John - It's out of fashion, but that suits me fine

That my first name has fallen out of the 100 most popular comes as little surprise

Share
Related Topics

The top 100 baby names is a low bar to clear, I know, but I had thought “John” had dropped out of it long ago, some time soon after the 1950s. Being called John is like sending emails: does not apply to any teenager. Being called John is like not having a first name. My surname people remember. What goes in front of it is like a blank space. From an early age anyone with the slightest doubt about my first name has plumped for “David”. I wouldn't mind being called David: it's almost as anonymous as John, but at least I know children who are called David. It would reunite me with what Margaret Thatcher used to call the Judaeo-Christian tradition, which is not a phrase with which anyone in the post-John era is familiar. 

When I was a child I toyed with what I would do if I should find myself in Euan Blair's situation. Not that I envisaged being face down in Leicester Square after celebrating my GCSEs. I think I celebrated my O levels with a single pint of Banks's Mild. But I did wonder what I would do if I were arrested by the authorities and needed to give a false name. Euan went for his middle name - John as it happens - as his surname and hoped to avoid prime ministerial embarrassment that way. It didn't work. I was planning to call myself Gifford. Gifford Shrun. Don't ask me why. It wouldn't have worked either. In the 1970s, long before the internet and Big Brother Watch and Ed Snowden I knew with an adult certainty that any ordinary John trying to pass themselves off as a Gifford or as someone without the same surname as the Prime Minister would last a maximum of a few hours before he was forced to acknowledge his parents. 

So I'm fine thank you. John works for me. I don't mind being reliably dated to my fifties. I don't mind being spelt Jhon. I gently discourage Jon or Johnny or "Johnny John Jonathan", but at least I have never experienced that humiliation endured by female people of people saying, "What a lovely name!"

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Cameron's unexpected tax pledges give the Tories home advantage

Andrew Grice
President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Secret Service agents to Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2014.  

Obama's Secret Service has become sloppy with its delusions of Hollywood grandeur

David Usborne
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence