Duana Names: Strife, Drama, and definitely not Otto

October 5, 2015 19:27:22 Posted at October 5, 2015 19:27:22
Duana Posted by Duana

Hi Duana,

We are expecting our second child in early October and we are not finding out the sex. We have a daughter named Alice (thankfully the royals side-stepped it!). We know it’s not really unique, but it’s not widely used where we live…(yet).

Coming up with a name my husband and I agree on for our second child is straight up annoying as shat. Some names we have thrown around are; Oliver, Arthur (my husband doesn’t love the idea of having two A’s), Frederick, Phoebe, Fiona, Juliet (my husband thinks it’s too close to our best friend named Julie).

We need some fresh ideas that aren’t too out there and would fit with Alice. Our last name is one syllable and sounds like a first name, so no one-syllable first names please. We are also wary of surname first names because of the confusion it might cause. We have no ties to origins although we are both English/German descent. However, when I suggested Francesca my husband said it was too Italian, so I guess it matters to him? He is the worst. Also, don’t suggest Otto because I love it but my husband works with an Otto and refuses. I’m still mad about it.

Please help. I can’t even start thinking of middles until we have some solid first name ideas! I was excited about coming up with a name, and now, every time my husband denies another awesome name suggestion I try not to choke him out to remedy the situation.


I think in order to keep everyone in your family relatively safe and named, I want to make a suggestion: let the name come to you.

Now, before I elaborate on my very ‘Field of Dreams’ instructions here, I will qualify with one point. The thing to remember is that Alice is a classic precisely because it goes with many names, so try not to get weird about what might not fit or what would be too ‘out there’. Trust that it will fit.

But back to my first point – if you are the one constantly offering names that are being rejected, and your partner is the one constantly saying ‘no’, stop offering. Stop putting the onus on yourself to be the one to find the perfect name – instead, ask him to be the one.

Of the names you’ve discussed, I don’t dislike any. Oliver is very popular, if that thwarts you at all. I love Arthur, and it’s worth noting that, of the two under 5 that I know of, one has a sibling whose name also begins with A. Maybe Arthur lends itself to alliteration? Phoebe and Fiona are both gorgeous, and either goes with Alice, though Fiona is about as far as I would go down the ‘frilly and decorated’ path, I think. I don’t agree with your husband in the sense of Juliet being like Julie, but while on the one hand I really like the literary aspects of having an Alice and a Juliet, on the other hand I do think that in large part the J-u-l names belong to women a little older than your would-be daughter.

Now. Frederick. Frederick I LOVE. I’m sad about its inclusion here because it means that maybe it didn’t land with you guys as the perfect name. But it is perfect, make no mistake. I think Alice and Freddie are about the sweetest combination going.

But, in the event that I can’t convince you, here are some names you can consider agreeing to when your husband brings them to your attention:

Louisa. Sadly Louis is a little matchy with Alice (though Louie isn’t at all), but Louisa, which carries its own literary allusions, would be a beautiful pairing with Alice. Or what about Lydia? Or Eva or Clara or Petra or Mona or Cecile?

If you have a y chromosome, you have even more freedom. Even though I’ve said Alice goes with anything, and it’s true, I do think there are certain letters that you might be more inclined to try than someone else. Can there be a classic initial?

If so, how about Gilbert? Or Frankie, or Jeremy, or Louie if you’d like to go without the hard-‘s’ pronunciation. I’d recommend Hugh but for your single-syllable admonishment, and Hugo isn’t the same at all. But Eugene? Come on, Alice and Eugene! Or what about Hector? No? Feel me going too close to the edge? Bertram? Stop while I’m ahead?

Okay fine. One more boys’ name – Laurence. Booyah.  

But remember. You just sit there and shrug, all ‘I guess we won’t have a baby name then’. When all is lost, you can slip this email over, and wait for one to meet with your approval, and then hit me back and tell me what happened.

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