Duana Names: I Want To Know Right Now What Will It Be?

Duana Posted by Duana at December 9, 2016 21:38:09 December 9, 2016 21:38:09

Hey Duana,

My husband and I are expecting a girl on January 1st and are still undecided on her name. We have a son, Alexander, who mostly goes by Alex, but is also called Sasha by myself and my husband (we both speak Russian). I love me some odd names, but my husband is much more traditional. For instance, I really wanted to name our son Ennis or Watson, but both were deemed "too weird," and Alexander was one of few names upon which we could agree. I should also mention that we have a SUPER GERMAN last name. Harsh German. Two syllables, beginning with K.

So, baby girl. The few names we agree on so far are Josephine (to be called Joey), Caroline, and Greta. We're leaning towards Josephine, but I'm wondering if it's too reminiscent of Dawson's Creek. Certainly enough time has gone by, right? Greta is a favorite of mine but is it too harsh with a strong German last name?

That's what we've got, but I'd welcome additional suggestions. Or even just feedback.



Sometimes we don’t know exactly why we love a name – we just know that it’s right—and I think that’s what happened with your first child’s name.  I mean, I love that you’re leaning into a strong first name to counter your strong surname but I also even wonder if the relative lyrical flow of four-syllable ‘Alexander’ was what swayed you that way to balance out your SUPER GERMAN surname in the first place.  Ennis and Watson, both of which I really like, by the way, might seem a little too short when paired with the heft and power of that last name (which, btw, the letter writer didn’t include – so I’m having fun imagining it’s something like “He-Man” that begins with ‘K’).

So look. Of all the associations with all the names that people worry about and write in with, let me tell you that this is the first time I have ever heard this. I know what you mean, of course, but half the people who meet your daughter wouldn’t even be able to remember what first made Katie Holmes famous, and the ones who do will remember her as “Joey” Potter, not Josephine. If, and only if, you nickname her Joey, I can see one or two people who will comment to this effect, but it’s certainly not a negative association – and besides, I’m pretty sure you won’t anyway, because it’s my opinion that if you’re calling your son Sasha (love!) you’re going to go a different way for your nickname for your daughter. Fina?

So I wholeheartedly endorse Josephine, and I think that Caroline has similar four-syllable qualities, but somehow feels like it has less punch in this scenario. I would go into another, similar name if you want – Katarina or Katarzyna, or even Carolina—but it begins to stray from your original intent, I think. As for Greta, this is tough – it is one of my very favourite names, but only you can tell me if it’s too sharp with your surname. The good news, if you agreed with my earlier assessment about Ennis and Watson, is that the ‘a’ on the end of Greta will allow the name to ‘go’ a little further, and might feel less harshly cut off.

But if at the end of this conversation you still don’t feel like you’ve landed it, maybe consider something with one strong consonant (like the ‘x’ in Alexander) and a number of softer ones. Veronica? Tatiana. Amabel? Despina? Sometimes, when I’m feeling charitable, I understand that this is why people love names like Michaela – there’s an undeniable rhythm and kick there. So maybe Octavia? Cordelia? Claudia or Jessamine? Larissa?

But honestly, if you acknowledge that there are other people who are currently charmed by Josephine, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t use it – least of all a tremulous, Minnie-Mouse-on-helium performance of On My Own circa 1998.

Let us know what you choose!

Here’s Katie Holmes on The Chew this week.

Paula Lobo/ Getty Images

Previous Article Next Article