Dear Duana,

Thank you so much for years and years of interesting insights and name inspo! Despite being a long-time fan-girl (I've gifted 'The Name Therapist' to every knocked-up friend), I'm actually disappointed to need your counsel. Mostly because my request will expose me for the creep I am...


You see, my number one criterion for a name is that is has to be sexy. Obviously highly subjective, but I want a name that you can imagine being purred. To me, that means it has to have a certain breathy quality to it, ideally two syllables, and nothing that can be short-formed/nicknamed. My daughter's name is Simone, and perfectly hits at what I want; the unusual syllable emphasis/drawn out "o" take up time and space in your mouth, giving it that sex-appeal edge. Plus, it's easy and recognizable without being common. 

I'm now due with my second at the end of July (no doubt, a Leo), a boy. My husband and I do not have a single name we agree on, and to be honest, neither of us have a name we like all that much anyway. Our respective brainstorm lists are all over the place: Aaron, Evan, Wesley...but also Caleb and Tristan. Can you help steer us in a direction? Find a compromise between my softer, sexier names, and my husband's inclination towards early 2000's teen drama leads?

The only "no" for us is a name that starts with S. We want a name that complements Simone, but doesn't match it. 

Thank you in advance for your inimitable wisdom!

Seeking Sexy Male Moniker 


Just when you thought I couldn’t say “Well here’s a letter I’ve never gotten before” anymore…


Okayyyy. You want a sexy name. For your baby. I guess I could say a lot of things in response to that, but you’ve already said a lot of them and are right up there calling yourself a creep, so I’m going to answer this in the spirit it was intended. I might still say a few things, though… 

But let’s try to answer your question straight up. First of all, I think I have a problem with your premise – not the part about names that take a long time to say in the mouth, because actually I agree on that point, there’s something about having to get your mouth around a lot of syllables and sounds and then pivot to another that has some sex appeal (OH MY GOD WE’RE TALKING ABOUT YOUR BABY! – but … I guess you’re taking me at my word in that we’re naming people, not babies); I would argue that 70-odd years of television have made those easier-to-say-and-hear names, the two-syllables or less ones, kind of neutered. There’s something very languid, in my mind, about a long name, about slowly saying all three (or more) syllables that really gives you time to think about it… and then, too, there are shorter names that apply as well. 

So, assuming none of the names above are setting you on fire, here are my suggestions. 

First of all, think about August. Unusual enough, but familiar enough, and charming – though obviously off the table if this kid delays his arrival until after July 31st. But that brings to mind other somewhat lazy-summer, languid names. Cyrus. Dominic. Gideon. Julian. 


Too long? Too Little Lord Fauntleroy? I don’t agree, but I get it, they’re not for everyone. Still, take it from a woman whose entire generation of male contemporaries is divided between Mike, Matt, Dave, and Ryan – if we don’t diversify our name choices, everyone winds up sounding the same and whatever charm you love from the name will dissipate into sameness.

How about Jonah? Has that same ‘o’ sound Simone does, without sounding too repetitive. How about Isaiah? God, I love saying Isaiah as much as I love successfully saying it. Kieran? Has a teen-show quality for sure, but isn’t (yet) common. Micah? Jeremy? Malcolm? 

If you want to go the other way, contradicting both me and yourself, there are of course lots of short names that fit the bill. Kai. Rhys. Jude. Len. (How is Len so charming – yes, even sexy, if I dissociate FROM A BABY – when ‘Leonard’ has been one of those names people reach for to mock?) I know you said you didn’t want an S name but…how about Steph, as in Stephan, as in Curry? Beau? Cole? 

Too short? Okay. I really liked your suggestion of Wesley, for what it’s worth, so building off that, what about Findlay? Definitely verging on trendy, but still a good name. Or Rafferty, or Everett? I’m a sucker for surname-esque names sometimes, too (for which I squarely blame Curtis Sittenfeld’s Cross Sugarman). You could go with Mercer or Donovan or Hayes, or even Hughes. Gregor (not Gregory, which will inevitably be shortened) or Elan come to mind here too. 

I … can’t wait. Really, I can’t. Please let us know what you choose!