Hi Duana,

I would love to hear your opinion on our short-listed baby names. My husband and I are expecting our first baby any day now - a boy. We have Benjamin, William and Caleb on our short list, but they're only on the list because they haven't been eliminated. We are not in love with any of them.

I also love the name Raylan (we are huge fans of Justified), but my husband thinks the name will be too cool for our son. Raylan Givens is the sh!t, but our son could be, too!

Any suggestions on other names? We want a name that will pass your Supreme Court Judge test and won't be overly popular. (Apparently William is super common these days? Who would've thought...)

Thanks Duana!


Hey! This is one I haven’t heard before. Our kid might not be cool enough for the name. I think I have to compliment you, because a lot of people think exactly the opposite – that they have to find an ever-cooler name for their snowflake, which is why we wind up with names like Maczyz and Ky’leigha. So I’m going to applaud you up front for questioning this, even though, yes, indeed, your son could be cool enough to pull off Raylan. 

But it’s way, way different from the generic-ish names of Benjamin, William, and (to a lesser extent) Caleb, which, as you say, are there because they’re not NOT there. I like the names fine, and if you loved them, then great. But yes, you can do better.  

So what do you do in this case, where anything trendy seems tacky and anything sensible seems…old and worn out? My friend, you do what’s been done many many times before. You pillage from my people – from the Irish. They have taken Aidan from us, and they have ruined its spelling and taken away its specialness – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t reams  of them worth grabbing before they’re on the top 10 list.

Seriously. Nothing sounds fresh and new, yet energetic and unpretentious, like an Irish boy’s name.  Ronan is my personal favourite because he’s a little boy and a strong, forthright man all at the same time. Eamonn is right behind. How about Declan? Are you getting tired of names that all end in N? Liam is officially the province of the uberpopular now, but how about Dermot? Lachlan? There is a lot to be said for the strength of the name Cormac – and then it occurred to me that if you like Benjamin a lot, Brendan is very ripe for adoption again – don’t you think? Irish names do that thing – especially for boys – that involves fitting in yet standing out, and their rapid North American adoption means they’re as likely to be cool-guy demi-Texan names as any others.

As always – hit me up! Let me know! And keep the baby name queries coming!