Jewish World Review August 18, 2004 / 1 Elul, 5764
Is your name sexy?
An MIT study claims there's a science to good names
Expectant parents agonize over it what to name junior.
Well, here's a hint: Naming him after great grandpa Tucker may lead to playground ridicule and occasional beatings, but give it a few years: The chicks will dig it.
Men with short vowel names, such as "Tucker," "Bill" or "Keith," are perceived as sexier by the ladies. Don't take my word on it. In fact, don't take my experience on it. Listen to the source the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Amy Perfors, who is a researcher and linguist at MIT, posted picture of 24 friends of both genders on the Web site "HotorNot.com."
She included first names and had people rate their appeal. She played mix and match with the names and pictures, so she could be confident people were responding to the names, not the photos. For men, hard names rated well, front vowels, vowels you make with the front of your mouth, Matt, for instance.
The back of the vowel names like "George" and "Paul"? Not as sexy.
For women, it's the reverse. Names with longer vowels, vowels you make in the back of your mouth, this research concludes, like Sofia or Laura, were considered dreamiest. Nicole or Hanna, forget it.
Lynn Snowden Picket, a journalist and author whose work has appeared in "Esquire," "Rolling Stone" and "Vogue," thinks there is no truth to this science. "Names are the most subjective thing we have in this society," she said on Thursday's 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann.'
"Whenever you try to name a baby, you can guarantee that you are going to have arguments and fights with family and friends, who are going to say, 'Oh, don't name the baby Sam. I knew a terrible person named Sam' or, 'Oh, I love Sam. Sam was the name of my first love.' Our whole experience with names is based on the celebrity culture and with our own grade school experience or some teacher that we had. It's completely subjective within the person. It has nothing to do with vowel sounds."
"I think the celebrity influence is not to be underestimated," she adds. "I have friends who just named their baby 'Leonardo.' I know that there are 10-year-olds walking around now who are named 'Cody' because their moms thought that Kathie Lee Gifford was just the thing."
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
The writer hosts MSNBC's “Countdown with Keith
Olbermann.” The news program, dedicated to all
of the day’s top stories, telecasts weeknights, 8-9
p.m. ET. Comment by clicking here.
© 2003, MSNBC
07/08/04: Saddam's makeover: A review of the new and improved Saddam
06/22/04: The millionaires' club
06/18/04: Divas gone dumb?
06/17/04: Dangers of watching baseball
03/24/04: You're fired!: The catchphrase of the moment
03/17/04: The reasons people are beginning to hate sports
03/11/04: Bonesmen for president
03/05/04: Advice to Martha (just in case): How white-collar criminals can survive in prison
02/18/04: A. Rod in pinstripes: It's good for the Yankees, but is it good for baseball?
01/11/04: The Beatles wouldn't be proud of Justin: Has the rebellion been completely marketed out of music?
01/29/04: Reality politics, reality TV: Giving ordinary citizens a high profile soapbox
12/11/03: As the world churns …
11/03/03: The science of pop-cultcha?
10/20/03: Grief becomes celebrity
10/17/03: When critical baseball games are decided by fans
10/16/03: The Gospel according to The Simpsons?
09/26/03: As the Western World churns
09/11/03: Memories of 9/11
09/09/03: As the Western World churns
08/25/03: As the Western World churns
07/30/03: Nike, lawyer, almost canceling on Kobe?
06/20/03: The parenting files
06/19/03: As the world churns
06/13/03: The No. 1 story is No. 2: The poop on America and its bathrooms
06/04/03: Terror attack preparation: Too much or too little?
06/02/03: Bush vs. Clinton?
05/29/03: Ticket blitz in New York City? Hey, at least pregnant women won't be blocking stairwells
05/21/03: Barney as torture
05/08/03: Because you just can't take the news too seriously
04/30/03: Should we be more scared of SCARS, or a government that will readily deny you your freedom on the suspicion that you may have it?
04/29/03: Man bites dog --- really!
04/28/03: Because you just can't take the news too seriously ...
04/25/03: The panic over SARS
04/22/03: Playing and greeting cards in a changed world
04/21/03: Reading your own obituary ... and other 'oops' moments
04/15/03: Saddam Hussein and the Sorcerer's Stone: The secret to Saddam's immortality