K Is For Kate, Who Kicks Ass, Takes NamesS

Kate doesn't take shit from anybody, meaning she can be an awesome go-getter — or an ice queen.

I've always liked the name Kate. It has a take-no-prisoners shortness and efficiency — I envision Kate walking down a major street in a big city, wearing cigarette pants and stylish ankle boots, with her head in the game and her eyes on the prize. Katherine may dither, Kathy may chirp, but Kate speaks in a serious, matter-of-fact voice, and when she speaks, you listen. Often, when I think about names, I think about high school, but I can't imagine Kate before she had her own apartment (studio; well-appointed but not ostentatious; clean) or her demanding yet extremely cool job (architect; investigative reporter; corporate detective; spy?). Kate doesn't have a lot of time for friends, but when you manage to catch her in town (she travels a lot for work), she gives great advice. And she tells a great story, although you always know there's a better story she's not telling. Kate could star in a modern-dress production of The Taming of the Shrew — except that in the final act, she'd tell Petruchio where to shove it.

But there's also a dark side to Kate. She's so cool and successful it can make her stuck up. She's not a mean girl, and she's not interested in shit-talk or gossip, but she might not have compassion for people less together than her. Sometimes she just doesn't understand how you could date that guy, or that girl, or why you lost your job when she just got a promotion. This aspect of Kate I can imagine playing out in high school — she's the girl who couldn't see why everyone didn't get an A on the bio test, since it was so easy. Kate doesn't take pleasure in other people's pain, but she has no appreciation for messiness in life, and if you're a little bit of a mess, she has no time for you.

Famous Kates don't necessarily bear out my vision of the name. Kate Moss, whom I consider the iconic Kate, certainly dresses like one. She has the badass aspect of Kateness down, but she's also no stranger to messiness. Kate Winslet just seems too lushly gorgeous — and also too down-to-earth — to fit my image of the somewhat unforgiving Kate. Cate Blanchett might be closer — that angular, ethereal face looks like it could deliver some harsh judgments. But Kate Bosworth seems the closest to the ice-queen version of Kate, especially since her enthusiasm for horseback-riding adds a little upper-crustiness to her image.

Kate hit its peak of popularity — #97 in the US — in the 1880s, and it seems like a pretty good name for a Victorian lady, especially the kind who plays the piano and paints and knows three languages and looks down her nose at you if you use the wrong fork. The name fell all the way down to #843 in the fifties — maybe those traditionalist times favored less hard-driving names for women. Now the name has rebounded to #139, but if you're a Kate, you probably don't give a shit. You're probably not even reading this — after all, you have a plane to catch.

Kate [Wikipedia]
Kate (popularity) [The Baby Name Wizard]

Earlier: J Is For Jennifer, The Vanilla Of Names
I Is For Isabel, Who's Snooty, But Earns It
H Is For Hillary, A Barrel Of Laughs
G Is For Grace - What's That Up Her Sleeve?
F Is For Francesca, And I Wish I Were Her
E Is For Emily, Who Seems Sweet (At First)
D Is For Danielle (Or Dani, Who's Apparently Kinda Judgey)
C Is For Courtney, Who's Too Cool For School
B is for Beth (And Barack! And Bandana!)
A Is For Anna: What My First Name Says About Me