Duana Names: Nerd-to-Nerd Confidential

January 19, 2016 18:36:35 Posted at January 19, 2016 18:36:35
Duana Posted by Duana


I've been obsessed with names my whole life and my favorite book in high school was Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana (cool, I was). Now that it's time to buckle down and name a human, I'm terrified and can't find the perfect name.

I take this responsibility so seriously because I think this will shape who she becomes. I have a list of rules I want my perfect name to fit but I can't find the right one...can you help name our baby girl?

1) Easy to say/spell (I've been correcting people my whole life...I won't do that to another human)

2) Passes your Supreme Court Justice Test

3) Ideally cute nickname derivative **not a must have

4) Initials don't spell a terrible word with last name that begins with T (like Frances Anne won't work for the little gal)

5) Classic is great, but not insanely popular like Sophia or Emma

6) Not overly complex as last name is 3 syllable somewhat uncommon name ending in a vowel. I think short and sweet or easier is better.

For Boys, I was obsessed with Graham and my husband loved Cole if that gives you an idea of our style. Girls names tossed around (and my issues with them): Anne Camille (adore Annie but Anne seems a little bland to me, also choppy), Clara Jane (I worry about rule #1 and people mispronouncing), Lily Kate (Rule #3, too nicknamey? and really popular).

I like the names Hattie, Milly and Sadie but they don't pass the Supreme Court Justice Test. I like Helena, Camila, Vivienne, Lillian, Eleanor and Elizabeth but worry they are too long/flowery with our long last name.

With that style and my long list of requirements, is there even a name that fits? I've been obsessing over names my whole life and now that I actually have to pick just one perfect name, it's so overwhelming.

Then a follow-up:

I wrote to you back in July and did not want to violate the rules and follow up but my due date is 1/31 and I'm freaking out since you're already on February and now March Birthdays! Since then, my husband and I have settled on a name but as we are getting closer and closer to the due date, I'm having second thoughts and a lot of anxiety about it.

After much debate, we finally settled on Camille (with nickname of Milly) but worry that it's not perfect. Is a name ever perfect? Is there a better name out there? Am I just freaking out because I'm actually naming a tiny human?  Other names we were consider were Anne (too plain?), Clara (too popular?), Catherine (too common?), Helena (too much with our last name?)

Help! I'd love either your validation or a last minute save with the perfect name suggestion! We still have time (for now) to switch but clock is ticking!

I appreciate so much about this letter, beginning with this:

“My favorite book in high school was Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana (cool, I was).”

Oh yes. I know this game. I know who you are, friend. So I’m not surprised you’re freaking yourself out, because name nerds, more than anyone else, know all the options they’re leaving behind.

Which means I’m answering the end of your letter first—of course there’s not one perfect name out there. The only way you’d feel you’d done the ‘right’ thing was to give the kid between five and seven names, which I don’t recommend. (I also think this is why name nerds tend to romanticize multiples a little bit. Intellectually I understand that there are very important things to think about before you give birth to three or more children, but irrationally, I always thought the anxiety of having a bunch would be offset by knowing you were able to give a number of your favourite names a workout. Twin/triplet/beyond parents, come at me; I deserve it.)

I think Camille is a gorgeous name – lovely and graceful and unknown enough for someone to put her own stamp on—and I wonder if you’re wondering if it’s not right because there’s so little frame of reference to it, where by contrast, for example, Clara (which I do not think is popular at all – debated and considered, perhaps, but not popular) conjures up a particular ballet-inflused ‘classical’ image.  

I also think you might get more excitement out of ‘Anna’ than Anne – it’s partly personal preference but I’ve always thought Anna had a little more personality to it, which is insane given that there’s a one-letter difference. Still, you see what I mean, don’t you? Catherine is classic, of course, but it has the distinct disadvantage, more than your other names, of being a ‘Mom’ name—I have friends named Catherine and Kate, and I’m sure you do, too; it would be kind of like a contemporary of ours being named Linda. Empirically a pretty name, but very much of another time. (Second sidebar of the article! If you’re named Linda and you’re 25-45, let me know!)

Other simple-not-boring names include Nina, Lydia, Celia, Lana, Ramona (longer than what you’ve asked about, but still right in the mix), Ellen – which I love, but you might prefer Helen, based on your Helena-flirtation – and Sylvia. Also, for what it’s worth, Lucille reminds me of Camille, and Nadine, which I recommend too often, has a similar style.

But these are mostly, with a couple of exceptions which are truly great, just for you to hold up beside Camille and then decide you like the original better. Don’t feel pressure, though, to add the nickname ‘Milly’ to the mix. It’s great if it happens organically, but you may call her Cam or ‘Mille’ (like French thousand) or just Camille all the time, without it feeling too ‘formal’. 

You showed incredible restraint in not listing a bevy of middle names but they’ll help to satisfy the urge to put all the names on one small person. Remind yourself that you have been training for this your whole life, and you are not throwing away your shot.

Let me know!

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