We Need To Talk About Gary

by Alexandra Molotkow


So, people in England and Wales are giving their kids Game of Thrones names. Bananas, right? Crazy to think a cultural phenomenon might have an impact on the names people give their children. What does it all mean? Well, it means that last year more babies in England and Wales were named Khaleesi than Gary.

Let’s talk about Gary, a name once prized for its satisfying roundedness and higher-than-average rhyming capabilities. It’s a well-known fact that 26 percent of Americans have a dad named Gary. But very few American dads have sons named Gary, because they ain’t naming their sons Gary.

@alexmolotkow In Quebec the youngest Gary is born in 2012! http://t.co/xHcY8WcoOD pic.twitter.com/XxBhx5mvX5

— David Rankin (@davidrankin) June 19, 2015

This is true across the Western world. In America, Gary slid from its peak of 9th most popular baby name in 1954 (there are records of female Garys born in the 1940s) to 560th in 2014, just below Talon and Augustus and waaayy behind Gannon, Axel, and Malachi.

Harold and Howard fared worse; William is holding strong. Jaxon was the 46th most popular male name in the United States last year (Aaliyah was the 45th most popular for girls), and it is a very strong name indeed. Sorry, Gary. It’s Jaxon’s time now.

As Gary Mason, himself a Gary, wrote for Canada’s Globe and Mail:

In B.C., there hasn’t been a baby named Gary since 2009. In 1965, there were 126, according to B.C. Vital Statistics. This is a phenomenon around the world. In Britain there were only 28 boys given the name in 2013, compared to 236 in 1996. It was a name that peaked in popularity there in the early 1960s, when it was the 16th most common name for a boy. (There have been girls named Gary, too, but not many).

Gary described feeling “hurt.”

The Independent notes that, in England:

the decline in the name’s popularity could have something to do with convicted paedophile pop star Gary Glitter, 70, who was imprisoned for 16 years last month.

In the time of Gary Cooper, “Gary” sounded gruff and decisive. But too many Garys have made too many kids uncomfortable, and now the name sounds, at best, like a wire bent in a weird direction. Simply put, Gary needs an exceptional Gary. But where is he?

Who will be the next Gary? Not my son. Hell no. But, in honor of the Garys that were, here are some Garys I admire:

Garry Shandling
I like that his face always looks like he’s coming.

Gary Burger (of the Monks)
Alright, my name’s Gary!” — Gary Burger

My Uncle Gary
Great guy.

Gary Larson
Also my Uncle Gary.