Dear Urban Diplomat: when naming a baby, should tradition trump trends?

Dear Urban Diplomat: when naming a baby, should tradition trump trends?

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Dear Urban Diplomat,
We’re expecting a baby boy this spring, and my husband and I agreed to name him Alexander, after our son’s paternal grandfather. However, I recently went on Baby File, an online resource that maps the most popular names in the GTA, and found out that pretty much every other baby boy in our neighbourhood is named Alexander. So I told my husband the name is off the table. He thinks I’m being ridiculous and that tradition trumps trend sensitivity. Please help us settle this; our child’s identity is at stake.
—Nameless,
SCARBOROUGH

I wholeheartedly agree with your husband. Grasping for original, trend-proof names leads people to plagiarize fruit (Apple), contort perfectly good names into vowel-packed abominations (Oliviya, Dilyn) or dredge up retro names that faded for good reason (Fanny? I’m sorry, is your baby a Victorian governess?). Alexander may be hot in your postal code right now, but by the time your boy is school age, you could be living in a different area—one where your little dude and his Grecian name might stand out among all the Matteos and Jaydens. And even if he does end up with other Alexanders in his grade, there are worse fates for a child to suffer than to realize he is one of many. Isn’t that the point of passing down a name, after all—to reinforce the fact that he is part of a distinguished lineage and that he came from real people (and not from the produce aisle)? I say go for the family name—it will ring with tradition each time you say it—and splash out on a unique middle name like, say, Ptolemy, which shows no signs of trending in Toronto. Yet.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com