a major news source. I just wanted to point out that TTU scooped NYT recently.

    Last week, the New York Times, in its ongoing human-interest series on Las Vegas, conducted a lengthy interview with a stripper named Trixie. Whereas, here at the Trixie Update, we’d already covered that issue fairly completely.

    Congratulations, Trixie Update, on beating the New York Times to the discussion of this important issue. Now, what about Valerie Plame? Do you think her parents called her “Val”?

  31. benmac says:

    Yeah, all that story means is that we have to redouble our efforts to take back the name from the striptease industry. When we get done, Trixie will be as popular a name for strippers as Gertrude or Agnes.

  32. Patrick H. says:

    I also very much like Beatrix (a beautiful name), but Trixie probably should remain a family “pet” name. Perhaps it’s just my connotation, but it seems a name that will not travel well into adulthood and might even lead to a fair bit of hair-pulling by peers as early as grade school. I hope when you pack her off to kindergarten (or whenever she begins school) she will only be referred to as Beatrix. I’m also curious, do you pronounce it with the “X” sound, or as if it were “Beatrice”? I’ve heard it said both ways and was wondering what your approach is.

  33. benmac says:

    We like the flexibility of the name. Beatrix, Trixie, Bea and Bebe — we’re not sure what she’ll go by. As for pronunciation, we say it with three syllables and the “X” sound.

  34. Elizabeth says:

    I also associate “Trixie” with the Trixie Belden mysteries – a happy memory. You’ll have to get them for her when she’s reading.

    We had similar reasons for naming our daughter Dorothy. It’s a family name, but what we really liked is that everyone knows how to spell it, but it’s not very popular at the moment. Hopefully, she won’t feel that her childhood has been blighted by Wizard of Oz jokes.

    And speaking of science names, her middle name is Maia, after one of the Pleiades. We have a print of the star cluster over her crib. We also have cats named Cobalt and Rhodium.

  35. Sue Denim says:

    A friend told me about your site, and that I just HAD to check it out because of our 4 year old TRIXIE. Yes, there’s another one. We also had the same reaction when we told people that her name was Beatrix aka Trixie. “Beatrix sounds like an old British marm,” and “Trixie sounds like a stripper.” I’ve found that over the past 4 years that either people love the name, or they become really quiet and kind of give a lame pathetic sort of smile. My Dad always called my mother Trixie as a form of endearment years ago. I guess he got it from the Honeymooners, and they even had a pet squirrel named Trixie. I’ve had a mannequin named Trixie for the past 20 years. And now I have my very own flesh and blood Trixie, and a real Trixie she is–energetic, sly, a real imp, with a great sense of humour!!

  36. Rose says:

    When I lived in England and was working in a preschool, one of my young charges was named Beatrix. We always called her ‘Bea’,which was her nickname. I always thought Beatrice was a British name. Isn’t there a children’s story with a character named “beatrice” or “beatrix”?

  37. emma says:

    perhaps you already know of this website…
    http://babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html

    it’s pretty interesting from an information graphic design standpoint, rendering results in real-time.

  38. Kristen says:

    We kept our daughter’s name a secret until she was born, because we didn’t want to hear a bunch of the same “you can’t name her THAT!”

    After she was born, the first thing my mom said was, “Oh my god, don’t you remember I had a DOG named Trixie?”

    Thanks, Mom.

    So, do fellow Beatrix-parents mysteriously gravitate here?

  39. Emilie says:

    My name was ohh so common, but with a “twist” to it… low and behold Emilie, with the -ie… Annoying when people would spell it wrong on name tags, having to make the 2nd “i” thick because it had originally been a “y” as they were writing it while I was trying to spell it. Anyway when it came to naming our twin sons, we picked “comon” names…
    Jaymes Mikay (pronounced MIC, and than the letter “i”)
    and
    Zakary Shawn

    The given nicknames were Jamie, and Zack, we love that they are very common names, but spelled in an odd way… I know this is a late post, but I thought I would add in my 2 cents… By the way BEATRIX is an ADORABLE name. I always found Trixie to be a cute, dainty, boistrus, exciting, and “girly” yet (so well put) “spunky” name… I love it!

  40. Valerie says:

    Whenever I see the name Beatrix I think of the Ramona books I read as a kid and her sister, named Beatrice. Ramona couldn’t say Beatrice at first and instead called her “Beezus” and the nickname stuck. Hopefully nothing like that will happen to Trixie. I wanted to name our son Dylan or Devin and my husband thought they sounded like “white trash” names. We named him Tyler, and hubby wanted to spell it “Tiler.” Sigh. It’s so hard to be original these days, so good for you Ben and Jenn for sticking to your guns!

  41. christina says:

    for the record, is Beatrix pronounced “Be-uh-trix” or “Be-uh-triss” ? i’ve always said it the first way, but a friend insists on the 2nd way and says “it’s English” . . .

  42. benmac says:

    It’s the first way. Like the cereal. We’re not English.

  43. Caroline says:

    There’s an old superstition about not discussing the name of the child with anyone other than the other parent. I thought this was silly, so we started telling people what we are naming our little girl. Clearly though, the reason is not that the baby will be harmed, it’s that people will offer unwanted opinions. My father practically spat when I told him what we were thinking of for a middle name. And HE gave ME the middle names Giorgiana and Phippen (yes- two of them), so is he really qualified to pass judgment?

  44. Peta says:

    well, try growing up with Peta as a girls name- people constantly asking you why u have a boy’s name!! Fact is, even with all the rubbish other people come up with i have always liked my name- its other people’s problem, not mine!! So don’t stress about what your children will think- i know for a fact i wouldn’t change my name, its who i am!
    Also, I am currently 8 months pregnant and have also been playing the name game- as my partner is chilean we wanted to go spanish names. Carlos is a family tradition as the first name, and i love Deigo for a second name- but the issues other people have! I have even fallen out with a friend because of it- she told me that if i insisted on calling my child Carlos Deigo, she would not use it, and instead told me she’d call him Jack. I don’t know whether this is just and australian thing, but i think people need to just relax and realise that the parents are the ones who’ll be using the name the most, so it’s important its a word they like, not everybody else!! 😉
    P.s. i am also a big fan of beatrix- mostly because i like the letter x! 🙂

  45. Lori says:

    We didn’t tell anyone what we were going to name our baby for the reason Caroline mentions: We didn’t want people voting. I figured once he was out and named, people could mutter behind our backs if they wanted, but only my mother-in-law would ever complain to our faces. 🙂 Even without outside feedback, we had some hilarious conversations between ourselves over what would fly and what wouldn’t. One of the names I suggested was Keiran (though I wanted to spell it Kieran), which is Irish/Celtic; my husband vetoed it vehemently because he thought people would think our son was named Karen. In the end, we went with a name my husband suggested (Austin, after the bionic man) and the spelling I wanted (Austen, after Jane).

  46. cynthia says:

    Your site came up doing a search I can’t remember what but I just started it seems interesting I wish I had done this for my son his name is “Lennox” so Trixie does’nt sound too unusual to me. Isn’t Trixie the name of Speed Racers Girlfriend? Have you ever watched that Cartoon?

  47. steve says:

    Trixie is a beautiful name and a cute name for a “spunky little girl skippling round”. Someone told me the name Trixie is “strong but sweet”. This makes sense as it has the strong “tr” and “x” sound but ends with the soft “i” sound. Few of the “y”/”ie” girl names have this characteristic (Mary, Sally, Cindy, Betty, etc). I envision an adult Trixie being a strong, independent, smart, beautiful, assertive woman with a softer side. (and yes, Speed Racer’s girlfried was named “Trixie” and she was all of the above, thank you very much.) Trixie means “bringer of joy” and what baby girl hasn’t brought more joy to her parents than they ever thought possible? The reasons for the names people give their children are numerous and varied and I think of my reasons everytime I pick up my beautiful newborn baby girl and whisper, “hello Trixie” in her ear.

  48. Gina says:

    Does Trixie watch “Lazytown”? There’s a Trixie on there. Everytime, I hear the theme song, I think of your Trixie!

  49. emily says:

    This has been a great page to read, thank you. I am 8 months pregnant and Beatrix is my first choice name if the baby turns out to be a girl. the name popped into my head seemingly randomly and much to my surprise everyone in my circle loves it. my boyfriend loves your baby tracking software more than anything however, even better than the name Trixie, which is the only name we’ve been able to agree on after going through about 300 of them so far!

  50. Christi says:

    Uh oh.
    Paul McCartney’s youngest is named Beatrice.

    You know how that bastard is about starting trends.
    😉

  51. christine says:

    Eversince high school I dreamt of the name “Trixie”.Now I’m 5 months pregnant and I’m looking forward naming my first-born baby girl “Trixie Jade”.I just can’t believe it…!I’m so excited!!!I don’t care what the name means I just love to call my baby “Trixie Jade–Tj” for short.

  52. Susie says:

    Perhaps this really is the place where parents of Trixies congregate 🙂
    We had our Beatrix Blythe in 2012. Tried the Bea option, nah. Definitely a Trixie – or more commonly still known as “The Trixster”. YAY for others who see the fantastic merits of Beatrix – and yes, I am biased.