Choosing your child’s middle name can be done on a whim or you can put some serious thought and research into it. A middle name may not always seem that important. Sometimes parents even use their second choice for a middle name. Often, the middle name is known only to family and a person’s closest friends.
Most of the time, people dispense with their middle name altogether or just use the initial after their first name. But there are quite a few exceptions to that. As you will see throughout the pages of Best Nicknames, many famous people prefer to go by their middle name. Whether they really hated their first names or their middle name just went better with their chosen profession, only they know.
Surely, one can see the wisdom in Angelina Voigt’s decision to use her middle name Jolie as her stage name. But it has been claimed that Angelina’s parents chose Jolie specifically for that purpose — so she could use it as a last name when she became famous.
On the other hand, her husband, Brad Pitt, goes by the short version of his middle name, Bradley. Billy Pitt, Will or Willy just don’t quite have that je ne sais quoi that Brad does, do they? All the same, Brad will never have a bunch of cities named after him like the William Pitt.
Having a unique middle name can serve a person well if they seek to become famous and need to distinguish themselves from everyone else standing in line for an audition, but there really is no foolproof way of knowing which direction a child’s life may be headed in.
In the best case scenario, when your child is sworn in for the presidency of the United States, the ceremony will require the use of the full name. If things have gone horribly wrong, the dreaded three name headline appears in the paper when a serial killer is put on trial.
A sense of humor and positive outlook is fantastic but you can bet David Sunshine Johnson will not do well when called out to climb the rope in gym class. Mom may feel it is a tremendous advantage to bestow an illustrious name upon her offspring, but there are more than a few instances where an honored individual fell from grace and that once revered name became synonymous with disgrace.
Wise parents-to-be choose a middle name that flows well between the first and last name. One that can help distinguish a child from others is useful when the surname is fairly common. Fanciful, eccentric names and spellings are best left to the entertainment world. That goes for odd pronunciations as well. Just remember, there are times in the lives of all parents when they feel the need to call their offspring by their entire name.
Whether the Zappas tried this test or not, it’s probably the best test of all. Try your child’s full name out in a shocked or outraged voice and see how that works for you.