Hi Duana,
I’ve been combing through your old columns for inspiration and finally decided to reach out on my own.
My husband and I are expecting child #2, a boy, at the end of January. With our daughter, we didn’t have too much trouble coming up with names, and I love our choice of Blair. Something strong, unisex and simple, but not overly used. For our boy, we’re having a terrible time deciding on a name.
Our heritage is primarily English and Scottish, and I tend to gravitate to those names. I’ve even combed through Tartan and Clan lists to come up with something that fits the bill. My short list includes things like Harris, Foster, Davis, Malcolm, Hale - all fairly short, strong and simple. I think they complement Blair quite well. I also love Taron, but worry it might be too feminine, and Fraser, but worry it will always be mispronounced as the sitcom Frasier his whole life. Fraser is also our family tartan! Arthur was another potential short-list, but there are so many A names in our community and friend group it’s a letter I’d rather avoid.
Husband keeps suggesting names I loathe – George, Walter, Doug….they make me shudder to even think about. Middle name could be Morrison, and our last name is short one-syllable, English name. 


Okay, so how late in January, exactly? Any chance you’re in the Midwest or Northeast and your baby was like “yeah, imma wait a few weeks ‘til it’s warmer”? Here’s hoping. 

As for your name dilemmas – I was delighted to read that you have very distinct likes and dislikes, and that, unlike a lot of letters I get, you’re not trying to aim at “classic, traditional” names. Nothing wrong with those, of course, but a lot of people write in looking for Henry-but-not-Henry, so this is refreshing. 

I also think your focus on surname-type names is a great fit for your ‘brand’, for lack of a better word, so the way I see it, there are two issues here. One is that your husband keeps suggesting names you don’t like at all, which makes me think that ‘Blair’ worked because he felt like it was a first name, and you felt like it was a surname-name – so that’s what we have to find again. 

Before we begin, blanket statement about your favourite name, Fraser – sure, there will be some people in their late 30s and 40s who have been conditioned to hear ‘Frasier’. But here’s who hasn’t, and won’t: the current 15-25 year olds who will be his teachers and employers, the current 8-13 year olds who will be his swim coaches and camp counsellors, and the soon-to-be-borns who are gonna be his friends. They’ll know it’s “Fraser”, and lord knows kids are not shy about correcting you if you pronounce something wrong – just try mixing up characters from PJ Masks or Ninjago. You’re taking your life in your hands. 

But sometimes a thought like that means the gloss is off the name, which I totally understand, so let’s look at a few more you might like instead. 

I do understand that Taron might be heard as “Taryn”, but again, I’d ask you when that’s actually going to be a problem. That’s a rare enough name that nobody in his generation is going to think it’s a ‘girl’ name, and you’ve heard me talk about how there’s not really such a thing anymore – ask Jayden and Dylan and Harper and Emerson. I really wouldn’t think that’s something to be concerned with. But if it’s a no-go…

I really felt the lack of Angus on this list – maybe it feels too first-namey for you, but it seemed like an obvious choice, with Fergus on the list as well…though strangely, Magnus feels too ‘first name’ for you, in my opinion. Then I started thinking about Fletcher and Beckett, or even Brooks, if ‘Blair & Brooks’ doesn’t feel too Gossip Girl prep-school for you.  

Given your feelings about Kelsey Grammer’s Show, you might not be interested in the next name, but I have to suggest Landry, because it’s short and surname-esque and not that common, and reminds me of Harris and Hayes quite a bit. Then I came across the delightful Madigan, which goes SO well with Blair (albeit maybe too samey with Morrison) that I want to point it out; then, of course, maybe Morrison should be a first name, or Morris, or (saying it) Moriarty. I’m sorry about stealing from your middle spot, but you know it’s a great name! 

Lawson? Rhys? Wolfgang, despite not being in any way English or Scottish, seems to fit here, as does Lawrence or Benson or Carson – I’d suggest Garrett but it’s too sound-alike to Blair for my tastes, though your mileage may, of course, vary. 

I’m gonna close out because you’re probably having this baby as we speak, but in closing, I feel like you haven’t gotten close to something like Doyle, and I want you to test it out! 

Okay, enough from me, this is all about you. Let us know!