Hi Duana,

We are trying to come up with a name for our second son, due at the end of January. 
Our older son is Arthur William. His suggestion for his little brother is Cabooster, and while we've told him we'll put it on the list, it's pretty far down the line. 

So we want something that matches Arthur, but that doesn't make them sound like a pair of octogenarians, with Arthur already being an old-fashioned name (especially when compared with the Jax, Chase, Jace, etc trends in our small town). 

I was pretty set on James, and my husband vetoed. He's also vetoed Dermot (he tells me it would be cultural appropriation to name our son this... lol), Calvin, Jude, Dorian, Fergus/Angus. Our runner up for Arthur was Julian, and we both still like it. But the reason we didn't choose it in the first instance was that we both have uncles called Julian, and I have a sister called Julie. It all seemed too many Jules'. 

I also enjoy Hugh (family name), Emmett and Giles. These have not yet been outright vetoed, but they've been met with a lukewarm reception. Emmett I do worry will be too close to many other somewhat popular names right now - Everett, Emerson, etc. I don't want our second to be the Justin of his time. Especially since in our community, the name Arthur is pretty unusual. If it helps, we both liked Freya for a girl, and I also love Louisa and Gloria (both vetoed). 

So what perfect, somewhat traditional, mainly English-origin name am I missing???

Okay but are you sure you’ve considered Cabooster enough? It has some really underrated qualities. 

Another day, another email title so hilarious it was modified only slightly to become the title of this column. I like where your head’s at here, and the specifics you provide help me to hone in on exactly what you need here. 

I mean, on the one level you don’t need anything. Julian is a great name with a Brit factor, and if you weren’t concerned about the solar system of Juleses you operate in I’d tell you to use it – especially noting that, in some families, the goal would be to continue that tradition, not avoid it. But I hear you, it’s a lot, especially given that it’s worn by existing men and women, so we continue. 

I like the family names you’re considering – Emmett is enjoying a real popularity burst where I am, in a way that’s almost comical. You might not run into this if Arthur’s contemporaries are Jace & Chase, but it has recently become admired. I’m a broken record about the ways that Gilbert fills this same taste space, as well as being a cousin of sorts to Giles, but it may not be for you.

Hugh is a name I’ve long admired that I honestly think suffers from confusing people who aren’t sure how to pronounce it. But it is surprising how charming it is on a small person and it grows up with them well – this is one you can be sure is Justining-proof, and is stylish besides. You know the rules if you go with this: say it as a statement of fact and people won’t question you, pair with a longer middle name for flow; but it’s really underrated, and while I think a lot of people go with Hugo for the inferred energy from that extra syllable, Hugh is a great name. 

That said, if those were eliminated for various reasons, I’d be telling you to go with yes, the perfect name that you’ve somehow not chosen: Desmond. 

It’s Brit-y, but not inaccessibly so. It’s familiar but different, and – specifically to this letter writer – it’s alliterative, which is something I am always surprised works as well as it does. It’s one of those names that people always turn over in their heads after the fact, all ‘why didn’t I choose this?’ Or if not, you might like Dexter, though I think Desmond is the more special for having a different ending from Arthur.

Then there’s Alistair, a name I went back and forth on recommending. Because of course it’s very similar to Arthur, but then again… it’s very similar to Arthur. So they start and end with the same letter, yes, but I think what makes this different to me than, say, siblings Rosie & Daisy is that the name stands well on its own. “Hi, Alistair Lastname. You may have met my brother Arthur.” There’s no denying they have similarities, but they don’t feel like a package deal, you know? 

You might also be inclined to choose Donovan, or Garrett, or Leland, or Victor -- I think Reginald is maybe a bridge too far, but you might really like Raymond, which could not feel fresher or newer all of a sudden. Or what about Bernard? You guys, it’s short, it’s Brit-y, and you know how happy you’re going to be with a baby Bernie to chuckle over… right? 

Also, for you in particular I’m avoiding suggesting Walter because the similarities to Arthur are just too close – but if anyone else came to me with this kind of a style profile, I’d be listing it right off the top. 

Can’t wait to find out what you choose. Let me know!