With her flowing hair and her shelf full of trophies, Samantha's the kind of girl you hate because she's good at everything.
Samantha strikes me as a very all-American name, perhaps because it is, in fact, the name of an American Girl doll. That Samantha has brown hair, but I think of Samantha as a blonde anyway — the kind who gets approached to model for shampoo commercials. And Samantha may have modeled at one point — a Gap Kids spot in elementary school, perhaps — but by high school she concentrates on her equally stellar soccer and piano careers. She gets good grades, but not so good as to be a nerd. Still, given her extracurriculars she's pretty much guaranteed a scholarship to the college of her choice. Her parents dote on her, her friends draw flowers on her hands during health class, and she has a little sister named Dorrie or Becky who wants to be just like her but never quite will.
Samantha sails through life — at least early on — with an ease that makes all the awkward and strange girls in school hate her a little. Even Dorrie/Becky nurses a little kernel of loathing. Samantha's not mean, but she might not really know that lesser beings exist, and the knowledge that you think about her more than she thinks about you just adds insult to injury. If you're kind of a weirdo, if you've failed to master the bizarre balancing act that is adolescence, you probably comfort yourself by imagining that Samantha is actually kind of boring, and will go on to have an uninteresting life.
Unfortunately, you're wrong. While some Samanthas may retire from their early glory into a life of coupon-clipping and discussing Reader's Digest, others have secret weapon that will forever save them from ordinariness. Sex and the City's Samantha Jones had a confidence and devil-may-care nature that transformed her from a girl working at Dairy Queen to the most adventurous of her friends. The Daily Show's Samantha Bee, who so memorably warned children about the dangers of Christmas ornaments, is clearly nobody's coupon-clipper. Samantha Stephens of Bewitched was actually, um, a witch, albeit kind of a silly one, and the name has a witchy sound to it, perhaps because of its resemblance to the word Samhain. And a friend of a Samantha writes on Baby Name Wizards that Sam is "very ninja like and I think her name helps add to her ninja-ness and stealthiness." So while you might wish Samantha was lame, she could be crawling on your roof right now, nunchucks gripped in her teeth, ready to do some avenging. Luckily, her name, though still popular, is on the decline, so the rest of us may soon have less to fear.
Earlier: 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