“That’s an interesting name” is code for “Wow that’s an odd, quirky or WTF name.” Celebrities, of course, are notorious for giving their kids “unique” names such as Camera, Apple, Rocket, Daisy Boo, Tallulah Belle, Audio Science, Moon Unit…the list goes on. But eventually the kids can use nicknames, (although App is still rather “interesting”) change their names or flip off the paparazzi if the camerapeople ask how the tweens like their given names.
However, when businesses carefully select a name, it’s usually emblazoned on a large sign or spelled out in huge neon letters. And unintended associations and connotations can linger for a long time. Check out the above tanning salon, Tan Your Hide. Yes, it’s a tongue-in-cheek name. Actually tanning your hide is pictured above and to the left, and why wouldn’t you want to do that to yourself in a little cooking capsule?
Here is a collection of some other “interesting” names.
USA. I can’t figure out why any woman would want to buy clothes from a place called Dress Barn — especially when it’s widely known in the US that to make fun of a person’s weight, mean people use the term “fat cow.”
Semaphore, South Australia. This is a great restaurant and I love their food, but the name escapes me. An ass is a donkey, a beast of burden and a regular character in religious texts. However, a RED Ass is a condition resulting from violent bouts of food poisoning. And, really, who wouldn’t want that association with his or her restaurant?
Hong Kong and USA. It’s not just Asian businesses that sometimes have sexual innuendo screaming from their translated names (see the Hong Kong Litter Cum sign above). The American Kum and Go gas station franchise has been around for ages.
Colorado, USA. I’m sure the dentists at Gentle Dentistry delicately wield the drills, but already the trust is gone when you see this name. Less Painful Dentistry, sure. Tolerable Dentistry, why not? We–Use-Lots-of-Drugs-So-You-Don’t-Feel-It Dentistry, even better. But GENTLE Dentistry?? No way.
Wal-Mart’s christened one of its clothing lines for women Faded Glory. “Old Glory” is a nickname for the American Flag, and US citizens often associate “glory” with their country. So, “faded glory” would be glory that is no longer illustrious or “quality.” I’d love to think that Wal-Mart celebrates irony or has decided to recognize satire when naming their clothing line. For some reason, I don’t think that was the intention.
Manly, Sydney, Australia. I love Manly Beach — it’s a fun coastal community with a great vibe. And when I hear the name, I always have a vision of a Mr. Universe walking around on a beach while flexing and winking at bikini-clad women. Knowing Australians, they probably purposefully took a tongue-and-cheek approach when naming this community.
Actually, while exploring areas along the coast of New South Wales, Australia, for new settlements in 1787, Captain Arthur Phillip arrived at a spot where he observed the local Aboriginal people. Their “confidence and manly behaviour” inspired him to name the area “Manly Cove.” (www.manlyaustralia.com.au)