Until I was about 14 years old, I had never met another Olivia. It wasn’t necessarily a source of pride until Google came into existence and I absolutely crushed the only other Olivia Allin in the world in terms of search results. Poor girl never had a chance. But then came Olivia Wilde. And Olivia Munn. And now that Olivia is the most popular girl’s name of 2010, the magic is gone. Even
Dawson James Van Der Beek named his daughter Olivia! This psychological warfare has done a number on me and I will maybe forever hold a wrath-filled grudge against my procreating peers. Now, I look back on the elementary school years when I was “Olivia from Bolivia” with fondness. My name is no longer unique. Or more accurately, won’t be by the time all those jerk baby Olivias grow up. Almost every time I’m in a store these days, some mother will call out to an “Olivia” and I will inevitably turn to see if her little face holds all the things I believe an Olivia to be and if she doesn’t, I am hugely disappointed. I want to revoke their special name-given superpowers of wit and human kindness.
I hated having a unique name when I was little but started to relate to all the other kids with eccentric parents—my three best friends are named Saskia, Demetra and Hester. But while they get to keep their names, I have to deal with other 20-something women saying, “Oh, Olivia’s such a beautiful name! It’s my first choice for my yet-to-be-conceived baby!” I am always polite about it, but why the hell would you name your kid what everyone else is naming their kid? It worked for my parents nearly three decades ago and while it might still be pretty, it’s no longer unique.
Maybe it’s just gotten to the point where it’s another generic name to pick out of the baby book but when my parents threw around Olivia or Liv for short, they were seemingly pulling it out of the atmosphere. They were name pioneers. They named my brother Logan after a craggy rock off the ocean in Treen, England. You guys can have that one if you like too, since apparently, nothing is sacred and it pains me that he is winning the name game.
Maybe we Olivias should be flattered that our name has been so embraced, but it is a strange thing to go from weirdo to “most popular” in the course of one’s life. It’s kind of like getting made fun of for being pigeon-toed and then having everyone start walking pigeon-toed because it’s cool now (I totally could have come up with a better example) and then everyone assumes you’re faking it, too. Or something. I think we should take a cue from all the weirdo celebs who name their kids after fruit and audio equipment—if you want your kid to stand out, give them a name that will get them made fun of when they’re little. They’ll be stronger for it eventually and won’t have to go through dozens of Google pages to exist on the internet. Or you can name them something normal, if normal is your MO.
That said, looking at James Van Der Beek’s daughter’s tiny little Gerber baby face and the way she clasps her miniature hands, it is obvious that she is meant to be an Olivia. So go forth, piquito Olivia Van Der Beek, stay out of neighbor boy’s windows, and bring forth the awesome!