Hey Duana,

My work bestie is having a baby due in December, and while there is plenty of time, she (and myself) have been racking our brains at work everyday throwing out names and evaluating. She doesn't know what she is having yet. She also has a daughter named Julia, and wants a name that will match/compliment. If a boy, she has her heart set on Ezra even though it is extremely popular right now and popularity is a concern for her. She thinks she is having a girl so hasn't given much thought to other boys names, although she did mention liking both Damian and Dominic. The father wants Mason if a boy which she hates. For girls, both Julia and the father like Lily, but my friend is not sold. She likes Sophia but won't use it because it tops the popular baby names list. Other girl names she likes are Cecilia, Lucy, or Chloe.

P.S. For middle names if a boy she intends to use George or Patrick (family names), and for a girl Elizabeth or Grace. Also, for reference, the last name is a longer Italian name.


You know what Elaine and I, and our friend Dean, used to talk about all the time, and still would if we were given the least bit of provocation? We’re a little jealous of kids who were growing up in the Harry Potter era – that is, it would have been amazing to be waiting, in real time, for the books, as though they were written just for you, when you were a kid. That’s not to say it wasn’t wonderful as an adult, but – if you were a kid who cared during that specific era, it would have been a real moment in time, you know?

Or another way to look at it is that, as you’ve heard, we’re in the Golden Age of Television…which is great in theory but in practice means you cannot possibly watch all of the good things because there’s no time, so take the pressure off to be caught up on The Night Of/W1A, whichever you keep swearing you’re going to get to any day now. You cannot possibly do it all…

Which is the same exact scenario where names are concerned. The Golden Age of names is here – or at least, beginning. We have so many more to choose from than we ever had before, and that makes it ironically more difficult. When there are only 10, or hell, even 40, acceptable names, it’s easy to say that you like James better than Anthony and Claire better than Catherine. No sweat, right?

But in this era of so many amazing names, you can start second-guessing your favourites, and third- and sixth-guessing them to boot. But as all the names we’ve never heard of or considered start to rise in popularity, because we feel free to use them, we get distracted in thinking that they’re ‘too popular’, instead of just ‘charming and amazing and totally wearable’. 

Like, you’ve heard me rant about how there are too many Sophias. I’m not going to go back on that. But if you think oh, hey, Ezra’s within the top 100, and I’d really prefer something, say…down in the lower 200s? Well, currently in the U.S., the names that are at #263 are….Paris, for girls, and Jayceon, for boys. So…maybe not more charming just because they’re lower on the list, right? If you think it’s just a fluke, a few spots lower down, #270 belongs to Lilliana and Cristian…spelled that way, because of course the more common ‘Liliana’ and ‘Christian’ are much higher.

So please, please don’t tie yourself up in knots because of where a name lives on the popularity chart. Don’t ignore it, but don’t throw Ezra out with the bathwater, especially since I think it’s beautiful with Julia. Then again, so are Dominic and Damian. Come to think of it, who’s your work friend? Should I be submitting an application to be her next-best-bud? Not to overdo the Ds, but I’d also go with Donovan or Duncan. Or Hadrian, or maybe even Gabriel or something like Thatcher, or something Latin, like Marcus or maybe even Andreas? I don’t hate Mason, but being #2 in popularity is different than being #95, so I hear her…but I think she has some decent options here.

Where girls are concerned, she is a little more founded in her worries. There are better ways to go than Lily or Sophia, and she knows it and if she doesn’t, you do too. Plus, especially with Elizabeth or Grace as middle names, she can and should go further afield.

I love both Lucy and Chloe, but neither seem like names that fit with Julia, or that are as extended and formal as we seem to be aiming for. Cecilia is closer, for sure --  but somehow it lacks a little of the sass that the other names have. Cecily, on the other hand, oft-recommended, but almost never used, seems to have it in spades…am I right?

If that’s not it, what about Katia or Liza (which yes, eliminates Elizabeth as a middle name), or Nathalie or Larissa or even Beatrice? None are completely unheard of, obviously, but they’re charming nonetheless…and so are Jacinta or Georgina or something like Anya or Matilda?

Look, I don’t want to usurp your position, here, but I like this woman and the way she’s leaning. I feel like she and I could be friends…let me know if she’s taking applications…!