I love your column and have been following it since the beginning. Thank you for all of your name inspiration!
I’m struggling with naming baby #2 and am hoping you can guide me.
I have one boy, Maurice, who is almost 2. We pronounce it the North American way, Mo-reese. It’s a big name for a little guy but he wears it well. We chose it because we wanted something that would work in French and English and was knowable but not popular. Also we were convinced right until he was born that we were having a girl so spent very little time discussing boy’s names before his birth. Maurice was the one we both agreed on right away so it was pretty easy.
This go round we found out early we were expecting a boy. We had a girl’s name all ready to go though - Bernadette. I will love that name for eternity but I don’t see us having a third.
Now that the clock is ticking we are having trouble narrowing down a boy’s name. Ideally, his name will also be bilingual and “go” with Maurice. Names we like are Bruno, Remy, and Oscar. I waffle on liking Hector. With Remy I worry it sounds like his full name should be Remington which I am not fond of, and Oscar while beautiful is getting so popular. That leaves us with Bruno, which is a family name, but do I have the balls to name a kid Bruno? It works well with my husband’s last name and I think we’d use my last name as a middle like we did with Maurice. But - what am I forgetting, what am I missing? The few friends I’ve told it to have had a rather lukewarm reception to this name possibility. Then again, Maurice’s name has also been met with some side eye, even from my own mother who suggested we just nickname him Freddie and call it a day (!).
Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.
You know how they say that there are people who do things subconsciously-on-purpose? Like leave things around when they’re having an affair because they want to get caught, or not wash their hands so they get a cold and ‘have’ to miss the wedding they’ve been dreading, or whatever?
I wonder if this is what’s at play here, J. Because I tend to get letters from two types of people – those who have been reading a long time, and those who have never heard of me but were encouraged to write to me by a friend. I love them both, but I assumed this letter was from someone in the latter category.
And then I reread, and found this line in your email…
“I love your column and I’ve been following it since the beginning.”
I love you for it! Thank you! But beyond that…
J, if you read this column a lot, then you wrote to me knowing what I was going to respond here, right?
There is no name that makes me feel more like I’m shouting into the wind than Bruno. There is no name that I passionately believe needs to make it back into the forefront as much as I do Bruno. I love this name. I feel this name. It has all kinds of amazing characteristics of ‘known’ but totally underused, energetic but not played out, and doesn’t live on its’ own in a time. I am, not to put too fine a point on it, in love with this name.
Don’t believe me, J? Here's a quick search which turns up no fewer than 17 articles where I stump for Bruno (to say nothing of when I’ve mentioned it on TV or radio interviews). It is a great name. It will grow with him. It will make him stand out and fit in.
But you knew that, didn’t you?
That’s why you wrote in.
I see what you did here, you clever individual.
Need a little more backup? It pairs perfectly with Maurice. I knew they were good together, but when I searched the US popularity lists for 2017, I discovered that Bruno is #642 in popularity… and Maurice is #652! They are obviously meant for each other.
By comparison, Remy is too ‘floaty’ – between genders, since it’s used for both, and as a nickname versus the full name that Maurice is. Oscar, also a great name, isn’t necessarily as popular as you think - #192 in 2017 – but it is more present in pop culture, among other places, and Hector doesn’t really get a vote because you’re not that sure about it as it is. Now, I could conceivably see a world where Hugo could be a contender, but I probably would save that for someone who’s been stonewalled by Bruno and is looking, broken-hearted, for an alternative. You, on the other hand, don’t need it.
Because Bruno is fantastic. Maurice will be proud to have a brother with such a cool name (and so will Bruno, for his part). You absolutely have the balls to do this, and you are just a short time away from a steady stream of people looking at you with awe and a little smile. “OMG, what a cool name!”
Go. Do it. You already know you love it – and that I do too. You gotta do this for the both of us!