Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hair-Raising Names

Hello, readers!

Recently I changed my hair pretty drastically, and I'm very happy with the results. What has surprised me most is the reactions of family, friends, and coworkers - they seem totally shocked!

As always, whenever a new subject enters my mind, I have to find a way to connect it with names! So today's post is about hair-related names. 

Samson and Delilah
Many of us already know the Biblical story - super strong man falls for femme fatale, and femme fatale shaves his head, sapping him of his strength. I like this Wikipedia quote about Samson: "Samson had two vulnerabilities—his attraction to untrustworthy women and his hair, without which he was powerless." Delilah has rocketed in popularity in recent years, thanks to Tom Jones and the Plain White T's. Samson has only been used in the last few decades, as an alternative to ever-popular Samuel. Both names have more or less distanced themselves from their hairy origins, and neither would surprise too many people today. 

This name is VERY attached to its origin story, but that didn't stop a few parents in 1959 - 9 baby girls were born that year named Rapunzel. My theory is that an episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook, which aired in 1958, changed some minds. The name Rapunzel comes from the rapunzel plant, a kind of leaf vegetable, which was part of the original story. In any case, the name, while pretty, will be really hard to pull off - and why subject your child to daily "let down your hair" jokes for the rest of their life?

Pippi Longstocking
It seemed that every year at least a few girls I knew would stick a wire hanger in their hair to create gravity-defying braids on Crazy Hair Day - hence Pippi's addition to this list! The children's book character was also super strong (another example of strength tied to hair) and there have been countless shows, films, and stories created about Pippi. While the original name has never been used - and could admittedly lead to some teasing - similar Pippa has come back in full force. 

Shirley Temple
As a child, I was told often that I bore a resemblance to the 1930's child star - most little girls with blonde curls get told that at least once. In any case, the lovely Shirley Temple was really a natural blonde, though her curls were styled by her mother from an early age. The name Shirley was popular from the 1920's through the 1960's, but is much rarer today. Is it still dated, or will we see a Shirley comeback with other vintage names making waves? Time will tell!

Farrah Fawcett
Let's jump ahead a few decades to 1977, when the Farrah-flip was all the rage at hair salons. Actress and artist Farrah Fawcett inspired many women to recreate the windswept look - check your own family photos to see if any of your relatives followed suit! The actress was actually born Mary Leni Farrah Fawcett, but went by the most unusual of her three first names. The name briefly peaking in the late seventies, then went out of style until 2010. Today the name ranks at #759, and comes from the Arabic word for "happiness". 

Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston)
When Friends debuted in 1994, many Americans rushed to their stylists to recreate Jennifer Aniston's iconic choppy/wavy look. "The Rachel" swept the nation, though it's original wearer didn't much like it. The names at play here, however, were far more popular than flash-in-the-pan hairstyles. Jennifer is now iconic as the most popular name of the 1970's, and Rachel has never really left the top 200. Hairdos make come and go, it seems, but these names are forever!

Who did I miss? Any icons unnoticed? Tell me in the comments!


  1. Many girls got the Dorothy Hamill wedge cut after her win in the 1976 Olympic Games.

  2. And also, the Seven Sutherland Sisters! You may not have heard of them because they came to fame around 1880 but they are a perfect addition to your list because their fame was directly related to their hair. They had 37 feet of it between them. Their names were Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Dora, and Mary.