November 06, 2013

Guest post | Retro Name Generator with Holly of So Dang Brilliant

I'd like to ask you all to welcome the awesomely friendly Holly of So Dang Brilliant, who brings us today's guest post. She sent it in while I was on vacation (and had already scheduled my "while we're away" posts), but I wanted to be sure to share it, regardless. Thanks so much for doing this, Holly—or, should I say, Kit?!

Introducing yourself to strangers is tough. Remembering the names of strangers introduced to you is tougher. Meeting people can be a zero-sum game.

My four-year-old son Jacko learned this lesson last month at a bouncy castle playground. He made a bespectacled friend, and they became inseparable as they ran around the large warehouse. Only one thing could tear them asunder: a potty break.

Jacko came back from the bathroom and asked me, "Have you seen my friend Arnold?" I pointed out his pal and off he ran. The longer they played, the more I began to wonder about his friend's name—could it really be the antiquated Arnold? And if not, where had my son learned that Arnold was even a name at all? Had we entered an alternate universe where an Arnold and a Jack (my son's given name) were new characters in a Leave it to Beaver-type sitcom?

I identified the tiny friend's mother and walked over to introduce myself. We chatted about the venue and finally, I asked her son's name.

"His name is Carter. What's your son's name?"

I was relieved that Arnold's real name ended up being so 21st-century; today, there are probably scads of Carters for every Arnold around the world. My children and I went home for lunch, and I never revealed the truth I'd learned.

Now, I am obsessed with old-school names. If ever I meet an honest-to-goodness Arnold, I will shake his hand vigorously and ask if he will name his son Arnold Junior. And I want my own vintage name. Do you, too?

Here is a retro name generator that I whipped up. The first letter of your real first name will find you your retro first name, and the first letter of your real last name your retro last name. Share it with your friends, so you can all use your best old-timey monikers next time you see each other.


  1. Thanks so much for creating this fun generator, Holly!

  2. The Murtis is now Lewis and Belva Mertz. I feel like we'd be new money people that always did embarrassing things at fancy parties.