Dear Duana,

I’ve read your column enough times to know that you aren’t very impressed with matching names or alliterative names and well, we’ve done both.  I have two boys, Maddox and Maxwell and I am pregnant with my third baby.  The boys last name starts with “M” and to top it all off my husband and I both have “M” names… I don’t know how we got to this point but we are here now and I feel like we have to give this baby another “M” name or he/she will feel left out.  I know you are likely rolling your eyes in disapproval right now but I am hoping that your fondness for a good challenge will persuade you to help us anyways. In addition to a name starting with “M”, we have a few additional requirements: my first language is French so we need a name that will flow easily in a French conversation, it cannot be a common name and it needs a good nickname (Maddox and Maxwell almost always go by “Maddy” and “Welly”). Any suggestions???  Please!!


Okay, the title of this column is a reference to the fact that the title of this email was “Duana Won’t Be Happy But We Need Help!” I went through all kinds of ‘when Mama’s not happy’ kind of titles, but I feel like calling yourself Mama is kind of awkward. So…

You know I can’t just roll over and pretend it’s super-keen that you’re going with matchy names, and I KNOW you know, but here’s a thought. How about names that SOUND like M? My big pitch? Emmett or Emmeline. Both names are probably going to wind up nicknamed “Emme”, so you kind of have it made.

What, that doesn’t stick to the letter of the law for you? My fondness for a good challenge does indeed win out. Okay, how about the glorious Marcel? The French is a fait accompli, you can call him Celly or Sal and it is equally as uncommon as your previous two. Or Marius? Maybe I’m just over here looking for an excuse to start singing “Do You Hear The People Sing” but I love it, and it’s nice with the ones you have.

What about if she’s a girl, though? The ‘m’ names are a lot more well-trodden but I’m not going to fall back on Madeleine (or even Margot, all you snarkers).  However, Magdalena is somehow a brilliant take on the same name, so you can call my bluff there. Meredith is ever beautiful and underused and it grows-up your little girl quickly, so that’s a benefit if you want it to be. Mallory?  Marcella? Somewhere, Dean is crossing his fingers hoping I’ll say Manon, so ….Manon?

Back to your boy: Marlon? Malcolm? (Please, someone write to me soon and say you’re using Malcolm! I need to believe we’ve broken the Flowers-In-The-Attic curse.) MALACHY? Magnus?

I await your response. But if you change your mind at the last second you could always go with a name that contains ‘x’ and match them that way.  Right?