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Kim and Kanye may have opted not to go with another compass direction when naming their highly anticipated second child (sorry, Easton-worshiping Twitterverse), but that doesn’t mean that their bouncing baby boy, Saint West, was given anything less than a truly unique moniker.
They’re not alone: Earlier this year, Mad Men actress Jessica Paré and her rocker boyfriend, John Kastner, named their newborn son Blues Anthony. New Girl star Zooey Deschanel and husband Jacob Pechenik named their first child Elsie Otter. Actor Jason Lee’s son is named Pilot Inspektor, comedian Penn Jillette’s daughter is Moxie CrimeFighter, and Gwen Stefani and her former husband Gavin Rossdale named their youngest son Apollo Bowie Flynn, after a god and a rock star (or a rock god, depending on whom you ask). And of course, back in 2004, Gwyneth Paltrow arguably kicked off the whole unusual-naming trend with one-of-a-kind daughter Apple, telling Oprah at the time that “it sounded so sweet and it conjured such a lovely picture for me — you know, apples are so sweet and they’re wholesome and it’s biblical — and I just thought it sounded so lovely and … clean! And I just thought, ‘Perfect!’”
But unique names are not just a habit of Hollywood. Nowadays, one-of-a-kind monikers are not only the provenance of the rich and famous, but also the proud choice of an increasing number of moms and dads from all walks of life who are opting for previously unheard of names for their next of kin. In fact, according to BabyCenter’s annual baby-naming survey, released just this week, 43 percent of parents reported liking unusual names. Names making the “most unusual” list for 2015 include some clearly inspired by the movies — like Swayze and Orson — and fashion — like Armani, while others take their cues from yoga — like Drishti — and math — like Pi.
And sure, some of these unusual names are difficult to spell and pronounce. Young Drishti — along with young Arantxa, Perpetua, and Eustace — is likely going to have to walk many a new acquaintance through how to pronounce, let alone spell, her name as she gets older.
But here’s the thing about names — generally, we don’t get to choose ‘em. If you’ve been named something that’s more off-the-beaten-path, then you know the struggle that is buying a pre-printed personalized keychain from an amusement park, or ordering coffee at Starbucks. But having a unique name isn’t all mispronunciations and double-takes; there are some legitimate perks, too. Here are five of the one-of-a-kind benefits to that one-of-a-kind name.
It is entirely too easy to forget the name of a new acquaintance the mere moment after you are introduced. Experts say this is because names are, generally, rather meaningless; the more pathways back to a memory you have, the easier it becomes to retrieve that memory, and this just doesn’t often happen naturally with names. (Unless, of course, your name is Saint West. With a pathway leading straight back to Yeezus, no one is forgetting that.)
Unique names are “often easier for people to remember, and so they are likely to remember your name when they meet you for the first time (or at least remember that you had an unusual name),” University of Texas at Austin psychology professor Arthur Markman, PhD, tells Yahoo Health.