Taylors, like Madisons, have been cursed with an obnoxiously trendy name. Can they redeem themselves?
Taylor, Madison, Addison, Jordan — all these are products of a mid-nineties last-names-as-girls'-names explosion that made elementary school roll calls sound like white shoe law firms. Even as it gained popularity, Taylor felt pretentious to me, part of the same country-club aesthetic that produced Tinsley. Except where Tinsley Mortimer at least has a whiff of idiosyncrasy (which extends to nomenclature: her sister's name is Dabney, and she's currently involved, allegedly, with the eminently fake-sounding Prince Casimir of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn), Taylor just feels dull. It's flabby shrimp cocktail at an expensive but crappy restaurant, without the benefit of a flask hidden in your Louis Vuitton bag.
Katy describes the quintessential Taylor as "blonde, weirdly clean, vaguely sporty (field hockey or something, never cheerleading) and snobby." I'm sure there are exceptions — feel free to write in! — but I tend to agree. Taylor favors polo shirts, she has a personal SAT tutor, and her teeth and sneakers are blinding, blinding white. It would be kind of fun if she were a total bitch, a la The O.C.'s Julie Cooper — and to be fair, teen classic She's All That does feature the bitch-tastic Taylor Vaughan — but instead the only Taylor in Fauxrange County is Taylor Townsend, described by one blogger as "neurotic, annoying," and "a bit of a leech." Taylor doesn't have the imagination for real torment — but she might cry if she forgot her racket and you won't give her yours.
Famous real Taylors don't exactly redeem the name, at least for me. Call me Kanye, but I find Taylor Swift's stage presence wooden and boring, though she does have a pretty voice. And Taylor Momsen has mainly been on my radar recently for telling Teen Vogue how misunderstood she is and saying sorta insensitive shit about Haiti.
Taylor has dropped off in popularity since its peak of #9 in the nineties, so perhaps I'm not the only one who has negative associations with the name. But Intern Madeleine makes an interesting point: "I feel like Taylor is now so associated with a certain kind of girl that there are more fictional characters named Taylor than actual-people-Taylors with those characteristics." So maybe the scrubbed, snobby Taylor with little to recommend her is now more fiction than fact. And maybe that leaves room for real people to rehabilitate the name. Taylors, get to it.
Earlier: S Is For Samantha, A Soccer-Playing, Hair-Modeling Ninja
R Is For Rachel, From Routine To Rad
Q Is For ... Um ...
P Is For Paula, Who's A Little Bit Nutty
O Is For Olivia: Precocious, Passionate, & Up For A Lesbian Cruise
N Is For Natasha, A Femme Fatale
M Is For Michelle, An Elegant Mystery
L Is For Lisa, Whose Looks Are Deceiving
K Is For Kate, Who Kicks Ass, Takes Names
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