My husband and I are hoping that we will be the beneficiaries of your name-nerd advice. We are expecting our second little one on August 8, 2015. We’re Asian and we somehow stumbled into a very lucky due-date! We don’t know if Baby #2 is going to be a boy or a girl.

Our first child is a little boy who will be close to turning three. His name is Elliot. We chose a traditional but non-mainstream boy’s name that went well with Elliot's middle name (my one syllable Asian last name) and Elliot's last name (my husband’s one syllable Asian last name). Skip ahead three years and I feel like Elliot is the boy-equivalent of Jennifer for my generation – there are too many Elliots everywhere and I’m always embarrassed when I take him to a class with three other Elliots.

Baby #2 is our chance to make it right, and that is where we look to you, Duana. For a girl, we have decided on the very old school name Mary. It’s old school enough that it’s vintage and just on the border of being anti-hipster. Bonus points for not being very common these days.

We are having trouble with a boy’s name - I would like a traditional name that is not too common (not Henry, please), nothing too “weird” or “mainstream hipster” (NB – please don’t suggest Augustus/Finn/Theo/Cassius/Atticus), and something that is easy to pronounce.

My short list is comprised of one name – Louie. My husband despises Louie and his list consists of the following names: Avery, Jonah, Oliver, Adrian. I don’t like any of those names, which are very trendy.  And, I’m sorry, but Oliver is a dog’s name.

During a recent car trip to the Rockies, we played the Name Game and came up with Abraham.  Although Baby Abie is very cute, I don’t love the full-on biblical-ness of Abraham. Also, we were both previously finding the name Rex to be acceptable as a throwback to the old movie stars in the 1950s.  But, maybe it’s the hormones speaking, all I can think about are dinosaurs when I say the name out loud now. It’s funny though, but I do not associate the name Rex at all with dogs. Maybe it’s because we named our dog Hamilton…

But I digress. Any tips or suggestions to help us out of our stalemate baby name situation?

Some Days, I Wish I had Saved my Dog’s Name for my Baby


I love Mary, and I think it’s the right choice – not popular, very vintage – although I will point out that for some people, the definition of ‘hipster’ is wanting to be ‘anti-hipster’. Given that though, yes I agree that your husband’s choices in names are not what you’d call unusual.

So. Let’s review our parameters. ‘Not hipster.’ Not a dog’s name (although – Oliver? Really?) Not full-on biblical. Less popular than, but still the understood sibling of, Elliot.

What you need in this situation is to embrace some actual ‘older’ names, and for some people those names can be clunky or unattractive. I’m reminded of the woman who wrote in a few years ago with a toddler named Harvey. In fact, I think I nominated Elliot for her #2

Now, I know this name is not everyone’s steez, but that’s the kind of thing that’s going to keep you away from the next Connor or Liam – those were rare once too. Actually, maybe we can make a blanket statement against ‘perfect-seeming’ Irish names, everyone, since they seem to go nuts.  Unless you want a really deep cut – my cousin just named his son “Donncha” (and his name, Noel, was unthinkably Irish when we were kids).

Okay, back to your letter – I really like Abraham – and Louie, for that matter. Could your husband be convinced of Louis? Shall I ring the bell on Lionel again? If not, how about Walter – another of my wishful picks? Simon is one of those names that either has landed in your neighbourhood or never will – if it hasn’t, it’s such a great known-but-unknown choice. There are similar trends going on with Otis – some people, and I’m one of them, are all “Otis is EVERYWHERE” but other people say it hasn’t landed in their neighbourhood and might never. I can totally buy Elliot and Otis if it speaks to you. 

Malcolm? I’ll admit I don’t love ‘Mal’, but some guys wear it well and Malcolm is not popular, or you could go with nickname ‘Colm’. 

I know you said no biblical, but – Abel? I like the way the ‘L’ goes with Elliot. Pascal? Man, I really love Pascal. A woman I know who named her baby this and it’s so refreshing. BRUNO? I have preached before about how Bruno isn’t, but should be, a hipster name – instead it’s anti-hipster, thus making it perfect for you. Fergus? Yes, that is hipster, I’m not going to lie, but it’s great and it’s not being used. Don’t spite yourself if something is awesome.

Finally – and I am not in any way punking you, just thinking it might work – I have always secretly loved the name Egon. Yes, as used in Ghostbusters. No, that’s not the only use of the name. No, that’s not a reason to not use it.

Let me know where you go (but I won’t be offended if you just dig in your heels for Louie, either).

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