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January 20, 2009 9:02 AM   Subscribe

On naming son with the same name as emerging boy band: would you, or wouldn't you?

Mr. Dreamphone and I were seriously considering naming our son "Jonas," until I recently learned of the boy-band The Jonas Brothers. Although I hadn't heard of them before, I'm told that they've been around a couple of years and are a teen sensation.

I'm not looking to take a poll, just want to be sure that I'm thinking this through before deciding whether to toss the name in the scrap heap and choose another while there's still time. Some concerns I have are whether the band will cause a "boom" in the name (a la Jennifer in the 1970s and Brittany in the 1990s), and constant association with the name in the event that this particular pop phenom doesn't disappear into oblivion over the next few years.
posted by dreamphone to Grab Bag (84 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
If you're in doubt, and there aren't some good reasons on the 'yes' side (like, say, a family history), I'd say toss it in the scrap heap.
posted by box at 9:10 AM on January 20, 2009


Jonas is already on its way up in popularity, if that makes a difference to you. But there are still 330 boy names that are more popular. I haven't heard of the band, and my guess is twenty years from now they'll be a footnote in pop music history. I wouldn't rule out a name just for that reason.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:14 AM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I doubt there will be a boom in the name as a first name, since it's their last name. I also think there's enough of a gap in the generations between the Jonas fans (who are pre-teens now) and your child's generation that it won't be a burden.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:14 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I should have added that I'm pretty attached to the name - have wanted a boy named this for years. I'd be pretty crushed to lose it. But still, I don't want to be kicking myself when he's the 5th Jonas in his 1st-grade class.
posted by dreamphone at 9:14 AM on January 20, 2009


Unlike, say, Miley, Jonas has an established history as a name. Also, the Jonas Brothers demographic is, as far as I can tell, about 12 at the moment. That gives you several years before what might be the biggest Jonas "boom," and by then they likely will have gone the way of the Hanson Brothers. MMbop.
posted by charmcityblues at 9:17 AM on January 20, 2009


Link should have been to Miley, not Britney. But same idea.
posted by charmcityblues at 9:18 AM on January 20, 2009


People around my (our?) age are probably more likely to think Weezer than the Jonas brothers.
posted by gaspode at 9:20 AM on January 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


Since it's currently ranked at 331, I'd be surprised if there was more than one more Jonas in his whole school. Last year, only one kid in every 4,500 was named Jonas. It would have to rise tremendously to have the kind of spike you are concerned about.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:21 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love the name. Use it and be sure he knows the reason that you chose that name for him. That will make it special and unique. Congrats!!
posted by pearlybob at 9:24 AM on January 20, 2009


Assuming you're in the US, this suggests that their popularity may even have already peaked. Or their next single could be the biggest of the year...
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:25 AM on January 20, 2009


Use it and say you're a big Weezer fan.
posted by Twicketface at 9:31 AM on January 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's certainly various trends in how people name their kids, and it wouldn't surprise me if the names chosen are at least somewhat influenced by actors or bands- hell, I know a girl whose mom 'accidentally' named her Sihaya after the place in Dune.

I wouldn't give your kid any one of those resurrected Christian names like Aaron or Ethan or Jeremiah or Ezekiel or ESPECIALLY Jonas, since they really do carry a connotation that you might not want. Besides, do you want your son to be associated with the Jonas Brothers once those kids start to go downhill?
posted by dunkadunc at 9:33 AM on January 20, 2009


No matter what you name your child, there will be some baggage - too popular, too weird, etc.

If you love the name Jonas and you've wanted that name for your child, then Jonas it is. The Jonas Brothers demographic is (hopefully) not the baby naming demographic. Even if there are 3 Jonases in kindergarten is it really a big deal?

Please remember to post pics when your son Jonas makes his debut.
posted by 26.2 at 9:39 AM on January 20, 2009


How about Jonah?
posted by robinpME at 9:41 AM on January 20, 2009


Do not want.

I would be embarrassed for a kid named Jonas, assuming that either he was named after a song by a band called "Weezer" or that he has siblings named Rumer and Huntyr.

The name has already boomed, relatively, and is part of the larger boom of second-tier Bible names.

He might not have another Jonas in his class, but he'll probably be in class with a Jonah and a Micah and a Caleb. They could all get together and write epistles.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:44 AM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Most people don't pick names of famous people.
This essay was also in Freakonomics, I think.
posted by Airhen at 9:45 AM on January 20, 2009


If you want it, do it. Give a different middle name that works as a first name so he can switch if anything goes wrong.
posted by Pants! at 9:50 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh my, I had no idea that this name would be considered ultra-Christian. Hm. Additional food for thought.
posted by dreamphone at 9:54 AM on January 20, 2009


I don't think they'll be popular for that long - teen bands have a lifespan of four, five years max. (Sadly the exception to the rule is Westlife.) The fact that you only realised the connection late on suggests not everyone will instantly think 'Disney Channel'. If you've wanted it for years, go with it!
posted by mippy at 9:58 AM on January 20, 2009


Ultra-Christian? It's an antiquated form of Jonah that doesn't even appear in modern translations. I wouldn't consider Jonas a particularly Christian name--my primary association is with Jonas Salk. (And I'm a member of the Super Tiny Association of Metafilter Pastors, S.T.A.M.P.).
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:01 AM on January 20, 2009


You're having a son: don't be too disheartened by the popularity chart. Boy names aren't as beholden to random waves of popularity like girl names. I can't find the link to Freakonomics blog, but they also prove that people are more traditional about male names, which should connote power, stability and responsibility, so a #330 ranking probably won't climb to #12 in your son's lifetime. Girl names are more subject to caprice because women aren't as linked to inheritance and tradition, so you can have a generations of Madisons and Olivias whose names will sky rocket to the Top Ten and then die out in the span of 20 years after the new wave of Astrids and Avivas take their place.
posted by zoomorphic at 10:02 AM on January 20, 2009


It's not (just) a Christian name. It's a Hebrew name. (from Jonah) It means "dove". Jonah is also considered a prophet in Islam. That being said, Jonas isn't a name that immidiately makes me think "OMG! An Ultra-Christian!" Lots of common names (in the western world) have Hebrew roots. I'm a Sarah, and so were a lot of my classmates. There's Joshuas and Jonathans everywhere. While not as common as those names, I'm pretty sure Jonas doesn't retain the 'religious-only' association.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:03 AM on January 20, 2009


You could always tell him he's named after the guy who cured polio.
posted by notsnot at 10:04 AM on January 20, 2009


I think you should keep the name. You love it and so what if other kids use it? Though it is true, that there's been a surge.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:05 AM on January 20, 2009


"Bananaphone" was very popular, but it did not give rise to the popularity of the name "Raffi". The target fan demographic was just a little too young to be having kids.

This is a similar case. You're good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:06 AM on January 20, 2009


Every name is going to have some baggage. No matter what the name is, other kids will find a way to turn it into a taunt of some sort. The creativity (and cruelness) of kids is amazing. As long as you avoid the really obvious horrible names that I don't need to list, just give your kid the name *you* want. You're the one who's going to be yelling it for the next 20 years. Who cares what other people think?
posted by cgg at 10:08 AM on January 20, 2009


Yes, I think of Christians who like Weezer when I hear this name.
posted by meerkatty at 10:10 AM on January 20, 2009


Please don't ditch the name just because some people on the internet feel compelled to jump in with their subjective response to it, especially after you said that you weren't taking a poll. I have no idea why some folks feel the urge to dump on other people's favorite names, but it is an impulse that never wanes. You've got links to name popularity charts and to the Freakanomics analysis. That's the data you need to make this decision. It looks like a green light to me.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:11 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


There was a time when I had about five friends named "Jason" that I would see on a daily or weekly basis, just as part of my main circle of friends. It wasn't a problem.
posted by rhizome at 10:12 AM on January 20, 2009


Name your kid what you want. The band will be forgotten by the time he gets to school anyway.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:16 AM on January 20, 2009


Well, I should have added that I'm pretty attached to the name - have wanted a boy named this for years.

This is the only criteria that matters.

(with a few exceptions)
posted by mkultra at 10:19 AM on January 20, 2009


"Hey ass! Look, it's Joanie! Joan-ass, hahaha" will be what he hears in the boys' locker room.
posted by orthogonality at 10:20 AM on January 20, 2009


Whether you know it or not, the Jonas Brothers are FREAKING HUGE. Even if they wane in popularity, they have the kind of fame that will make them remembered. (Think 'new kids on the block' - for 15 years they were gone, but no one really forgot them.)

Pick a name that won't get him picked on, or won't have people singing jonas brothers songs at him all his life.
posted by Kololo at 10:20 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a Katherine Mary, I didn't suffer through the 70s for having a non-unique name. If you want a son named Jonas, the name's popularity shouldn't make a difference. If there do happen to be six Jonases in his class, let the kids figure it out. Maybe he'll choose Joe, or Nas, or Skeeter - all that matters for you is that you gave the child the name you dreamed for him.

Besides - he's gonna call himself JustAnotherJonas on MeFi in 20 years anyway.
posted by catlet at 10:26 AM on January 20, 2009


TheOnlyCoolJonas
posted by box at 10:36 AM on January 20, 2009


I liked Jonas too (from the Weezer song), but it is getting SO popular. There are a few in our (2 month old) baby group. Nymbler can be very helpful to find similar names.
posted by k8t at 10:36 AM on January 20, 2009


I'd name as you like and wouldn't care about any such factors as popularity and notoriety in a boy band. Jonas Venture and Jonas Venture Jr. also come to mind.
posted by juiceCake at 10:43 AM on January 20, 2009


There's really no way to tell how events may or may not progress in relation to a name. For instance, I was named in 1973 for a Catholic saint who lived among the Lepers on Molokai Island, but three years later a horror movie came out where the Devil's son had my same name. Guess which one popular culture chooses to associate with my name.

My sister's name is Carri. She was also born long before a popular horror movie with a character sporting her name. My other sister shares a full name with the Sigourney Weaver character from Ghostbusters who just happens to be possessed. My twin brother shares a name with a character from B Horror movie where an evil spirt lives in his closet. Oh, and I was also born on Friday the 13th.

See? There's no way to really know who or what your child's name may be associated with. I say go with what you like and forget the rest. Just don't succumb to the "trendy" names that pop up like "Nevaeh" (Heaven spelled backwards), or "Barack" or "Miley". Ugh.

On the other hand, growing up with a name like Inxs, Poison, or Abba might be pretty cool....
posted by mrbarrett.com at 10:45 AM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


But what if your son doesn't seem like a Jonas? Though we had a strong preference for a particular name when our daughter was born, it wasn't until we really met her that she was, indeed, babygirlpeagood. We weren't sure of a boy name, if that had happened to be the case, though we had a few handy - we just knew we needed to meet whomever came out first. So I don't think you need to decide this until you see if he is indeed, Jonas or not. You'll know when you lay eyes on him. Have a few options ready, and rest your mind until then.

And, as a person with a name whose famous associations were first a maid on a sitcom and then the second wife of a wealthy guy with a bad comb-over, I'm sure if you go with Jonas and it turns out the band has the longevity of the Osmonds, he'll learn to grimace at whatever lame joke someone makes and move the conversation along just as I did.
posted by peagood at 10:48 AM on January 20, 2009


Jonas is going to be a top ten name in the next few years. Don't do it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:50 AM on January 20, 2009


As someone saddled with a couple biblical names, I say go for it. I'd imagine more people will associate it with the bible than with a boy band. (Although I get more jokes about the Subway guy than I care to think about.)

On the other hand, growing up with a name like Inxs, Poison, or Abba might be pretty cool....

That said, since it's looking less and less likely that I'm ever going to spawn, you may have the name I've picked out: Godzilla

Because what little boys wouldn't want to be friends with the kid named Godzilla?

posted by JaredSeth at 10:51 AM on January 20, 2009


I've had more than my fair share of jokes about my name, and I don't think you have anything in particular to worry about here. You love the name, go for it.
posted by tomcooke at 10:51 AM on January 20, 2009


I wouldn't shy away from it.

There are many names that happen to be names of famous people. I wouldn't let that deter me in most cases. Elvis, Bono, and RuPaul being the exceptions.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:51 AM on January 20, 2009


You could always give him a good not-associated-with-a-boy-band middle name to go by in the event that "Jonas" really does become alarmingly popular in a way distasteful to you/your kid.

Jonas is a great name though. I'd say go for it.
posted by Neofelis at 11:06 AM on January 20, 2009


If you like that name, then go for it. I mean, it's not like you're naming the kid "Talulah Does The Hula From Hawaii".

Our youngest son, Benjamin, was very nearly "Linus". We loved the name, we love the Peanuts character, and its actually mentioned in the Bible (which was our criteria). The only reason that Linus lost out to Benjamin was a swing in mood. :)
posted by DWRoelands at 11:07 AM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I say go for it. Odds are other kids will make fun of his name at some point no matter what you name him. So if you have liked it for a while, don't let record sales change that. I would also venture to guess that most fans of the band giving birth soon would name their kids after their favorite Jonas brother: Kevin, Nick, Joe, or Tito.
posted by vagabond at 11:14 AM on January 20, 2009


Who cares if it's popular! (of course, I have one of the top girl names of all time, so I might be a little immune) If you like the name, and it means a lot to you, then go for it. I personally think it's a lovely name.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:17 AM on January 20, 2009


Oh my, I had no idea that this name would be considered ultra-Christian. Hm. Additional food for thought.

If you WERE ultra-Christian and explained to all that you were naming your kid Jonas for this Very Specific Biblical Reason, sure. But really, don't worry about this. It could just as easily be Jewish. Other Jonases. The tyke will be in good company.

(The number of people on Metafilter who hear "Jonas" and think of a fifteen-year-old Weezer song may not correlate to the number of people in general who would make this association.)
posted by desuetude at 11:28 AM on January 20, 2009


And don't worry to much about picking a name that the other kids will make fun of. My dad got picked on for his name (Chuck), so he and my mother spent a lot of time coming up with a name that would be tough to mock. So I got stuck with Brian, the generic name of the 80s. I had one class in high school with 5 other Brians. And kids still found a way to make fun of my name.
posted by indyz at 11:44 AM on January 20, 2009


Name popularity cannot be finessed. Unless you have something totally from left field (Apple, River, Obejoyful), names seems to pop regardless of parental intention not to follow the obvious crowd. (That said, the child Jones has a name you would likely recognize and yet is still the only one of her kind in her school- so you never know.)

If its the right name, just go with it. I mean, it's not as if you're naming the child Partridge or Cowsill.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:46 AM on January 20, 2009


This gets a "maybe."

No, don't do it: If you're thinking about 'Brothers' as a middle name.

Yes, go ahead it's a completely normal name: If you're not.

Seriously. In the grand scheme of bad baby names, boy-band-connotation or not, Jonas is pretty normal. This is coming from someone who went by "Pakey" for the first 21 years of my life. I promise I'd have traded my eye-teeth to be named something "normal" like Hanson, or Backstreet or Atreyu.

If you need a shot in the arm to remind you that you aren't violating the laws of nature with this name, please check out Not Without My Handbag.
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:47 AM on January 20, 2009


The lesson in this is never never discuss your baby name choices before you saddle the kid with it. Once it's done, everyone is required to say, oh what a lovely/strong/special name. Before the baby is born, almost nobody will like the name because they didn't /wouldn't choose it.
posted by b33j at 12:01 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Bananaphone" was very popular, but it did not give rise to the popularity of the name "Raffi". The target fan demographic was just a little too young to be having kids.
This is a similar case. You're good.


Quoted for a smart point Empress was the first to make.

Kids who know about the Jonas Brothers (my 14-year-old doesn't think they're any good BTW) aren't having kids. Child-bearing-agers have no awareness of the Jonas Brothers (you're the admirable exception for your careful research), wouldn't be their fans, and wouldn't be influenced to use the name Jonas. So, no, there won't be a big Jonas Boom.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:15 PM on January 20, 2009


Most boy bands have a half-life that can be measured in femtoseconds. By the time young Jonas's peers will be studying the antediluvian era of boybandology, these guys will be so over that nobody's gonna make the connection. His peers will be the same age- how old were you when you started hearing about the boy bands that were popular before you were born? 15? 20?

These guys ain't exactly the beatles; they aren't even the ruttles. Name away with abandon!
posted by jenkinsEar at 12:23 PM on January 20, 2009


Jonas is a good strong name, you could trust a Jonas I think. Go ahead.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:46 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


My wife and I got great advice when we announced we were pregnant with our first child:

No matter what, do not under any circumstances tell anyone the names you are considering for your child. People have opinions about these things and you really don't want to hear them. Their opinion should not - and ultimately does not - matter.

If you announce the child's name AFTER the baby is born, people will say "Oh, I love that name," if they like it or "Is that a family name?" if they don't, and you won't have to deal with all the people with their own issues saying "Oh dear god, whatever you do don't name your boy THAT!"

This is your decision. Don't let popular culture (or mefi!) make the decision for you. Go with what you love, for YOUR reasons. Nobody else's opinion matters.
posted by pkphy39 at 1:02 PM on January 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


DANGIT! Should have previewed. Exactly what b33j said.
posted by pkphy39 at 1:04 PM on January 20, 2009


(Oh, and I was one of four Sarahs in my grade school class. It's not that big a deal. I'd rather be one of four Sarahs than the only Hedwig or Chanterelle.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:06 PM on January 20, 2009


Kids who know about the Jonas Brothers (my 14-year-old doesn't think they're any good BTW) aren't having kids. Child-bearing-agers have no awareness of the Jonas Brothers (you're the admirable exception for your careful research), wouldn't be their fans, and wouldn't be influenced to use the name Jonas. So, no, there won't be a big Jonas Boom.

Simply not true. Our 3- and 6-year olds are totally into the Jo Bros; we had another baby four months ago. Now, we didn't name him Jonas, but the name was on the radar. (We didn't name him Hannah either, BTW.) Just saying.
posted by jbickers at 1:08 PM on January 20, 2009


I doubt there will be a boom in the name as a first name, since it's their last name.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:14 PM


Hmmn, every other boy kid I meet is named Dylan, so I'd watch that line of thinking ...
posted by thinkpiece at 1:25 PM on January 20, 2009


How old are the kids? They'd have to be pretty old to have been named after this Dylan. I'm guessing they were named after this one ;-)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:28 PM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


You might want to check out the data on Baby Name Wizard for the name Jonas if you're interested in the historical trends and such.

As far as choosing the name goes, kids can find something to make fun of in any name and there are cultural allusions in every name. If you love the name Jonas and it fits your son when he's born, name him Jonas. Your love for the name is more important than the random connections someone else will make.

I got tired of being asked whether I was named after Ginger Rogers or Ginger on Gilligan's Island, but I cope. So will your son.
posted by immlass at 1:29 PM on January 20, 2009


Well, if you like it, you like it. You're trying to anticipate and respond to reactions of people all over the place with different backgrounds and life experiences that your kids might interact with.

I don't find the "Ultra Christian" worry all that off-putting. I mean these names existed as names not just because of the Bible. Sure they might have a more public platform, but if you want to start going down that rabbit hole you'll have to worry about ever naming your kid Sarah, Michael, Daniel, Matthew, etc. Unless you wanted to get downright thematic and name your sets of kids: Cain and Abel; Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego; Jacob and Esau; Esther and Mordecai; or James and John (middle names "SonofZebedee), then I wouldn't worry about someone meeting your kid and thinking he's being brought up to be the next megachurch preacher, or rabbi or whatever.

As for worrying about trends or cultural recognition, you just don't know. Yea the Jonas Brothers might be big now, who knows they might be big later, but not everyone will automatically assume that your kid was named after the band unless they knew you were some huge Jonas Brothers head who used to follow their tour or something. I mean it's just part of the band's name. It's not like your last name is Jonas and you're naming them with one of the band member's first name and even then only big Jonas Bros. fans would get it. You're not naming them something really distinctive like "The Beatles" nor are you naming your kid "Jonas Brother Smith."

I used to think my name was an odd choice on my mom's part. All through childhood the only people in my peer group who had heard of or shared my name were Russian or Indian. I honestly don't remember anyone asking me if my mom was a huge fan of Dostoevsky or Conan the Barbarian. In fact, they might mention that they were familiar with the name because of either cultural ties, but, yea, it wasn't something that came up all the time. The real "heyday" for my name was when Mortal Kombat came out. Yea, those years were fun...but honestly, it was "funny" for about a couple of months, then people lost interest. Even now, people my age don't really mention it at all, people younger or older than me don't care or don't catch that reference. I haven't heard someone make a Mortal Kombat joke in YEARS and that was kind of a big deal back in the day. I mean someone now might say "Wow, that must've been annoying when that game came out," but then we laugh about it. And it's rare for people to make the Dostoevsky connection unless I tell them how my mom came up with my name and it's also been years since I've heard anyone make a Conan the Barbarian reference. The only "bother" is when people don't know if they should spell it with an i, y or j (but whatever). And they might ask if it should be pronounced with a long or short o (I really don't care). But really nothing that makes my life any more difficult. And lately I feel like I see my name around more than I used to as a kid. I've met several people with my name, people have acquaintances with my name, it was even a name of a Futurama character. I disliked it as a kid because I thought it was odd and uncommon, but I was wrong about that. Some naming trends are obvious, but I think most parents are usually wrapped up in thinking that they're being an oh so special snowflake in naming their kids that they or the kids don't really know that "oh yea, X name was popular in 1979 because of this song" until they come across it as trivia or whatever after the fact. So you just really can't tell.
posted by kkokkodalk at 1:39 PM on January 20, 2009


TPS, nah, they're children of boomers naming their kids after Bob. To be fair, it is the Upper West Side, NYC, so it's a skewed demographic.
posted by thinkpiece at 2:10 PM on January 20, 2009


I have a 2 1/2 year old and in his immediate social circle, there are 2 boys named Jonas and 1 named Jonah. It's definitely a popular name, at least around here in Chicago.
posted by Kangaroo at 2:15 PM on January 20, 2009


I had a friend named Kelly Taylor, who was in her early teens when the show 90210 (with a lead character named Kelly Taylor) was at the height of its popularity and in her late teens when it became just a lame memory. It didn't hamper her at all. By the time your kid is old enough to care, the Jonas Brothers will be old hat, and Jonas will be just a name again. It's not like they're Elvis or anything, nor is the name Jonas anywhere near as unusual as the name Elvis. Plus, if he's embarassed he could always go by Joe for a few years. But I doubt that'll happen. It's a nice name- I say go nuts with it!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:43 PM on January 20, 2009


Whatever your son might go through being named Jonas in this day and age, it can't be any worse than when I was in high school and the song "8675309-Jenni" came out. I thought I had it bad, but then my friend Angel got to enjoy rousing renditions of "Angel is a Centerfold."
Good times.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:14 PM on January 20, 2009


Oh my, I had no idea that this name would be considered ultra-Christian. Hm. Additional food for thought.


As a (more or less) ultra-Christian, I never in 100 years would have associated "Jonas" with anything specifically Christian. I can see how it could be related to "Jonah", but that never crossed my mind.
posted by niles at 3:22 PM on January 20, 2009


It doesn't matter that the people who currently like the Jonas Brothers are not the ones naming kids at the moment. Because this group of fans is probably too young to be responsbile for the upswing in the name's frequency. It's the people who are naming kids right now who may cause the problem, even if they aren't interested in these musicians.

I don't think that people often name their children after famous people (or famous TV/movie characters) on purpose. But, I do think the name ends up floating around in the culture, seeps into people's awareness, and trickles down into the names given to children. Something to consider, if you care about name popularity. If you don't, then I don't see the problem.
posted by Coatlicue at 3:29 PM on January 20, 2009


Kids who know about the Jonas Brothers (my 14-year-old doesn't think they're any good BTW) aren't having kids. Child-bearing-agers have no awareness of the Jonas Brothers... So, no, there won't be a big Jonas Boom.

Simply not true. Our 3- and 6-year olds are totally into the Jo Bros; we had another baby four months ago. Now, we didn't name him Jonas, but the name was on the radar...


Additionally, approximately half a million teenagers give birth each year, which is a significant percentage of the total births (which seems to be about 4 million). So "kids who know about the jonas brothers" may very well be having kids. (Presumably that's how we got so many freakin' brittany's.)

That said, brittany was never a name worth bestowing on someone, though it went from sort of prep school airy to lowbrow airy... My name was unpopular and shakespearian when my mom named me but has become more and more popular and associated with cutesiness over the years, but it hasn't bothered me. It's still my name, and still means something to me, the first definitive connection between me and my parents...

So I think you make your name mean something, not the reverse... Let your son show what the name Jonas says, if it says something to you.
posted by mdn at 3:53 PM on January 20, 2009


Honestly? If it's what you've been planning for years, and you'd be crushed to lose it, then screw what we all think and just name the kid Jonah. There's really no winning in this situation. My first grade class had 9 (9!) Laurens and 5 Jessicas, as well as one endlessly mocked Sunshine Heartsong, and I'm sure all the parents involved agonized similarly about their choice of names.

Otherwise, go for broke and name him "Praisegod Satansbane", as that is the most hysterically kickass name ever.
posted by elizardbits at 4:18 PM on January 20, 2009


I wouldn't see it as a potentially popular name due to the boy band so much as a current interest in that old-school (if you will) sound. Someone else mentioned it as in the same family as "Caleb" and, indeed, I know two Calebs; not sure if I've seen Jonas or its relative Jonah, though.

I wouldn't say the name's first association is Christian, much less ultra-Christian, though. Just like one of the Calebs I know is the son of a non-practicing Jew and a pagan.

A couple years ago I did meet a kid named Zebulon and that certainly sounded Biblical to me. But his parents were Quaker, so hardly your stereotypical Bible-thumpers.

I can see pros and cons to both common and uncommon names. I have a penchant for very unusual first names, but I grew up with one. It is nice to be different. And, at the same time, I can also see certain advantages in having a common, or even very common name, as my husband does, and as my last name is. There's a kind of comfort in that multiplicity, an anonymity. Like I sometimes think about using my real first name more often online, but I'm a lot more subject to a quick Google than someone whose first name is (picking a random one) Joe. And people always get my first name wrong. I love that I don't ever have to spell the last one, and that having it keeps me a little more lost in the crowd.

So, honestly, I'm not sure you could go wrong. However, having waited until a week after my son was born to choose his name, and having, in increasing desperation, shared our final contenders with people, I would say this: 1) b33j is so right. Don't tell anyone your choices until you've chosen. It won't help and it might make things harder, or you feel worse. 2) peagood is also right: in the end, after meeting him, we realized that only one name fit our son, despite back-and-forthing about whether it was "objectively" the best name to give him (could it be made fun of, etc.).
posted by Herkimer at 5:14 PM on January 20, 2009


Consider giving him a *middle* name that's unlikely to be coupled with 'Jonas' if you think Jonas is going to be popular.

I was given the name my mother had hankered after for years, but right at that point in time it was becoming popular, and was, in fact, the most popular name the year I was born. So I've run into people with my name in my age group all my life. Of course I don't care now (I also don't hang out exclusively with people born in my year any more, of course), but when younger..? Maybe. In the best case scenario it's something to bond sadly over - "Let me guess, your middle name is either Jane or Anne?" (it almost invariably is one of the two) - but I wonder, now you've got me thinking about it, if when younger I might've liked having my own name rather than the sharing one with a nasty kid at school who I didn't like at all who (barring the surname) had my name cloned exactly. I suspect in that instance though that a middle name that was all my own would've been enough to save the day.

There's room for different nicknames in my tri-syllabic name, too, which also permits some room for individualisation. With Jonas he mightn't be so lucky. I've known some JPs, it occurs to me... so again, maybe careful choice of a middle name could permit more room for movement if he decides he wants to take that route?
posted by springbound at 5:25 PM on January 20, 2009


I wouldn't use it as a first name, even if very attached, but I'm biased.

One of my names was in a popular song around the time I was being created and was popular in other forms of media, and now one in three women in any room answer to it. Which is one reason I now go by a middle name. It gets frustrating to always have to attend to such a common name and records get tangled easily for some strange reason.

That said, my middle name is part of a naming trend a couple of years along, and I'm hearing it more and more. Haven't run into the identity confusion, yet, but I'm sure it'll happen at some point. There's no way to know how a name will trend, but he may have a few more years of peace if given a less currently popular name.

Could you maybe make "Jonas" a middle name?
posted by batmonkey at 5:29 PM on January 20, 2009


Springbound - Can I guess Sarah?

I have children who are just becoming teens. All three of them have at least 1 Jonas or Jonah in their grade. I think the J Bros will increase the popularity of the name, but I do not think it will have a negative stigma. If you are looking for a great name that is not popular, I think Jonas will be more popular than you want. I have (had) no issue with living with a popular name.

My wife is a teacher. Do you know how difficult it is to pick a name that has no negative association if you are a teacher? Very.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:45 PM on January 20, 2009


Jonas is a very run-of-the-mill first name in Scandinavia. Most Scandinavian first names have roots in Christianity, but nobody thinks anything of it (not even ultra-atheists). Give the boy more than one name usable as a first name, so he'll have a choice; and it will be easier for him to use another name of Jonas becomes too popular.
posted by flif at 6:58 PM on January 20, 2009


I happen to be very happy with my given name (and don't usually give a second thought to my middle name), but the one thing that I'm happy about is that my mother saved her baby name book, so I got to see some of the other names my parents were considering. It was sort of like looking at a whole other possible me.

The best part was that, had I been a girl, my given name would have been Gretchen. *Not* a name I care for, as the only Gretchen I knew in childhood was a complete meanie. So my advice is that, whatever name you pick, be sure to pick out something else rather unpalatable, so that when the inevitable question arises as to which names you were considering, you can always say "Jonas was my first choice, but I was also rather fond of Ursula and Xavier".

That'll teach 'em.
posted by metabrilliant at 7:37 PM on January 20, 2009


I also love the name Jonas, but I do want to avoid anything Christian (which is too bad, b/c I like Aslan too!). I wish I could convince the boss-lady to like Logan (she says "it sounds like boner"--which it doesn't). Good luck--just be glad you (probably) don't have to deal with the last name of "Flowers" (people keep suggesting "Algernon").
posted by whatgorilla at 9:23 PM on January 20, 2009


Our youngest son, Benjamin, was very nearly "Linus". We loved the name, we love the Peanuts character, and its actually mentioned in the Bible (which was our criteria). The only reason that Linus lost out to Benjamin was a swing in mood. :)

I take it you're not a Lost fan, or else you would've mentioned you were glad you didn't end up naming him "Benjamin Linus." But as a Peanuts fan, I agree Linus would've been a cool name. You're so wishy-washy!


I wouldn't listen to the cynics about the unlikely longevity of The Jonas Brothers just because so much of pop music is disposable. Even if they were complete hacks, that would not preclude them from being megastars for years to come. And "Jonas" is unique enough to have the association where his peers will invariably shout "Jonas Brothers! Haha!" at him ad nauseum. I'd be more worried about that than it being too trendy a name.

And it's not like, to use a childhood classmate as an example, being named "Isaac" and being teased on the one day in grade school that you learn about Isaac Newton. (Isaac, if you're reading this, I apologize for being one of those kids).

I'd definitely vote for "Jonas" as a middle name to compromise, though. Even if the other kids find out, it won't come up in everyday situations as much as if it were his first. And if it does become trendy, he won't get lost amid the flood of Jonases.

Personally, I wonder if "Monica" experienced a dramatic drop in popularity for babies in the late '90s when you-know-who became so dubiously famous...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:25 PM on January 20, 2009


My first name was so popular in the year I was born that there was actually a cartoon in the newspaper where a mom was calling her kid out the window and all the kids in the neighborhood answered.
Thankfully I had a middle name that wasn't as godawful and I can just go by that instead. As a side benefit, it's really telling which name people address me with.

So yeah, go for Jonas if you really want to, but you might want to throw in a middle name in case you or your kid later learns it doesn't fit.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:34 AM on January 21, 2009


Many excellent points. I especially like the comment (b33j) about keeping the short list secret (which I will do henceforth) and waiting till game-time to make a final decision (peashoot). Thanks to all of you who chimed in with musings, gentle jibes, and personal-experience accounts. Greatly appreciated.
posted by dreamphone at 5:56 AM on January 21, 2009


My brother is called Linus, and it suits him to a T!
Jonas is a good name too, it has a nice ring to it.

Two of my brothers have names that were practically unheard of at the time they were born but are now very common, and it really bugs my mum, who prides herself on originality. But I think they're both happy enough.
posted by indienial at 6:00 AM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


And "Jonas" is unique enough to have the association where his peers will invariably shout "Jonas Brothers! Haha!" at him ad nauseum. I'd be more worried about that than it being too trendy a name.

Don't suppose we've got any Tiffanys born around 1987-88 who'd like to weigh in on whether they got "singing in shopping mall?" jokes when they started school?
posted by desuetude at 6:29 AM on January 21, 2009


Jonas is a fine name! I say use it. We have triplets, one of which is a Linus. Not sure what that has to do with anything, but I saw it mentioned in a few previous comments. :)

Anyway, I really don't think the Jonas Brothers are going to be around forever, so I wouldn't worry about that.
posted by pyjammy at 8:02 AM on January 21, 2009


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