1. The use of the term “partner” to refer to both heterosexual and same-sex relationships, to say nothing of business relationships. Oh, your partner Hilary and you went to a sales conference? Is that your husband or wife or office-mate?

2. Giving pets human names: Norman, Dora, Henry, Gertrude. What happened to old favourites like Spot, Fluffy, Spanky and the like? Last night I witnessed a man running down the street, calling out desperately “Betsy!” and I didn’t know if he was looking for a child, a dog, or a ferret. At least, for the most part, the human names are ones no one ever gives a person these days… but that could just mean that he was looking for a wayward nonagenarian.

3. Giving children names with (what you imagine to be) unique spellings. It’s not the name that makes someone unique–it’s the person and how they live their life. Ashley, Ashleigh, Ash-Lee, etc.: you’re going to meet someone with your exact name, as assuredly as I will. For me, it’ll be a little anecdote, the start of a conversation, an odd coincidence. For you, it’ll be a wreck, a blow to your ego from which you’ll never recover, as you realize you’re not quite the precious one-of-a-kind snowflake your parents always said that you were.

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