Duana Names: Yo String, where’s Wallis*?

Duana Posted by Duana at February 6, 2014 17:28:11 February 6, 2014 17:28:11

Hi Duana,

My husband and I are expecting our first child in March and did not find out the sex of the baby. As such we’ve been brainstorming both girl and boy names and really thought we were ready to rock! Unfortunately my friend just has a baby and “stole” our baby girl name! Eloise. So back to the drawing board…

We’d like to keep the name fairly traditional and have been throwing around old family names as options – Imogen and Leola with Francis as a potential middle name. Another that is very tempting is Wallis. I know as a boy name Wallace is pretty solid, but do we like the female version???


I got so distracted by one aspect of this letter I wanted to address it to the exclusion of all else, so…let’s deal with the top of your letter first.

Names that are like Eloise and Imogen (which I will also endorse) and Leola all speak to a bit of a storybook quality. I can see them being girls with adventures, not just at the Plaza hotel. Some that come to mind are Hazel or Elsabet or maybe Iris? Or how about Cordelia? “Call you Cordelia – is that your name?” From there, it’s the tiniest hop to Cecily, and you know it’s an awesome name, and that she’s being seen as a new awesome badass due to Cecily Strong on SNL. 

But all of this is just preamble, because I was thinking of your last question.

I want to like Wallis. I do. What’s not to like? 

But part of the way I feel about it is that it’s actually not physically as appealing as Wallace. Like a-c-e- is nicer than the i-s. I know. Dumb, right? I read a book about a Wallis as a kid, and this was when I was pretty sure I was saddled with the worst name ever, and even then I knew that (fictional) Wallis had it worse, in terms of people not understanding her name.  

I would break yet another of my rules for this name, I think, and figure that since 70% of the people are going to misspell the name as the only version they know, with an “a-c-e”, I might find it in me to just spell it the “boy” way.  

Or maybe not. Because it’s such a good name, and so strong, maybe reviving the feminized spelling is the thing to do. She’d certainly be the only one, so she sure as hell could put her own stamp on it. You know what? I’ve talked myself into it during the course of this article. Wallis! I love it!

The only thing I would do with Wallis is reconsider your middle name choice. You sent me the male spelling of Francis, and while I don’t think the i-or-e matters that much in such a lovely soft name, you might  - and by that I mean you probably do – want something more overtly feminine in the middle.

Go forth and trailblaze!

*spelling obviously altered from original script for creative license. Go with it, OK?

Tags: Name Nerd
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