The Null Device

Old biddies named Julie, Debbie, Sharon and Tracey

Julie Burchill on fashions in naming:
Just think, in about 30 years there will be a generation of old biddies called Julie, Debbie, Sharon and Tracey... And old men called Wayne and Dwayne and Jason. Will their way of being old be different from the softly-spoken, stoic way today's Arthurs and Ethels do it? When we're gone, the mumbling, grumbling legions of arthritic Jades, Sades, Ryans and Finlays will take our place in the permanent dusk of the doctor's surgery, dirty-dancing feet finally immobilised by corns and bunions. That just shouldn't happen to a Kylie!
In America, Emma, Sophie and Kate are old ladies' names, while over here they immediately conjure up a hip Brit-babe, especially the latter - Kate Moss-Winslet-Beckinsale-Groombridge-Lawler. The US has its own knee-jerk hottie-handles - a 1980s pop-psychology bestseller was actually called The Jennifer Syndrome, and warned smug wives that females answering to this soft, sexy, elegant, old English name were the ones most likely to steal hubby from them. Twenty years later, little has changed...
Mary and John, once the British first-name equivalents of Smith and Jones, are rarely bestowed these days - you get the feeling that new parents now think of them as the next stage up from calling one's children One and Two...

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