February 11, 2011


Romeo ~ from Rome ~ Italian

In honor of Valentine's day, I decided to feature what I believe to be the most romantic boy's name of all time. Can't you just hear Juliet calling for him from a balcony? Can't you just see a young Leonardo DiCaprio looking with astonishment at his fair Claire Danes? I thought so. The name Romeo makes us swoon almost as much as the famed character does.

Why is Romeo So Iconic?
Let me answer this question with another question: If Romeo was commonplace, would it be so intriguing? Probably not. The reason we strongly associate this name with Shakespeare's tragic love story is not only that it's one of the most famous plays of all time, but we have had very little else to associate the name with in our culture.

Shakespeare's two star-crossed lovers have made an irreversible impact on the world, especially influencing the arts. There are operas, movies, ballets, paintings, poetry and more dedicated to retelling this phenomenal story. It would be very hard to go through life without being influenced by it, and in fact many of us read the play in school or even participated in a production of it.

In short (too late), the name is iconic not only because the story is, but also because of how it has been used throughout history to refer to a passionate male lover, and not your average Joe. And speaking of name use...

Romeo Isn't Commonplace
It doesn't take an expert to know that the name Romeo isn't as common as some of today's favorites, like Ethan and Noah. And if you think about it, you might also realize that it doesn't seem like it was ever common. It's unlikely that you have had older relatives with this name or that you can think of famous Romeos from the past.

The truth is, Romeo is more popular today than it has ever been in US history. It's on an upward trend and is ranked at 323. Many of us are coming into an admiration of this name for several reasons.

Why We Love Romeo Right Now
  • Romeo has a worldly, global appeal
  • It has Italian glamor and ends in o, just like Leonardo, Nico, and Rocco
  • It's got handsome written all over it
  • It's romantic

Why We Are Unsure of Romeo
  • It may be difficult for Romeo to ever break out of its romantic stereotype
  • Romeo may be perceived as too lofty or bold
  • Many shy away from this name for teasing potential alone

Personally, I think Romeo is a lovely choice that's worth the "risk". It's gaining strides each year, and becoming more accepted. Some will find the benefits outweigh the challenges that come with using this name. If not, alternatives to Romeo might be: Leonardo, Nico, Orlando, Rocco, Roman, Rome (also a variation of Romeo), or Ronan.

Celeb Babies
I'm sure a lot of you thought of this one: Victoria and David Beckham chose this name for their second son, born in 2002. I expected the popularity of the name to shoot up around then, but it actually dipped down temporarily in the year following. The name has recovered, however, and gained more momentum in recent years.

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