First, let's forget about spelling the name differently. How many people even know for sure how Flynn Rider's name is spelled? More importantly, how often will people first encounter your sons as a pair on paper, vs. spoken aloud—where the spelling doesn’t matter? So unfortunately, you can't spell your way out of this dilemma.
Oh, dear: This is more of a relationship dilemma than a naming dilemma. At least in the U.S., choosing a baby’s name is considered a joint decision—but of the baby's parents, not the mother and grandmother. Asking for a grandparent's opinion is one thing. A grandparent who feels like she has the last word on the pick is quite another.
–Not Sure If III Is the Charm
First, let's talk about whether Charlie is "too old." It’s true the name has been around forever, but Charlie—and Charles—are perennial classics, not so-retro-they're-out style duds. But of course, "old" is in the eye of the beholder, and the point is, you don't care for Charlie—at least for your baby.
Unfortunately, I'm a Name Lady, not a fortune-teller. And that's what we really need to answer this question. Do you have any idea how long you'll be in your home, or your neighbors will? Maybe they'll outgrow their space and move on, or you will. And—how to put this delicately?—the dog won't be around forever.
- Almost-Asher's Mom
This is the beauty and frustration of names: no two are alike. You can start with a list of thousands of boys' names and applying just three criteria narrows your list down to one.
You've described Asher's unique appeal well. It's a have-it-all name, a Old Testament classic that sounds like a contemporary action surname. The name's literal meaning, from the Hebrew for "fortunate" or "happy," feels like an extra gift to bestow on a child.
It's clear that this really bugs you. But it’s not clear whether others really know that. So your first step is to make your wishes known, clearly and firmly, but also politely. It will be easiest with new people. If they ask you if you have a nickname, just say “No!” with a smile.
–A Future Elliott's Mom?
Let's start by clarifying some details about the name Elliott’s history. You're right that the number of boys named Elliott has risen sharply. Every year since 2010, Elliott has reached a new high on the list of American boys’ names. In 2015, its most popular year yet, Elliott was the 213th most popular name on the charts. You’re also right that more boys than girls are named Elliott. In 2015, for example, 1,859 boys received the name Elliott while only 421 girls did.
Well, if they were still popular, we wouldn’t call them "names from the '50s"! Right? Names take their period style—the feeling that they are the essence of their time—from popularity peaks and valleys.
–Have a Q about QA
It's not clear from your question if you will be using the two names together as a first name (like Mary Rose or Anna Lee). If not, then the practical issue of sounding "too androgynous" really only matters if someone is looking at a document which lists your child's full name, but not her sex. In that case they might use the middle name to try to figure out whether the person is male or female.
–Need a Name for Daddy's Girl
There's an obvious answer here: Just take Justin and add an E. Justine is a familiar name, but perhaps there is a reason you "can't think of" it. Justine is not particularly popular right now; it peaked in the '80s.