Hi Duana!

I am due in December and am in need of some help. I actually wrote into you two years ago looking for a badass name for my son and am now on the hunt for a badass name for my daughter. A refresher: our last name is two syllables, hard -ck sound in the middle and ends in -er, so I prefer names that aren't too hard sounding or also end in -er. With my son, we ended up going with Crosby Thomas, which I absolutely adore and couldn't be more perfect for him. I'm looking for something similar, unique but not weird or made up-sounding. My husband and I are both into boys names for girls, but it's not set in stone as long as it's nothing too frilly or girly. Our top two right now are Dylan and Bailey. I like Bailey more but I'm concerned about its popularity. I know we most likely won't be able to get another name that is as rare as Crosby but ending up with the next Ava is my worst nightmare. Middle name will be Elizabeth (my name and my mom's middle name), so I'm not concerned about the first name being too masculine. I just want to give my daughter a name that makes her sound like a hot girl that could kick your ass physically or mentally if need be, is that so wrong? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Guys, what if I’ve made a terrible mistake?

What if I’ve railed so hard about common names and moving outside the box and how we’re spoiled for choice that I have created unwarranted fears about popularity issues, and in twenty-five years you’re all going to be hunting me down because it was me who made you not use Lucy because it made you think of Charlie Brown and a lot of people are calling their kids Charlie? Is this my legacy?

I jest…sort of…but I think we’ve gone a wee bit too far. There’s a difference between Popular, Overly-Popular-Bordering-On-Overused, and merely “I’ve Heard It Before”. 

In your case, a name like Bailey most sincerely lands in ‘I’ve Heard It Before.’ I’m not mocking you, and do understand that it’s a real fear. Especially because Bailey is an appealing name. It’s energetic, it has that unisex feeling while still being mostly associated with girls, and, by virtue of starting with a not-that-common letter, it has the feeling of rarity—which is what you might be feeling is misleading you.

But logically speaking, unless you live around a bunch of people who deeply appreciate the Salinger Family (I mean Charlie/Bailey/Julia/Claudia/Owen, obviously), there isn’t that much worry of a preponderance of Baileys. The reason why?


That is, there are so many names that suit your purpose – that have that kicky energy that doesn’t immediately shout “frills and femininity”—that the chances of everyone choosing the same one are almost nil. Along with Bailey, I’d group Dylan and Riley and Clancy and Sawyer and Hayden and Rory and Sloane and Emery and Emerson and Findlay/Finlay/Finley (please do not get mad at people who spell this name according to their best knowledge) and McKinley and…you get the idea, right?

But. My certainty that Bailey is never going to reach the level of Ava is not the same thing as saying you’ll never meet another one…and trends are trends, and girls’ names are more likely to succumb to trends, which is why you may be more likely to run into a Bailey than a Crosby, even though lots of people will tell you what a cool name they thought it was.

I don’t assume all of the names I listed above will appeal to you just because they’re spunky and unisex and vaguely Celtic-y, but take a look and see if one of them displaces Bailey – which you’re under no obligation not to love! If none of them lands, go a little further afield? Bronwen? (Anwen?) Roísín, Sydney, Marley? (If you feel tempted to go for Marlo/w/e, know that that is a trend that’s happening…I know one in person and three from Instagram); I get that there are people advocating for the feminization of Logan, but it still feels boy-esque to me – Lennon, on the other hand, is happening for girls, but not in a big, Ava-like* way.

*Also, a note – was surprised to find from a reliable source that the ‘Ava’ thing is not like how the mass media caught on to the popularity of ‘Maddie’ about ten years after it happened. There are still many Avas being actively named and born as we speak. 

But to come back to your original, badass basics request, and see which of the names fills you with the kind of excitement and giddiness and f*ck-yeah that your son’s name does…extra credence if it makes you feel just a little bit dangerous using it. That’s the one you go with, because you’ll know that the only other people with the guts to choose such a rare-but-awesome name are raising badasses themselves.

Let us know…again!