Hi Duana!

Ever since I was little I've loved to think about names, but now that I'm due to give birth to my first child, a boy, this May....I'm stuck. It's a lot of pressure! My husband and I have been going back and forth with names. The last name is quite long (four syllables) and Italian, although it's spelled the Brazilian way, and ends in 'elli'. We both have VERY common first names. I was always one of many in grade school and usually needed to add my middle or last initial after my name, which got annoying after so many years. I think I could go with something a bit more obscure, but my husband tends to like more traditional names. On the flip side, I'd love to incorporate family names or something meaningful, while he's not bothered to choose something totally new, I think mostly because we don't LOVE the boy names in our families (lots of Christopher's and Robert's). My husband is even the II and has zero interest in making our son the III. So far, I like the names Reid (from my side of the family) and Theo, while he likes Henry, Ulysses, Rocco, Luca, and Max. The only name we both like is Otto, but his initials would be O.J.....




P.S. I'm always curious as to real names...not sure if you edit them out of if people exclude them?

My name = Sarah Nicole
Husband's name = Christopher Gavin (cousins took that one!)


So, last question first—yes, people usually edit out their names, or ask me not to include them. Even in this case I took out the surnames just in case of…I don’t know what, someone googling and discovering that you once asked about names?

I rarely have a letter like yours, though, where I seem to agree with you equally! You say that you like obscure names and he likes traditional ones, and I’m all ‘yeah, Sarah!’ but then you say he likes names like Ulysses and Rocco, and I’m all SWOON! So the good news is, I think there’s going to be good news here.

First of all, I LOVE Otto as you may know, and there is no, no, no problem with him being named O.J. I know, you’re all “But there was just the series…!” But you know what? Lots of people, I realize, didn’t know then and don’t know now. Also, your son’s name would not be O.J., and second, to get into what I think is a linguistics lesson, we don’t say an initial-name the same way we say first and last initials. You follow me? Like, my initials are DT, and we say them both with equal emphasis. D T. But if my first name were DJ, we put the emphasis on the first syllable, as if to distinguish me from CJ and RJ and etc. You know what I mean? Even if the kid’s initials are O.J. and he’s somewhere where people are going to refer to people only by their initials, they’re going to say it differently than they would if they were saying a first name. “DT, get over here!” You know what I mean?

But let’s get back to Ulysses because I am hoping so hard…I knew a Ulysses in junior high school and I didn’t give enough credence to how rare it was. It seems to me like you think the name should be short, and while I don’t have a problem with it, like Reid ***elli, or Tate, or Zane, I don’t think it’s a dealbreaker if it’s longer. Romeo ***elli. Amos ***elli.

In fact, what I actually see more of here is a culture clash. It seems like the names he’s choosing (well, most, anyway) are more traditionally of Italian extraction or usage, and you want ones that aren’t. I can see both sides of it, but that’s why you’re drawn to names like Otto – they cover both bases, a little unusual and a little traditional all at the same time. It’s why I wanted to suggest Romeo, first and foremost. There’s also Enzo or Kian, Ozias (OMG please choose Ozias) or Thad. If those feel too out there, how about Wallace or Nigel or Ewan or something cool-again, like Raymond. You know the coolest guy going in five years time is going to be Ray…

But take another look at Otto, or even at Rocco or Cosmo or something like Levi or Judah? The styles are a lot closer to the ones you’re already into, and might feel less like they’re coming out of nowhere? Let me know!