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We Have the Last-Name Blues!

My fiancé and I are torn between two names we really love: Flynn and Gavin. We have the difficult last name Dix and I'm worried our son will have his fair share of teasing regardless of what first name we pick. Which name would you choose?

– Need a Teflon Name

Schoolyard teasing can leave a deep mark on a child's developing sense of self. Understandably, then, future parents expend generous mental energy analyzing potential names from the vantage point of the class bully. Reasonable people don't want their kids to face ridicule and hardship for choices their parents made.

As you've noted, problematic last names compound the fears. Names that sound similar to certain anatomical parts, to funny or vulgar or embarrassing words, or that lend themselves to rhyming seem especially concerning to conscientious namers. It's a good idea to exert a little extra deliberation when matching first names to surnames with these qualities.

Don't let yourself make too much of this last name, however, in your eagerness to spare your child any potential humiliation. While I can think of first-name pairings with Dix that could encourage jokes—say, the name Hugh—neither Flynn nor Gavin raises any alarms. Choosing between them is simply a matter of personal preference—examining which has the meaning or sound or associations that please you and your fiancé most. While I could tell you my preference between the two, what matters most is which name excites you and the reasons why you love it.

Ultimately, for all the agonizing parents do over creating tease-proof names for their kids, no one can ensure his or her children a smooth, pain-free path through elementary school (or junior high, or high school). A determined bully can turn the most innocuous quality into a reason for ridicule, while confidence and talent can help a child make a seemingly impossible name sound cool. You simply don't know who your son's peers will be, how his interests will develop, how he'll fit in or stand out from his classmates, and how all those factors will influence his school experiences.

So I advise you to put those fears out of your mind and focus just on these two names and your gut responses to them. Naming him Gavin instead of Flynn (or vice versa) won't guarantee immense popularity and eternal sunshine; no name can do that. But choosing the name that feels most right will ensure your smile of satisfaction every time you call you son, and that kind of parental affection matters much more than the so-called humor of third-grade bullies.


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December 29, 2014 11:13 AM
By Anonymoose (not verified)

Give the baby a different last name. My parents did and I'm grateful to them for not burdening me with an embarrassing and unspellable surname.

Use the name of a long-dead author or artist you admire who has no direct descendants.

December 29, 2014 12:53 PM
By Helena (not verified)

I prefer Gavin because I'm not a fan of one-syllable first names with one-syllable last names. Flynn Dix becomes flyndix in my head.

December 29, 2014 1:56 PM
By Christi with an I (not verified)

Neither is really my style but that is beside the point. As far as a different last name, research the laws in your state. In the state I live you can give your child your current last name or your maiden last name period. If you are not married to the father you can only use his last name if he signs the birth certificate. You cannot use random last names. But the laws are different on that from state to state so it might be fine where you live. Or since you indicate that you aren't married is you current last name one you like better? Would your finace consider changing his last name to yours instead of yours to his?

December 30, 2014 12:31 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with Helena that Flynn Dix doesn't work. Go with Gavin.

December 31, 2014 1:40 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

When I read your last name, Dix, I right away thought of the Army base in NJ, Fort Dix. It sounds like a strong last name to me because of that. I guess it all depends on where you live. In our town we have a family with the last name of Pees. I would never have passed that last name on.

January 1, 2015 10:25 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Gavin Dix sounds better. I agree with Helena completely! Flynn and Dix becomes Flyndix. You could combine last names if they sound good together, or change your last name. It just depends on how much the name bothers you. To me Gavin Dix sounds just fine.
I used to live somewhere where a family had the last name Boobas. They had a son named Richard who had the nickname Dick. True story. They pronounced the last name Boo bus.

January 3, 2015 9:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Give him the last name Dixon instead

January 4, 2015 12:23 AM
By Azina (not verified)

To me Gavin Dix sounds best, but I would still be worried about jokes like "Dick gave in" and not only the word dick but also dixie like the toilets...
I am really sorry but are you able to pick another last name?

I was bullied about my name mostly, so I know how that is...
I'd never give a last name to my kids that was so easy to tease about, sorry.

January 4, 2015 9:51 PM
By Sarah (not verified)

I agree Gavin sounds much better. For some reason Flynn gives me the heebie jeebies in this combination. Plus Gavin is a much stronger name and I think he would benefit from that! I agree with looking into the idea of changing the last name to Dixon...... brilliant - so close to dad's name, but saves him and future generations so much misery!

January 9, 2015 10:12 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Gavin Dix can easily be grabbin' dicks

January 11, 2015 5:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

In Australia we have the saying in like Flynn as. Reference to promiscuous actor erroll Flynn. For that reason Flynn Dix would by unusable here or in nz. Are you in the us? Is this a reference there? If so go with Gavin.

I think changing the family surname is a bit extreme.

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January 27, 2015 1:46 PM
By Danielle (not verified)

It means not using either of your top choices, which I know hurts, but are there any longer, three-syllable names you'd consider? I feel like Dix loses its (ahem) potency when it follows something more substantial, ie. "Christopher Dix" or "Samuel Dix."

January 29, 2015 8:09 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

this might be just being immature but when I first said Gavin dix together.. I thought of "grabbin Dix" haha sorry. But I'm sure kids will also think that. Hmmm that's a tough one. Brody, brogan, Logan, Greyson, Dawson

January 29, 2015 11:00 PM
By Alli (not verified)

Flynn Dix made me think of a floppy... You know... I like Gavin better!

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February 9, 2018 3:23 AM
By isabella (not verified)

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My Name is isabella, I am From United Kingdom.i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr NICE OKSE for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after a week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still love me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr NICE OKSE casted on him that make him to come back to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr NICE OKSE for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact . and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

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