Hi Duana,

I am obsessed with your column and even more now since I am expecting a little girl in December-due date is 12/31! So my problem is I LOVE the name Olivia...and so does my fiance. Like he would name her that and be done with the name game. I love it, too, but there is something holding me back from committing 100% and I think it's because I have a great name (well I think so). Not too popular (I've never met a peer named Julia), but not off the wall. classic, short, pretty. I'm worried about giving her a popular name-but also realize I shouldn't care if I love it...right?!  I love names like Victoria, Gemma, Mila, Lena, etc. He likes Scarlet and Charlotte (we live in North Carolina, though...).

Do you have any suggestions for a unique, but not TOO unique baby girl name? Baby's last name will be W-------r (three syllables, Germanic).

Thank you!!!


So first of all I have to address the part of your note that says that you’ve never met another peer named Julia. Really? You’re of childbearing age and you’ve never met another? I don’t doubt you, I just love this stuff. I was talking with a  friend named Melissa, who complained that when she was a kid every other girl was a Melissa, and she resented it – and now she doesn’t know where they’ve gone.   Like all the Melissas didn’t suddenly decamp or change their names to Evelyn, so…?

Okay, Olivia. I know. I know it’s beautiful! But it’s not just popular, it’s reaaaaallly popular. Like I think you will never ever have a ballet class or a swimming lesson without at least one other Olivia. And it’s weirdly not a name that lends itself to a nickname except for Livvie, which – you got it – will be the nickname on every girl in her class.

So I want you to really think about it.   As usual, it doesn’t make it not a gorgeous name, it just makes it really popular. Maybe you want to put it in the middle spot and put one of your other glorious choices up front? Lena is lovely. Mila is lovely and it was poised to be a juggernaut a few years ago and then sort of held itself back and became just a pretty and lovely choice. I’d actually love to suggest Carolina – with an ‘e’ sound in the middle – but I’m guessing that’s not OK where you live. What about Ariel or Violet or Petra – how come nobody is named Petra? Or you’re really stuck on those sounds in Olivia, how about Viviana or Odessa or my eternal favourite, Eve?

One warning, though. There’s a homonym-y name that I’m deliberately not suggesting because it’s just as popular, just on an 18-month delay. That’s Evelyn, and it is rising, rising but has yet to rear its full ugly head. So you do you, but be warned!