Hi Duana,

I have been reading your column religiously in hopes that you would suggest a boy name that would solve all my boy-naming problems. This hasn’t happened yet, so I am just going to ask outright. My husband and I are having our first baby at the end of February (gender unknown) and we are having such a hard time finding a boy name that we love. If we have a girl, we want to name her either Emerson or Scarlett (although you said in your column recently that Emerson feels dated, which is now giving me second thoughts).

We have a few possibilities for boys names that we don’t hate – among them are Luca, Sawyer, Samuel, Archer, and Rhys, with Luca being the current favourite. The problem is, none of these names really jump out at me and say YES!! This is the name of your son! They fall instead into the category of names I don’t have, and I feel as though one should be slightly more enthusiastic than that about the name of one’s child.  

Other relevant info:  If the baby is a boy, his middle name will be Scott. I don’t want a name that ends in ‘n’, and I don’t want anything too trendy or super popular, but I also don’t love the everything-old-is-new-again trend, and would rather not name him Arthur or Angus or Stanley. Our last name is 2 syllables and ends in “ –kins”. 

One further plea:  Please do not suggest Dashiell.



Damn, J!  Are we married? Because usually it’s only someone I live with who can categorically call me on every trick in the book like that. Okay, so I have a few go-to names I fall back on in a crunch. So sue me. The good news is, and you’ve already pointed this out, they’re not for you.

At times like this, when the right name is definitely out there but not obvious, I fall back on the original reason for this column, Jessica Simpson (yes!) who said her first child’s name was “nothing you wouldn’t find in the dictionary”. So those are the names we’re looking for here.  

I’m inclined to suggest Isaac. It’s one of those names that doesn’t feel like it has a particular vintage, or is assigned to a particular age of little boy – the way, for example, Luca might. If that’s not for you, how do you feel about Isaiah? Is that a place you could go?

What if that’s not it, though? What if you want something a bit more…well… stylish?

As I write this, I’ve literally just been introduced to a Fletcher. Is this something for you? Do you have a visceral reaction for or against? It’s one of those names, like Archer and Sawyer, that aren’t popular enough to have a particular image, but that feel appropriately grown up. They’d work well with Scott, too.

But…neither of those grabbed you. So if they’re not it, what about Ezra? I love this name and don’t understand why it’s not more popular. Is it just because it ends in ‘a’? Does this go too far into the old-man region for you? What about Garrett? Does that live into the fitting-in-but-standing-out world? Beckett, gaining in popularity but still pretty winsome?  

I always feel like suggesting Caleb is a little too easy, and I know there are and have been many Calebs. But it’s still right in the sweet spot of sounding like a name that’s fresh for the first time, mostly because it’s not ending in ‘n’ (see, I got your back) and not Jacob.  

Okay, so you don’t want it to end in ‘n’, but could it have an N in it? Jonah is the kind of name that mostly gets tossed around for sweet, conscientious boys in YA novels, but it’s intensely appealing. Is it for your son? Jonah Scott?

Hit me back, let me know. And let it be noted there’s not a Stanley in the bunch.