Saturday, March 1, 2008


The cashier at the supermarket today was a grandmotherly type with a "Jennifer" nametag. Now, if there is one name associated with my generation, it is Jennifer. Only a gen-Xer would write a song that begins "I went to school with 27 Jennifers." Ben Affleck has been involved with two Jennifers (that we know of). So I asked this white-haired woman if she was the only Jennifer she knew growing up. She said she was, having been born in 1945, until "Love Story" was published and there was an explosion of Jennifers. This led me to wonder: where do modern names originate? There were no Brandons or Madisons a hundred years ago, right? Well, a little research told me a few facts about Jennifer.

1. It was a rare name, then George Bernard Shaw named a character Jennifer in a 1906 play, which started its ascent in popularity.
2. It was already the number three name by the time the book and film "Love Story" appeared in 1969 and 1970. (That makes sense, since I was three at the time and was already surrounded by Jennifers.) "Love Story" is possibly the reason it shot to number one and stayed there until 1984.
3. Where did it originate? It's a variation on Guinevere. So like many things, it goes back to mythology or the Bible. And to all you Jennifers who think you have a common name: cheer up, it's royal!