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Q: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and hubby Chris Martin recently gave birth to a girl they named “Apple” (Apple Blythe Alison Martin, to be more exact). How do you feel about unconventional names such as the one Paltrow and Martin bestowed upon their bouncing baby girl? Do you feel they’re appropriate, inappropriate, a hoot, no big deal, place the child at a disadvantage in any way, etc.?
I’d strive for something unique but not so off the wall that it would be ridiculous. I’d much rather my kid have a name that no one else has than one that they’ll have to share with ten kids in their class. If the kid hates it, they can always use something else. I think that children’s self-esteem has a lot more to do with how you prepare and socialize them for the world than it does with them fitting in and not attracting attention.
That being said, I’m naming my kids Cilantro, Pesto, and Little Gorgonzola. Okay I’m kidding. But those will be their nicknames. I like Eleanora Rosalind for a girl’s name — because she can shorten it however she likes, it’s pretty, and there won’t be anyone with exactly the same name. For a boy… still working on that one. I have a feeling there’d be a Daniel or a Douglas in his name somewhere, though.
Q: Tradition tells us that in the United States and much of the western world, when a man and woman marry, the woman takes the man’s last name. How do you feel about this? What about couples who combine last names in order to create a new one, or who choose to start off fresh with some random last name?
Taking the last name — I’m not in favor of it, you might be able to guess. I think it denotes a woman as a man’s property. Hyphenating or combining names is, to me, respectful of both people’s place in the new family, and the importance of both families in their lives. I guess that gets complex further down the line, but still. Starting on fresh with a random last name: weird, and I’ve never heard of anyone doing that. I think the last name should honor the family you came from.
Q: If you were told you had to change your first name, what name would you choose?
Ann. My middle name. Honestly, I never liked my first name all that well, until I met Stephanie. Now I don’t mind it at all, because it’s hers, too.
Q: Have you ever had a nickname? If so, what was (or is) it? If not, have you ever wanted one (and if so, what would you like to be called)?
Only the one I gave myself, really — ElectraSteph. And my friend Heather called me “little feet” all the time. That’s about it.

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