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What Your British Name Says About You

This is an entirely scientific conversation. Sorry, Stephanie.

by , , ,

"Tom is the most inoffensive name. It screams, 'I don't belong in the class system, promise.'"

"Absolutely not. It's secretly posh. Toms are generally caddish but charming. Your girlfriend fancies someone called Tom."

"People called Tom often go by their surname because there are so many of them that it's logistically necessary."

"Or maybe they go by their surname because they all went to public school."

"Charlottes are the kinds of girls who let their highlights grow out, but somehow still look glamorous."

"Charlottes are cool. Charlies are cool. Lotties are cool. End of."

"Parents who call their kids Matt were probably very tired and couldn't think of anything more creative."

"Matt is functional. Workmanlike. It's a name for getting around in. Solid, but unspectacular."

"No one has ever seriously fallen out with a Matt."

"Matts have a favourite beer, but they're not dicks about it if the bar doesn't have it."

"There are always at least three Matts in a room. Matts move in threes."

"Anna has her eye on your job, and your boyfriend. She's not to be trusted."

"You can tell she's sneaky because she flips her hair a lot."

"Although she appears aloof and mysterious, Anna always makes her lunch the night before work. You'd just never suspect it because she's the kind of girl who always has a croaky voice."

"Anna always disappears towards the end of the night out."

"Everyone called Oscar lives in Islington or Tunbridge Wells."

"You're making a pretty strong statement, calling your child Oscar. Automatically sounds like he should be wearing a monocle. Imagine having to shout it in public. 'Oscar! Come on, Oscar!' You'd feel like a real dick."

"It's a better name for a cat than a human being."

"Oscars all have floppy hair."

"Floppy *fur*."


"Jennifer is such an '80s name. You don't get Jennifers any more, do you? I miss Jennifers. They always had ponytails. And exceptionally clear skin."

"They don't like it when you call them Jenny."

"There are still some Jennifers left, but you never meet them because they're all scientists."

"You're right. The only Jennifer I know is a scientist. And she hates being called Jenny."

"Calling your kid Harry has changed in meaning over the years. First it meant you just wanted a classic British boy's name. Then it meant you wanted your son to be a naughty prince. Now it just means you're basically using your child as a cosplaying prop."

"Posh Harrys are secretly called Henry."

"Harrys have overly firm handshakes. They really try and make a point by crushing your hand."

"And they're often ginger."

"Catherine is psychologically damaged."

"Except for Catherine of Aragon, who was a boss bitch."

"Cathy, on the other hand, is great. She's always up for a good time."

"Cathy is good at most things, but not intimidatingly so."

"And she's surprisingly funny on Snapchat."

"But the field she really excels in is wingwomaning. She tells your crush the exact right amount of information."

"Maxes all want to be the bloody prime minister when they grow up. It's a very potent sounding name – MAX! – and the problem is, they know it. We ought to start calling them Maximilian, just to take them down a peg or two."

"They're so sexy though."

"And funny. Maxes are hilarious."

"Maxes get in one fight in university and nearly get kicked out. But you still fancy them."


"Ugggghhhhhhhhh Stephanie."

"Stephanies are SO mean. Steph is the meanest mean girl at every school."

"You'll never understand why your male friends have a crush on Steph."

"Stephanies just get on better with guys, you know?"

"They are good at sport, though."


"Mark is a nice, non-fussy guy. Marc, on the other hand, is a dreamboat."

"Marc would cheat on you, Mark would never. But Marc is so hot that whatever."

"Marc would win you back with poetry, though."

"Sara is a cool, mysterious name. Sarah, on the other hand… It's hard to care."

"Sarah is like the female Tom. Solid, unremarkable. Prefect material."

"Sarahs were always the popular girls' sidekicks in school."

"And they're always blonde."

"When Sarahs turn 21 they get small, tasteful tattoos that can be covered up at work."

"A hundred per cent of people named Joshua are bellends."

"Joshua has an opinion about whether you call him Josh or Joshua, because he's a wanker."

"Josh is the reason Lad Bible keeps popping up on your Facebook News Feed."

"Joshuas like banter."

"Joshua can fuck right off."

"Hannahs are cheeky. They'll insist you have another drink, even if you really don't want one."

"They also have an air of cool about them. I suspect it's because you can write their name both ways."


"William is a nice name, but you have to question the motives of anyone who chooses such a regal name for their child. It's creepy."

"Case in point: I used to babysit a pair of brothers called William and Harry. Their dogs were called Charles and Camilla."

"Williams get good GCSE results. And they play the clarinet better than most."

"Your mum likes William: 'Why don't you go out with William instead of Max?'"

"Every Emily goes through a phase where she changes the spelling of her name to Emilie and starts plaiting her hair with eight strands instead of three."

"Emily is a snitch."

"Emily was extremely religious between the ages of 10 and 13, before her emo phase."

"Emilys are nicer in real life than they are on the telly."

"Edward. Ed. Ted. Teddy. They're all good, really. Can't go wrong."

"Edward always laughs at the jokes that everyone else ignores in the pub."

"Ed has a profile picture of himself smiling with a thumbs-up in front of a pub called the King Edward."

"Alice's parents were desperate not to offend."

"Alice has a sensible job and will settle down early."

"No one calls their child David any more, do they? Such a nothingy name. Might as well name them with a question mark, or a sigh. Or a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯."

"'Oh, I saw David the other day.' 'David... Which one's David?' 'You know, the one who's average height?' 'Hmmm, nope, not getting it.'"

"Davids secretly resent being called Dave."

"The best Davids never shorten their name. Dave Bowie. Wouldn't work. Michelangelo's Dave. Dave Lynch."

"Amy had no qualms about stealing your primary school best friend. Fuck you, Amy."


"You'd lend Michael 50 quid and trust him to pay it back."

"He drinks sensibly."

"Mike is the kind of guy who gets stuff done. If you need your bike puncture repairing, call Mike. He'll even pour you a G&T once he's done."

"Michaels break your heart when you're 15, but you forgive them for it."

"Kate has political ambitions."

"And a French boyfriend."

"She's fluent in French and Spanish."

"And she only drinks red wine. Thinks white wine is for plebs."

"I picture Sebastian doing that Patrick Bateman thing while having sex: flexing his bicep in the mirror. Sebastian fancies himself. If he could get off with himself he surely would."

"Seb has several large mirrors in his bedroom."

"He's considerably richer than you. He has a portfolio of investments and plays squash."

"Sometimes he makes you feel his shins, just so he can boast about his rugby injuries."

"Sebastian stocks up on expensive cologne in the Duty Free sections of exotic airports."

"Rachels have very little to say for themselves. They're superficially friendly but dead behind the eyes."

"Rachel misses the days when she was the hot one in Friends and S Club 7. That was her peak."

"Rachel uses a different voice when she speaks on the phone."

"Rachels are very boring. Rachaels, on the other hand, have too many piercings to be dull."

"Parents who call their kid Christopher were thinking about all the cute children's literature and not the bald Chris their son would become."

"Christophers are sexy when you are drunk and then less so."

"Christophers get sad for no reason sometimes."

"They all study geography."


"Jessicas are cool, in quite an unsmiling, humourless way. You admire Jessica more than you actually like her. She conveys an air of confidence, but underneath it she's quite unhappy."

"You suspect that Jessica is talking about you behind your back."

"When I grew up literally everyone was called James. It must have been so cool in about 1982. The height of fashion. I wonder why that was."

"People were only called Jamie when I grew up. Jameses were very square."

"James grew up with labradors."

"Poppy has big eyes. She's energetic and takes a lot of drugs, but somehow never seems to get hangovers. There's a lot of meaningful eye contact when you talk to Poppy. Possibly because of the drugs."

"Poppy doesn't brush her hair but it looks great anyway."

"She's ridden a lot of horses and has a weirdly good memory for song lyrics."

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