Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dear Hashtag Origins

Dear #,

Somehow in the course of writing the first few posts for this blog I neglected to mention where the name comes from, or the general idea for this general purpose blog, or, well, anything. Which kind of leaves the name "Dear Hashtag" as kind of a mystery, but not the fun kind involving clues and puzzles. Fortunately it doesn't include any dead bodies, either.

My lovely wife Holly and I were discussing baby names, and how so many people we know have gone the "creative" route with their children, and particularly with their daughters. I find this somewhat appalling, as there are SO many wonderful and beautiful names for girls. I personally find boys names more difficult, as you start getting into "That's a weird name" territory much more quickly. This can easily be explained simply by looking at general sources for names by gender.

Male Sources:
  • The Bible - This is the most common source, whether you name your child Matthew or David.
  • History - This is probably the second most common, but many Historical names come from the Bible, so there is some crossover there. 
  • Cultural sources - This is common when the person comes from a sub-culture or a different culture than standard "American." This includes African, Asian, Hispanic, Mormon, Quaker, etc.
  • Television and Books

Female Sources:
  • The Bible - There are far fewer female names from the bible, but even so Ruth, Mary, and Deborah are common enough. 
  • History - This is much more common, as many names are well known enough, including Helen, Virginia, Elizabeth, etc. 
  • Cultural - Just as with Men, only many of them have been "Americanized" and are more common names here. 
  • Flowers
  • Trees
  • Plants
  • Cities
  • Birds
  • Myths
  • Literature
  • Television and Books
This is hardly a comprehensive list, but in my experience there are ten awesome girl names for every awesome boy name. This makes my generation's complete incompetence with naming their daughters something I don't remotely understand. Anyway, during this discussion Holly brought up a weird name she'd heard someone came up with: Hashtag. As in, a Twitter Hashtag. I laughed, until she gave me something to think about: With all these weird names flying around, odds were pretty even that one of our two boys would ultimately marry someone with such a name.

That is, our son's wife, our future daughter-in-law, could be named Hashtag. #!

I laughed, and said I should start a blog with letters to my future daughter-in-law and call it Dear Hashtag. The rest is... well, future History.


  1. Okay, now I get it. I read a book once where the girl was named Savannah, the boy Flint...from cities in which they were born. She told him he should be glad he wasn't born in Columbia! Hah, you could be named Cedar!

  2. See, I have this whole thing about city names. There's a Modest Mouse song contains the line "And it's true, we named our children after towns that we've never been to."

    Which made any remote suggestions of such names immediately impossible for us. Which wasn't a big deal, since we have boys.