Hi Duana,

My husband and I need your help! We've narrowed down our name choices for our newborn boy who is due in a few weeks to: Mars Alexander, Apollo Sebastian/Fielding or Lawrence Apollo. His last name will be a hyphenated name with each name having two syllables and both starting with the letter "W". Our first born son's name is Desmond Fox. One other thing that is less important to us but still relevant: we live in a city that's about 5 years behind trend. We're really hoping to settle on the name before he's born (we're not ones to "see what name he looks like") and we're hoping your thoughts might help us make a decision.



I don’t know what it is about this letter that is so unusual-feeling. Part of it, I think, is that you obviously have some sort of a galactic feeling going on, but it’s not overbearing, and I feel like I want to commend you for this, because I find your choices so far quite charming. A lot of people, when they have a theme idea or a kind of world that they want to lean into, name-wise, are really overt about it. Certain nature names, certain ‘feeling’ names tend to fall into this category, and I feel like yours are much smoother than they have any right to be, so kudos!

The other thing is that I’m really interested in the idea that your city is about five years behind trend. The most interesting part about this statement, of course, is that you’ve observed it, but haven’t told us whether that’s a good or a bad thing, and whether you want to lean into or out of that. For example, your firstborn son’s name, Desmond, sounds perfectly on-trend or a little ahead, even—but depending how old he is, he might be a serious outlier in your city, especially if they’re still back five years ago, name wise (does that mean just beginning to move from Aidan to Brayden, and from Ava to Ella?) So while I don’t know if that’s a positive or a negative for you, I can definitely highlight some trends.

Apollo is what jumps out at me first. It’s a boy's name ending in “O”, which is very stylish right now, which is not the same as ‘popular’. It’s current, but still very modern, I wouldn’t think you’d run into one everywhere, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the possibility existed anywhere. It’s also the name of one of the dogs in the LaineyGossip family, if that influences you at all! By the way, I most definitely don’t mean anything offensive by saying that. I think we’re going to have to have a bigger conversation about dog names, because the trends there are changing too, as are the ways we react to our pets. So there’s nothing derogatory about mentioning a pet with the name of a human—many people are just choosing names they love for their family members, regardless of how many legs they have.

Mars, of course, doesn’t speak to any trend. And it is an inexplicably good name, isn’t it? I don’t know why we haven’t used it before. Yeah, sure, it’s a planet. It also sounds just like Lars, and is one letter away from Marc, and it is really, really wearable. I would totally encourage you in this direction if you’re trying to stand out—but you know how I say kids don’t make fun of kids’ names? There is potential here for Mars to become ‘Martian…’. Do with that what you will.

Lawrence, though, as a first name, is closest to Desmond in that it’s a ‘traditional’ given name, and sounds like it is of the same vintage, usage-wise. Lawrence and Desmond are totally brothers that I believe in, and one doesn’t have the ‘weird’ name, if that’s even a thing by the time your kids are old enough to complain to you about any of this stuff. I’m not trying to steer you in a traditional direction at all, just pointing out that based on the choices you’ve already made, Lawrence Apollo is a very natural fit.

Finally, I don’t want to neglect your choice of ‘Fielding’, either—what a great middle name. Somehow I doubt it’s a family name (because people usually say as much) but it’s great – though it’s worth noting that the rarity of it is part of the appeal for me (and maybe for you?)

It’s taken me all the way to the end of the article, but I’ve figured out what it is about this letter. Why it feels so different, relative to most of them – I’m pretty sure I like every name you’ve suggested, and I’m also sure you’re one of the only letter writers who doesn’t want to hear that, since making a decision is the reason for the note.  Given that, I’m going to throw my hat in for Apollo Fielding W-W, because they’re such great names and any kid would be lucky. But if Apollo and Desmond start to feel too far apart, Lawrence Apollo is my second choice, and also feels like it might be the kind of name where you say both names all the time just to get the awesomeness of that middle name out in public.

Let me know what you choose!