West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle was in the headlines this week for announcing that he had named his new baby daughter Blush.
The reason this has caused such a stir is two fold. Firstly, there is the name itself. As with almost any time someone in the public eye dares to use a name not deemed “normal” there are plenty of people declaring it to be wrong. They say things like “that’s not a name!”, “surely that’s not right!” and the inevitable “is this a joke?”.
Except in this case the context of this particular person naming his baby Blush gives people extra cause to wonder if it is a joke. Which brings us to the second reason it has caused such a stir. In January this year Gayle caused controversy for his sexism towards a female sports reporter. He had been flirting with her in a post game interview and made the comment “don’t blush, baby” as she tried to ignore his unwanted flirtations. He tried to brush it off as being a joke, but was fined for his unprofessional conduct.
Reportedly this name is also a joke though, and his child is instead a boy (not named Blush). Which would mean that while Gayle may think that his tweets of “We would like to welcome the arrival of our beautiful daughter ‘Blush'” and “Thank you all for the sweet and kind messages. Blush won’t Blush, my baby” are funny, he has sadly learned very little from the whole incident. Which makes sense as “don’t blush, baby” has basically become his signature catchphrase.
The overpoweringly negative reaction to the name Blush is interesting though. Let’s take a step back for a minute. If someone had actually named their daughter Blush, and didn’t have the background with the word that Gayle does, is it really that bad as a name?
I saw a discussion about the story on morning TV where one person used the extreme insult of “It’s akin to child abuse” (I hate it when people use that phrase as an argument against a particular name. Seriously, a ridiculous – in your opinion – name does not automatically equal abuse. Such statements just trivialise the very serious subject of child abuse. But that’s a discussion for another place and time).
The more considered argument I heard against naming your baby Blush was that as it’s a word commonly associated with shy, young, awkward girls it would be belittling to give a female this name. Furthermore, it would be hard for an adult woman to be taken seriously with a name for an involuntary physical reaction, especially within a professional environment.
Which I understand and agree with. And is why I feel kinda bad for saying that I think Blush would actually be quite pretty as a name. It has a sweetly romantic feel, and makes me think of other soft pink flowery names like Bloom, Blossom or Posey. I could totally see it as a possible name should Jules and Jamie Oliver’s next child be a girl.
But I think this is one that is best left for a surprising and demure middle name. And listening to the general reaction when Gayle announced the name (be it the real name or not), it’s safe to say that most people would also prefer not to see Blush as a first name.