We need an objective and outside name nerd opinion! I’m due in 11 days and my husband and I are at an absolute standoff with respect to names. The first time around our girl’s name was relatively straightforward and it just clicked, yet this negotiation has been going on for months and we're getting nowhere.

For a bit of background, my husband Stephen is your stereotypical blokey Canadian sports fanatic. He is entrenched in his traditionalist ways and I’m finding some of his names to be a complete snooze. Moreover, I really don’t want this kid saddled with a super popular name like my husband’s because he was one of about 6 in his class growing up.

The other challenge we have is that we’re Canadian but we’ve lived in Australia for a number of years. Now I know you don’t subscribe to assessing nicknames as part of the name nerd debate but the Aussies will always find a way to hack up a name.  As such, we absolutely have to be OK with the shortened version of the name while still passing the Supreme Court Judge/CEO test. I’m not saddling this poor kid with a wanker jock nickname like Steve-O.

Balancing his traditionalist approach with my affinity for classic, yet unique names has been difficult – he is stuck in the top 20 most popular list finishing with the ‘N’ sound: Ethan, Owen, Liam, Nathan, Cameron, Jonathan, Lachlan (popular in Oz).  My preference is for something a bit unique but not majorly out there: Harrison/Harris (due to family), Coen, William, Elijah, Anderson, Griffin, Parker, Lincoln and yes I do recognise that I skew more to the ‘surname as a first name’ trend.

The few names that we both kind of like just feel ‘meh’ right now:
-I LOVE LOVE LOVE Harrison but he’s worried he’d get Harry as a nickname and our surname includes “Wood.” I don’t see why we couldn’t insist on Harris as the nickname but I totally understand getting saddled with a schoolyard taunt like ‘Harry Wood’ would be pretty sh-t.

-I prefer the stronger sounding William with the supporting nickname of Liam, but he’d rather just go straight Liam. Also I love the alliteration of William Wood (...), but he thinks it is pretentious.

-Jonathan appeals but it still feels a little common/generic to both of us.

-We both like Parker but I need some sort of outsider’s opinion to maintain objectivity.

-Lachlan with Lachy (pronounced Lock-ey) as a nickname is a very testosterone heavy but popular name here in Oz, but I think it could be quite unique if/when we return to the Canuck homeland in the next couple of years.

If you could please take the role of the UN and help negotiate this Cold War standoff by providing an outsider’s opinion or offer some alternatives, it would be a massive help. With so few days left before this kid pops out, I’m extremely likely to initiate a nuclear launch. I also cannot fathom looking at Nameberry again because I’m worried it’s going to trigger a panic attack and/or labour.

Name nerd away please!


Cross your legs long enough for me to get this article done. One of my favourite things in this article, as in many of these epic-battle inquiries, is that you’re not as far apart as you think. Primarily, I would lean hard on some of your last-name first choices that have an “n” at the end like he likes.

For instance, how different is Lachlan from Nathan or Anderson from Cameron? Not so much. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Lachlan – in fact, I think it’s kind of lucky – but it comes with a couple of caveats. First of all, I have seen the spelling spelled stupidly. “Locklyn” has come up. I’m sorry. I know. Also, if you care, whether it’s actually happened or not, that “lyn” at the end means people have and or will adopt it for their girls. Aren’t people frustrating? 

But it won’t happen a ton, and it’s certainly not a reason to avoid the lovely name. The nickname – look, I am out of my depth here. Not because I don’t like Lachy, if you can make it happen, but as far as I’m concerned, Aussies regularly meet someone named Sarah or Michael and five seconds later they’re nicknamed, like, “Bazza”, and it defies explanation how they got there. They love those nicknames but I’m not sure how you can defy it if the Great Aussie Conglomerate believes that your child’s nickname is supposed to be “Zazzy” but you let me know. This is also the case with Harris/Harry/Harrison.   You can’t stay away from it if it’s going to go bad where you are, but consider that, if you are coming to Canada soon, “wood” is not nearly the slangy term for the member that it represents.

I assume though that you’ve run all your names by him, so let’s see if we can find some more middle ground. How about Crispin? Caspian? How about Damon? Levi? Bennett, who would no doubt become Benno? A letter writer recently pitched Rhys, would that work for you? I was thinking about how you like last names and looking at Lachlan and Coen and I thought – what about Kaplan? Why isn’t anyone adopting that one yet? My gift to you. 

OK, now go. Have the baby! Let me know!