What’s in a name? Plenty if it’s a really unusual one

NICE NAME David Beckham with daughter Harper
NICE NAME David Beckham with daughter Harper
Mel Gibson as Kurt Mayron, Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron, Will Ferrell as Brad Taggart and John Lithgow as Don Taggart in Daddy's Home 2. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/Claire Fogler.

CHERYL GIBBS: Not a great film, but I still balled my eyes out

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What a nightmare it must be to name a child when you’re a celebrity. Any name you choose will be picked at and mulled over by the masses.

Whether the moniker is mundane or outlandish, I don’t think famous parents can win.

It’s a big enough responsibility for us mere mortals – and the only people we have to keep on side are immediate family members.

I practiced introducing myself with names which we had in the potential pot for all three of my offspring. That quickly sorted out the plain daft from the ‘actually, I could live with that’ ones.

To me, the Beckhams’ daughter’s name, Harper, passes that test admirably (though not when I added her middle name – Seven – to the process, as I felt silly saying that).

With a name like mine, I have a unique insight into the childhood, adolescence and adult life of someone whose name is regarded as being something of an oddity.

And so does my husband, who is called Garnett. How bizarre is that? What are the chances of meeting and marrying someone with a name as unusual as yours?

Would I have married a Dave or a John? I expect so (I did my fair share of dating men with ‘regular’ names), but it was the one with the oddest name who won my heart.

As a child it was fine. Kids are very forgiving, but as I moved into my teens it became more of a burden. As no-one had heard of a Zella before, they assimilated it with names they were familiar with. Then there were the comments about the Terrahawks, God-Zella, beer-Zella (Zella Artois) and so on and so forth.

When Xena the warrior princess took to our cinema screens, I got called that as well. It was then that I learned the unassailable truth.

When you have an odd name, every odd name becomes yours.

I wonder if the Beckhams spent many an hour accounting for every connotation they could think of. So that’ll be Harp, Harpic, Harps, Harpy (hmm, shouldn’t that have caused a furrow of the brow?)

They’ve still gone with Harper though. Why? Because it’s an excellent name, strong, unusual and a little dignified.