Hi Duana,

We are expecting our third daughter in December and we are not even close to having a name picked out, we can't agree on anything. Our first daughter is Olive (I know how you feel about that name) and our second is Winifred, whom we mostly call Winnie or Win. Their names came easily to us but this time around the names I love, my husband does not. These include, in order of love: Ramona, Eve, Alice (though I do have reservations about it being far too common). All were nixed. My husband likes June, Sally, Phoebe, and Jane. June is the only one I'm considering. My problem with June is this, sometimes I can totally see it and be charmed by it while other times I feel like there are so many great girl names (though they completely elude me at present) how does June make the cut? I like that it mixes nicely with Olive and Winnie and has cute nicknames, and a shout out to June Callwood is never a bad thing in my book, but I just have this nagging feeling that there must be something better. What am I missing here? Is June the clear winner but I'm just too sore from not being able to use my beloved Ramona to see it? Or am I right that there is just a better name out there for her? I'm hoping you have some names up your sleeve I can bring to the table. These names are off the table for various reasons: Francis, Claire, Alexandra (this will likely be her middle name), Alma, Sylvia, Wren, Seraphina, Stella, Harriet, Hazel, Veda, and Josephine.

Also, if it is any help, if we were having a boy we'd have named him Liev Alexander.

I hope I hear back from you!



I mean, I’m with you. I love Ramona so much, and I think it’s so good that even the Ramonas know it. My sample size are a girl I met once when I was nine, a grown woman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s daughter, but I think they’re all pretty happy about the name. Is there a concrete reason why it was nixed, as far as you know? Is it impenetrable?

If the answer is for-sure yes, then I’ll turn my attention to June. Yes, it has the same sort of quirky quality as Olive and Winnie, and it has that same feeling of being both in the now and in the past, as the other two do. So what’s the problem? 

I suspect that for you, it feels too short or too cutesy. I have that reaction a liiiittle bit, and I can see Olive and Winnie both seeming more ‘finished’. At only one syllable, there’s not as much you can ‘do’ with June. But while I also feel like Sally is a little casual, I have none of these reservations for Jane (or Phoebe, but I don’t think she fits in here style-wise and you don’t like her, so). I will say that I think both Jane and June are probably on a popularity upswing, so the name(s) can and will feel like a stylish choice. 

But you asked if there was a better name for her (and I like Eve and Alice both, BTW). The curse of this is that there’s always a better name, even if you love the one you gave. But for a few offbeat-yet-upstanding suggestions, I wonder about Matilda, Susanna, Casey (I know! I surprise myself sometimes), Dana, Cecile, or Drusilla. I have to admit that for me – FOR ME, letter writers – Cora, rising in popularity, has already become overripe and overfamiliar. But I can see that it would be a nice strong choice here and kind of fit your patterns. Veronica? Ellen?

If you can’t use Ramona, how about Rowena or Renata? Ramona Quimby’s baby sister was Roberta, which felt a little too close to Ramona, actually, but her middle name is Geraldine if that’s sparking anything new for you. Or – and I am not saying this to be cutesy, but because it might be legitimately awesome – how about Beverly?

Finally, ignoring totally that you said your third daughter’s middle name will probably be Alexandra, I wanted to suggest Anastasia. I know you won’t put those both together, but the name seemed in line with some of the ones you like, and I’m sure you could always find a middle name for Ana/Sia/Stasia/whatever nickname you like. You know, like June.

Hit me back!