Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage
If you, like me, have spent the last several days hitting refresh on your “Kim and Kanye baby name” Google search, then this afternoon (January 19) has already been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster after the couple announced they named their daughter Chicago West. First came shock (Chicago!!!), then confusion (Chicago????), followed by outrage (Chicago!?!?!?!), and incredulousness (Chi-CAH-go?!)
Part of it is I just wasn’t prepared for this. None of us were. What about " target="_blank" rel="noopener">Donda? Or Ava? Or any of the other names that we were so sure the Kardashian-Wests would settle on for baby number three? And another part of it is that Chicago is kind of absurd as a name, right? Just ridiculous. It's arguably not a name at all. But... is it also kind of great? And sweet? And a perfectly satisfying end to our nine-month waiting game? I think it just might be.
Call me kray-zy, but I'm not so shocked and infuriated by this name anymore. Instead, I have made peace with a perplexing baby name. And you can too with this 10-step guide.
Step 1: Don’t hate on destination names Or hate on them if you want to, but at least acknowledge that they’re nothing new. From the long established traditional options (Georgia, Austin, Tennessee) to the more recent crop (Zuma, Bronx, Scotland), naming your kid after a physical location is now just business as usual in the baby-naming game. Take Brooklyn, a handle that cracked the American top 1000 in 1990, and spiked further after Posh Spice picked it for her first-born son nine years later. No doubt there was a time when people thought naming your kid after Tony Micelli’s home borough was a ridiculous endeavour and now it’s the 34th most popular name in America. Who’s to say the same won’t happen with Chicago? And who’s to say it shouldn’t?
Step 2: Unclench…it could have been worse Kim caused a stir earlier this week by posting a Louis Vuitton label to Instagram. And of course we all assumed this was some sort of hint about her new addition’s name. Louis? Vuit? LiV? More than that, I wondered if KKW’s post might mean that she and Yeezy had a plan to leverage their newborn’s name in some kind of luxury branding co-pro, which would have been...well, let's just say it's a good thing the baby is named Chicago and the possibility of this nonsense didn't happen.
Step 3: Appreciate the significance When it comes to baby naming, cred is important, and in this case, Kanye’s got plenty: He grew up in Chicago, and the city has remained important to him, as seen in his 2007 song “Homecoming.” More recently, the rapper and activist met with President Trump to discuss high crime rates in his hometown.
Step 4: Say the word—“Chicago”—several times out loud …I know, it’s actually kind of pretty, right? Forget that it is America’s third largest city, and consider it simply as a word. Chicago. Not too hard, but not to soft. Soothing almost. And it rolls off the tongue with the same phonetic elegance as Amelia or Matilda or Naomi.
Step 5: Admit it—you’re getting a bit sick of the one syllable trend For the last several years, monosyllabic monikers have been wildly popular, thanks in no small part to Kimye’s previous progeny (North and Saint). We all expected the couple to stick to the pattern for baby number three—they even said they were going to so the baby's name matched her siblings. But when has Kanye ever been the kind of guy to fulfill expectations? For those who long for the days of longer baby names, Chicago is a good sign. And for those who don’t...
Step 6: Rejoice at the nickname potential Kim revealed on Twitter that her third born will be referred to as “Chi,” which they are pronouncing as “Shy,” because of course they are. Kimye are apparently allowed to change the way a sound is pronounced. Personally, I would have preferred Chic, but Chi/Shy is pretty cute too. Perhaps you are thinking, sure, Shy is lovely, but why didn’t just name her Shiloh? Well that brings us to number seven.
Step 7: Remember that notable baby names are part of a modern celebrity’s job description If Kim and Kanye had named their daughter Shiloh (Angelina)…or Apple (Gwyneth)…or Cricket (Busy Philips), we would all be talking about it as an act of thievery—the breaking of an implicit contract between stars and civilians wherein the former gives their children outlandish, unheard of names and the latter loses their minds over it. How disappointing would it have been if they chose a name we already had freaked out about?
Step 8: Admit that—love it or hate it—Chicago has already made this day in history far more enjoyable At a time when the 24/7 news cycle feels like dystopian fiction, isn’t it kind of nice to spend a few minutes getting excited about something that's happy. A new baby is born and she's healthy. Hurrah.
Step 9: Book a ticket to Chicago Because a new Kimye baby is a reason to celebrate!
Step 10: Create your own Chicago playlist Few cities have inspired so much great music as Chicago, from old school classics like Frank Sinatra’s, “Chicago is My Kind of Town,” to Nicki Minaj’s recent hit "Chi-Raq." Never mind Chicago the musical. And the band Chicago. In other words—plenty to choose from when crafting the soundtrack for tonight’s Kimye Baby Name Celebration Party. You are having one, right?