Name That Boy!

I read somewhere last week that Mohammed is now the second most popular name for newborn boys in the UK. It strikes me as a bit odd that you can get beheaded for drawing a picture of the Prophet Mohammed, but it’s perfectly fine to attach his name to your son. Still, there is much about Islam that I find perplexing, such as a recent fatwa in Egypt which allows an unmarried woman to work in an office alongside men so long as she breastfeeds each of them five times to create a familial bond. Now there’s a sensible idea.

Anyway, I was prompted to think about boys’ names, and more particularly what name I would ideally like to see in the number one spot above Mohammed. Readers will know that I am very keen on Sebag, but my current choice to become the most popular boys’ name is Suetonius.

Not only is it a splendid, resounding name, but of course it also commemorates the author of The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars. Suetonius – whose full name was Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus – can be seen as a kind of Dobson-like figure, in that many of his works are terminally out of print. That is, they are lost, possibly forever. We know that he wrote, among other things, Physical Defects Of Mankind, Lives Of Famous Whores, and an essay on Critical Signs Used In Books, but no trace of them survives. Luckily, we do have the rattling good read that is The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars.

George Costanza, in Seinfeld, favoured the names Soda and Seven, neither of which holds a candle to Suetonius in my opinion. So if there are any expectant parents reading this, and your newborn is a boy, do the decent thing and name him after the Roman Ur-Dobson. And mothers please note! While I would recommend breastfeeding, it would probably be a good idea to limit the milk supply to little Suetonius, rather than sharing it out among those unprepossessing gits in the accounts department.

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