You are our last hope! We are having a little surprise in two weeks. The girl's name was picked out before we even conceived (Leila Georgie), but if our surprise turns out to be a little boy we are in big trouble. There's nothing we love – names we've mulled over are Charlie, Finlay, Oscar, Ethan, Rory – nothing seems quite right. I am English and my husband is an outdoorsy/rugby playing Aussie. We sit somewhere in between traditional and unusual. My husband is dead set that a boys name be good on both the sports field and in the board room. Our surname is one syllable and begins with 'N' and the boy's middle name would be Andrew after my dad. I love your style...please please give us some inspiration.


You know, every time I get a letter like this I wonder whether it’s the last one. There are lots of people who write in and say ‘we’ll name a son this and a daughter this’, but it’s usually before they know what they’re having.  I love a surprise. 

So having said that, you want a name that works on the sports field and in the boardroom. Are those the same parameters that helped you choose Leila Georgie? If so, what I recommend is that you choose something that can be nicknamey. Because that’s the vibe I get from what you’re writing here. My first pitch? Brace yourself, because I know it gets unpopular…


COME ON. Frederick goes anywhere. The fact that it hasn’t yet is evidence of my brilliance and my generosity in giving it to you. In unrelated news, I’m probably going to rein in my ego pretty soon. 

Not the one? I’m on an Archie kick lately, but I’m pretty sure it’s not just me. It’s on its way. Get in on the ground floor. That’s the thing with all these. All the names that you listed as not feeling quite right used to be totally obscure in modern kid usage, so unearthing the ones that feel like they can rise again is key. So….


Stay with me. Walt on the football field. Walt the hero. Walt Walt Walt! Walt closed the deal. Walter Andrew LastName was named president of the company. You know you want to.

Still nothing? Still not there? Marcus is still totally viable, Angus always feels tough to me, too. I would suggest Mason if your last name didn’t begin with N, but given that it does, what about Abel? Wesley? 

Finally, I just came across the name Holland. That is epic. Holland is going to have a story for life. That guy is going to be an original.  Would love to see what happens there.

Tell me where this goes!

A note to name-nerd letter writers,

I love getting your letters. In order to give them the best chance of being answered in a timely fashion, could I please trouble you to include the due date in the subject line of your email? Also, please send only one email – duplicates are deleted and may result in your email not being answered. Thanks!