An Open Letter to Tina Fey on Her Baby Name Choice

PenelopeDear Tina Fey,
You did it. You conquered SNL, you revitalized comedy and became the second coming of Mary Tyler Moore, and you did it because you were focused, friendly, and funny.
And now, you’ve had two kids. Not at the same time as me, like your friend Amy Poehler, but the second one is named Penelope -- like mine.
What does it mean that I got, like, 10 emails the day your daughter was born, asking if this was okay with me? I’m pretty sure you don’t even have my new email. But for the record, another Stir writer Michele Zipp (who also has a Penelope) and I have discussed it, and yes. You may join the MOPs (Moms of Penelopes) club. After all, you’re the only one of the three of us who’s actually Greek, so technically, you have dibs.


If someone asks you, “What a cute name! Do you mind if I steal it?” You have to say, “Yes. Yes, I mind. You may not steal my child’s name, and if you do, I will create a character with your name on 30 Rock, and she will be Lutz’s new girlfriend.”

Because one of the emails I got was from my friend Cindy, who doesn’t have a Penelope, but does have a Clementine, which is kind of the same thing. I was partially responsible for naming Clementine, so I feel a special bond with her. Cindy worried that both she and I are being gained on -- we keep meeting adorable babies with “our” cool names.
“What if Clementine and Penelope become the next Sophia and Isabella?” she worried. And I thought -- that could happen! When I started wanting kids, Sophie and Izzy were my chosen names, and everyone I knew -- including my sister! -- used one or both of them in the intervening years. (Okay, so the “intervening years” were 20. In case you haven’t noticed, I elevate procrastination to a high art form.)
On the other hand, for my second kid, I chose a name also in the top 10 -- Abigail -- and it has been fine. People love it because it’s beautiful and classic, and historic, and people light up when they hear such an adorable baby shares their name.
But still. If you’re going to be a MOP, you have to safeguard our elite role. Since Michele’s Penelope was born, Penelope was the 409th most popular name. The next year, when mine came along? 359. Now? 200. We will not have the hoi palloi on our cool-name bandwagon. There is just not enough room.
But as for you -- congratulations, and welcome. Being a mom to a Penelope is every kind of awesome.

Oh. And one more thing. If anyone says "pen-uh-lope," will you correct them for us? Once and for all?


Amy K.

Do you have a Penelope? Do you also welcome Tina to the club?

Image via DaFont

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