Hi Duana!

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in September, and we are so divided on a name that that's all we can talk about! Our girl name is set in stone: Evelyn. I read your column regularly and I know it's the popular name to end all popular names right now, but we both love it so much that that doesn't matter.

But the boy name is where we're stuck: I love Jacob, but my husband can't get on board because it's too popular (odd double standard, I know). He loves Dylan, but I'm not totally sold on it, and how do you nickname a Dylan?

Our last name is short and ends in a "-ly" sound, so any names ending in "ly" sound really weird. Any suggestions? Please? At this point we're going to be in the delivery room and I'll tell him to write whatever he wants on the damn birth certificate.



So here’s the thing – with all my usual caveats of “popular depends where you live”, Jacob and Dylan together (heh, Wallflowers, you’re welcome for having “One Headlight” in your head all day) actually feel like a bit of a throwback to when we were kids or, at least, to the kids we used to babysit.

If that’s your style, there are an abundance of names to take advantage of that feel familiar but fresh – Andrew, Daniel, Samuel – all with the attendant nicknames you’re looking for (but don’t assume they’ll be used, we’re a full-name society these days).  Jonah has always hovered on the edge of being popular but Noah usurped it several times over, so there’s opportunity there. Simon? Patrick, even?

Having said that, one of my thoughts was that with a short last name and Evelyn on deck for a girl, you could afford to go a little longer with your boy’s name.  Nathaniel? Tobias. This is where my 90s boys construct falls down a little – all those names were so short. But Gregory is almost back in play now, as is Geoffrey so you can luxuriate in the room you have up front. 

I think Ezekiel is going to be too far out of the box for you, but Zeke is a great nickname. Abraham? I know, how did I get to Abraham from Dylan? How about Edmund, which I love, which makes me think of Turkish Delight, and which can very easily become Ned? Ned –ly? Or, for other short names, Joel? Or Nate? Nate –ly?

You know that for me the nickname has never been the thing, but I hope you can find something to land exactly where you want it on the damn birth certificate. Let me know how it goes!

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