Adapted from recent online discussions.

Dear Carolyn:

Never thought this would be such a big deal, till it happened to me. My sister is pregnant with her first baby, and she just e-mailed asking me how I would feel if she used the name I have been saving in the event I have a son. (I mentioned it to her a few years ago.)

My husband and I want kids in the next few years and I really, REALLY want there to be an acceptable way to ask my sister to choose a different name. Am I the baby here?


Well, she is asking you how you’d feel. So, take her intentions at face value, and talk to her about the way you feel.

Say honestly that you feel a little protective of the name and sad that she might use it, and ask her how strongly she feels about it. For all you know, it’s not as important to her as it is to you, and she’ll see that and back right down.

If she does feel strongly, then tell her you aren’t going to be a baby and make her pay for this, but you probably will use the name yourself if you have a boy. (Assuming you still would.)

Definitely, don’t pitch a fit if she forges ahead, because if you do dig in, you’re virtually guaranteeing that you’ll have all girls and feel like a doofus for taking a stand.

Also note, I said “talk.” Don’t do this by e-mail. There’s too much room for misinterpretation.

Also worth considering: Although the trend now is to go for uncommon names, past trends have produced tons of cousins all named the same thing. It’s usually less of a big deal than people expect.

And, finally: a reminder that if you’re attached to a certain name for a someday kid, especially if it’s unusual, don’t tell anybody. Any time you feel the urge, watch the “Seven” episode of “Seinfeld.”

Dear Carolyn:

My beloved aunt is bursting at the seams with excitement for her only child’s wedding in Hawaii next year. Their mind-set is, “This is not a destination wedding,” because it’s in the bride’s home town. The entire family is on the East Coast and, well, it really feels like a destination wedding.

Any suggestions for softening the blow of not attending (unless we hit the lottery)? I felt guilty asking our own wedding guests to travel 31 / 2 hours from my home town to the city were we wed (and I’d made my home), but the sense I get from my aunt is that this is on par with the Royal Wedding. Help!

Crazy M-O-G

There are only two pieces of information in all this that matter: The wedding is in Hawaii, and you can’t afford to go to Hawaii. So, you tell your aunt you’re very sorry you’ll be missing the wedding.

To: Crazy M-O-G:

You don’t have to take the whole family. You’ve got months to save up, and maybe you can share a room. This depends, of course, on how close you are to this aunt, and if she’s been there for you in the past.


And on getting over the “destination wedding” huff, since it isn’t one. Thanks.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Subscribe at