Hey Duana,
Well I’m pregnant for the second time this year, first time ended in a miscarriage very early on, which lead me to be overly cautious/ paranoid with this one. On the bright side everything is going as it should be, and I’m almost 20 weeks so I’m starting to accept that this is actually going to stick. Which brings me to names. We saw an "unusual appendage" between baby's legs today, but obviously no guarantee. For a boy my man has his mind dead set on Rayden... as in Mortal combat god of Thunder Raiden. The name itself doesn't make me cringe, but the origin I cannot process, it's ridiculous. For a girl I love Arya and yes I am a huge Game of Thrones fan both books and series, she is strong, smart, self sufficient and an all around a kick ass little girl. Am I being a hypocrite by judging where his choice of name comes from. Plus I desperately need help with the middle name of Arya just in case the "unusual appendage" turns out not to be a penis.
Ps I have an 8 year old named Chloe Julia and was wondering if either of these names go well with hers, please feel free to thrown in some alternatives.

Thank you so much,


Hey E,

When I started writing this column I referred to myself as a name snob.   And yet that’s not the tag you see to the left, is it? Somehow it morphed into being “name nerd”. 

I’m not sorry about that, in fact, it’s probably better. More alliterative, though I believe it’s possible to be both a nerd and a snob about any given issue. Anyway, my point is that being a nerd is something to celebrate.   And that there’s a code between nerds, where we have to accept each others nerdism, even if we don’t understand it.

So I’m sorry to tell you, E, but if Arya is on the table then so is Rayden.  And not everyone will know the reference, but you better believe that everyone who does is going to say “…as in Mortal Kombat God Of Thunder Raiden?” So you have to know that going in, and you also have to know that you’re on the end of a lot of “ayden” names and that people will say “what’s your son’s name again? Brayden? Oh, right, Rayden”. It’s just one of those things that’s going to happen. 

So if you want to avoid this while still honoring one or two of your fandom inclinations (and of course giving respect to that “unusual appendage”), you have some options: How about just Ray? Raymond if you’re formal, but Ray on a baby boy could be as hippy/ethereal as you want. Rain(n?) is another option here if you’re feeling that way. Raylan is not my particular speed, but Justified has given it a boost, and it is equal parts modern and cowboy, so you can totally do that and feel like he’ll be at home in his peer group. 

Or use your other influence and go with Arthur, in honor of Arya. Or Arturo.  Or Armin if you’re feeling that way. Or Archie. Any of these have the same plucky spirit behind them as Ms. Stark, even if you don’t go whole-hog with the name.

If you do, though, if the unusual appendage turns out to be some wayward bit of umbilical cord or other, then I think something concrete to balance the Arya is where you want to be. Arya Josephine. Arya Cecily. Arya Margaret, even. The beauty of the name is in the balance between the ethereal and the concrete. 

I’m really glad everything’s going so well and that this baby’s parents are so thoughtful about choosing a name they’ll really love. So let me know!