How To Name Your Child After Beer, Brunch and Roller Derby

feature image via Little Lesbian Baby Blog

Vanessa’s Team Pick:

Does anyone else lie awake at night panicking about what you’re going to name your future spawn, or is that just me? I just get panicky, you know, because I live in Williamsburg so most of my peers are hipsters, and I just feel like I’m going to need an incredibly original baby name, otherwise I’ll be totally screwed and the other hipster parents won’t want to organize play dates with me and no one will ever offer to cover my shift at the CSA so I can take my baby to yoga. These fears don’t make sense because I don’t even like yoga, but what can I say? I’m an anxious person.

Anyway whether my fears are weird or not, it’s like Miek Bruno and Kerry Sparks read my mind. Behold their creation: Hello, My Name is Pabst: Baby Names for Noncomformist, Indie, Geeky, DIY, Hipster, and Alterna-Parents of Every Kind.

Hello, I contain a chapter titled “Names For Freaks and Geeks”

Thanks to this helpful guide, I now have a plethora of baby name ideas swimming around my brain. For example, I could choose a “Name That Kick Ass on the Roller Derby Track,” like Midge, Derby, Dixie, Betty, or Darla. I could pick a “Vegan/Gluten-Free Name,” such as Sage, Daiya, Saffron, Nutmeg, Silverstone, or Peta. Obviously I’d be happy for my future child to have one of the “Names That Are Out of the Closets and Into The Streets”: Aiken, Dumbledore, Maddow, Susan B. Spacey, Gayle, and Tinky Winky all sound like good options. The possibilities are endless! Bruno and Sparks have compiled short useful chapters on every possible kind of name one’s little Etsy-loving heart could desire, including “Names That Do Brunch,” “Names That Look Good Painted on a Food Truck,” “Names That Could Rock a Miranda July Haircut,” and “Names That Can Live on Ramen Noodles.”

The book will be available for purchase in October 2012, but if you need some child-naming inspiration in the meantime, check out their website. Then tell me what you’ve decided to call your future child who will inevitably have cute sleepovers with my future child while the grown-ups brew our own craft beer in the kitchen and giggle about the old days when Autostraddle raised $100,000 and then went on to take over the world.

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. It has been decided. I shall name my first born Elddar Tsotua in tribute to you fine women.
    It shall be pronounced ‘Elder So-too’ and it will be the hippest tot in all the land.

    In other news: Someone actually names their kid this and I’ll send a really awesome care package of tacky but personalized knitted clothing.

  2. Here’s the deal. If you think it’s a wonderful idea, that somebody should be named Fantasy or Seattle or Best Buy, then go down to the courthouse and pay your $60 and name YOURSELF Fantasy or Seattle or Best Buy. You are a full-grown and consenting adult, not a helpless infant, and you can make this choice for yourself. Do not inflict this on someone who can’t even fight back until they’re 13 or so…

    • i think if anyone takes this post/book seriously and actually names their kid one of these, that kid is going to have more problems with their parents than just their hipster name…

      • i have no idea what you’re talking about pips. obviously this post is 100% serious. little tinky winky is not going to be happy to know you were mocking her/questioning my parenting abilities before she was even born…


      • Seattle is a real name… It’s Native American. Just saying, for those who think it would be “inflicting” something on someone, it could just be inflicting culture.
        I mean, I see your point, but just in case.

  3. Names this post has made me consider for future children:

    Arnold (after the Arnold Palmer tea I’m drinking.)

    Thank you Vanessa!

      • My grandpa’s name is Telemachus, so everyone always calls him T or Tee (I dunno, I’ve never seen it spelled out). It’s a pretty cool name!

      • I have a friend called ‘Thi’ and it’s pronounced ‘tea’, it’s confusing for everyone. I think it’s Vietnamese.

        • Yeah, I worked with a Vietnamese girl who had that name – she transliterated it as Thy, though. Which always got mispronounced, too.

        • I’ve also seen it spelled Thuy. I thought maybe there was a subtle “ui” dipthong, where the “ee” sound wins out, but it comes from a different place in the mouth and throat.

  4. I’ve always been partial to the name Levi, but now I think I’m going to have to name my future Olympian Tenley. Ze will be a master decathlete.

  5. I feel semi-awful about it, but I’m pretty sure I’m naming my kid Willow or River if it’s a girl, and Wesley or Malcolm if it’s a boy. I am nerdy and unashamed of it. I’m just disappointed that there aren’t a lot of names from Harry Potter that your kid won’t hate you for.

    • I’d name my kid Hermione because I love Shakesperian names in general…

      But there’s several HP names that are pretty average — Fred, George, Dean, Seamus, Cedric (except Cedric was a loser), James, Lily, Harry, Molly, William (Bill), Charles, etc.

  6. I literally sit around making lists of baby names. And drive past streets with cool names ad nearly crash while writing them down.
    A book could be a safer option.

  7. I wanted to name my first boy Finn until that hulking pile of singing crap came along and ruined it for me.

  8. My cousin has three kids. If she has another one and it’s a boy, apparently his name will be Nathan Jayne Reynolds.

  9. haha I already have kid names picked out. Trance if it’s a boy, Jake if it’s a girl. though I saw a pic of a cute little boy named vandal. SO CUTE!

  10. Maddow is actually a super cute first name. It’s kind of like Maddox, but better!

    I still don’t want kids, though. Maybe for a kitten? I only think of names for future kittens, not children.

  11. Even though I hate being that person this post makes me feel less alone/like a straight girl, so I can admit that I have already planned to give my hypothetical kids ridiculously Greek names from mythology/history.

    • you’re not alone! and ridiculously greek names sound like a great idea for your hypothetical babies.

    • I love this. My current cat’s name is Ferdinand (i.e. King of Spain, I used to have a dog named Isabella as well) and I must say that it’s nearly spot-on. I’ve given serious consideration to a couple of sacrilegious names as well. For one thing, they can be hilarious, not to mention the fact that some of them just sound like damn good dog names (e.g. Judas, Allah, Jesus H Christ).

  12. I name my pets after food. Maybe I’ll end up doing that with kids too. Poor hypothetical things, no one should have to go through life called named after your favorite curry.

  13. I’ve always wanted to name a girl Lucy after the famous Australopithecus fossil, and lately I’ve been leaning towards Erasmus for a boy and Trestana for a girl after reading Neal Stephenson’s book Anathem

  14. Roxanne. Like seriously, if I ever had to flee a country and change my name, I would be a Roxanne.
    But considering I don’t spend much of my time doing said fleeing of countries, I’ll just have to impose the name on helpless infants instead.

  15. I think what people tend to forget about when they’re naming babies, is that these babies will grow up to be angst-ridden teenagers who do not need another reason to hate you…

  16. A PSA from someone who is name after a spice:

    Giving your kid a cool name is fine and well for you but as an adult your child might tired of having the same conversation with people, not to mention the stupid jokes. If they are introverted, saying their name in public will really add to the joy.

    Traditional (whatever that means) names are perfectly fine. Let the kid be unique through their actions.

    • I second that.
      My first name is a regular name. My last name on the other hand is the word for “sugar” in my language. It’s the most beautiful last name to have, I think, and I wouldn’t change it ever, but you have to grow into it and get used to people always pointing out your name and making the same remarks over and over again.
      When you have done that though you can use your name for your own benefits. Just sayin’. ;)

    • I have a pretty unusual name, too, but while I hated it as a youngster, I love it as an adult. (It’s a traditional name, just not in English.)

    • *as an adult your child might tired of having the same conversation with people, not to mention the stupid jokes* –> YES! i have a love/hate relp with my given name (Lovejoy Erniellet)

  17. Peta made me cackle, it’s such an unfortunate name.

    My taste in names is really boring. There are loads of outlandish literary names I love but I’m sure my kids would hate me for them, so I might use them as middle names and choose average-sounding first names. I’m really partial to Thomas.

    • I’m reading the Iliad right now and I just love the name Briseis but I hate the idea of naming a child after a character who is basically made of cardboard and whose only purpose is being Achilles’ shiny toy that got taken away from him and made him act like a whiny baby, and not even because he liked her but just because she was HIS PRIZE.


  18. you guys we’re all clear that i’m not ACTUALLY going to name my future child pabst, tinky winky, or nutmeg, right??

    • Dear Vanessa–

      I will only babysit your future offspring if you name them Pabst, Tinky Winky, or Nutmeg.



  19. Oh dear, if we’re naming kids after drinks then I’ll end up with twins named English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast

    • truthfully i’d like to name my children benedict and florentine, in honor of my favorite brunch foods.

  20. Also I was in Physics class yesterday and my prof kept talking about velocity and the more he said “velocity” the more I thought Velocity sounded like a really pretty name. It’s like a nerdy modern twist of Felicity.

  21. One of my brothers is dead set on naming his (as yet) hypothetical daughter Iodine.

    Then a girl called Iodine turned up in one of the Tiffany Aching books and he was SO MAD Pratchett had “stolen” the name from him.

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