Hi Duana!

We’re expecting our third kid in June. We already have a boy and girl and I swear we have already vetoed every dang name there is! We don’t want something super popular because my husband has a very common 80’s boy name and hated using his last name to differentiate from all the other boys with his name (think Mike M.). On the flip side we are not super out of the box people, I love unique names but probably not for my kid. 

Right now the only names we seem to agree on are Nathaniel(Nate) or Damon. I’m leaning towards Damon because it’s a bit less common but for some reason I’m stuck on this idea that it sounds evil... maybe it’s because it’s close to Damien?? I have no clue! I like Nate but it does give off a bit of a popped collar vibe... Would love your thoughts and any other name suggestions you may have! 

Thank you!!!!


You know by now that I often tell people, “You are completely imagining whatever it is you think is wrong with this name”, and I mean it. So please know that I mean it when I say the following things: 

1.    You are not imagining this association 
2.    I don’t think that means you shouldn’t use the name. 

So – first of all I think you’re right that some people associate it with Damien, which is bananas to me because IT IS A GREAT NAME, but also because there’s no other name that’s been so completely corrupted by one turn on film! Like honestly. How come the Friday the 13th franchise didn’t turn people off from the name Jason? I mean, I know it’s partly because Jason was already in common use by the time the first movie came out, so are we going to penalize the name Damian (my preferred spelling, which btw is not the spelling used in the movie) just because The Omen’s writers were a little creative?  I’m now making it a personal mission to put a Damian in the next project I write and I’m going to make him A SAINT. (Which necessarily means he won’t be the main character, which is a problem in and of itself, but that’s for another column)

So the association with Damon – yeah, I get it. Not only is it only one syllable off, it’s also sort of homonym-esque with ‘Demon’, which… isn’t usually in my vocabulary outside of a term like ‘speed demon’. And there’s another factor: Ian Somerhalder. 

This may mean everything to you or nothing, and the character in The Vampire Diaries was already named before the role was cast – but his glinting eyes and, yeah, devilish smile definitely might contribute to the association in your mind. 

But is that a bad thing? I say no. 

Look, I’m on record as saying I think the aversion to Damian is nonsensical, especially since none of today’s kids will have any memory of the movie in question. But Damon is crisp, new, less common, as you point out, and ends in the popular ‘on’ syllable – so he’s going to be right in step with a lot of his peers. 

Plus there’s Damon Wayans, Jr or Sr depending on your tastes, as an advertisement for how upbeat and fun an association with this name can be; Damon Albarn, Damon Dash, Damon Lindelof, Damon Stoudamire… a lot of cool people have done cool things with this name. 

I think you should! I could offer you alternatives, like Davis or Darius or Dimitri, but I actually think Damon is exactly what you’re looking for; it’s not ‘super out of the box’ – and I actually think you wouldn’t even be debating it, when you factor in the perceived ‘negative’ connotation, if you didn’t love it. 

But you do, and I can tell, and I can’t wait for you to choose it. Go In Peace… and let us know!