Duana names: Crowdsourcing the second position

Duana Posted by Duana at September 4, 2015 18:34:54 September 4, 2015 18:34:54

Dear Duana,

I’m writing in on behalf of my coworker, who is due at the end of September. Quickly after finding out she was having a girl, she and her husband decided on the first name Lucy, since her Grandfather used to call her “Little Lulu” as a child.

But they’re stuck on a middle name. They considered both Anne and Marie, but ultimately think both are too plain. Their last name is long, Italian and ends in a “e” sound (Maggiani), so she’s worried about doing anything that ends in an “e” sound – since it would be LucY MariE MaggianI. They were considering Sophia for a while, before figuring out it was one of the most popular names last year.

They would like to incorporate a family name, but they’re not in love with any of their Grandmas’ names – Lavina, Mildred and Muriel (there’s also a Grandma Mary Joan, but that’s out, since they didn’t have a great relationship with her.)

Please help! Our entire office has been throwing out names for several weeks, but we haven’t come up with anything that sticks!


All right, you’re being super sweet to your coworker and your office is obviously a nice place, so that’s good, because you have to deliver your coworker some bad news.

They are doing this wrong.

How can you do a middle name wrong? What the hell does that even mean? Who is this woman who thinks she knows things? Here’s what I mean by that—they seem to be looking for just a link from first to last name, instead of a name they truly love.   I know this sentiment can get cloudy if you want to honour a parent and their names ARE Anne or Marie, but far too often they’re just inoffensive links that don’t mean anything.

You and your coworker can do better. A middle name isn’t the same as a first name, and I’m not going to try to pretend it is.

Lucy Lavinia (or Lavina) is amazing to me, and it solves the problem of ending in a ‘y’ sound. I don’t dislike Muriel either. Lucy Muriel kind of has some weight to it, so that it’s not such a uniformly young name. The other thing I like about it is that it ends in a consonant – something that I think would really benefit this name. Lucy Adele Maggiani. Lucy Nadine Maggiani. Lucy Celeste or Lucy Winifred or Lucy Jeannette, even. Lucy Violet or Lucy Clemence or Lucy Felice.

The other option, of course, is to go with Lucille or Lucinda as a first name – still calling her Lucy, but allowing for more fluidity on the formal-name birth-certificate angle, which is really what we’re looking for here. Lucille Elise, or Lucille Veronica, or Lucinda Jane, or Lucinda Denise. Yes, I think Denise is coming back…there’s enough mentionitis of it all over that it’s going to seem straight-up innovative in 5-7 years (Lainey: you mean Denise from Marketing? NO!) or Lucinda Blythe or Lucille Amelia.

But I strongly suggest they choose something they like, either because it conjures great memories of a grandmother or a great character in a book or a friend they shared in university where they met or anything other than Anne or Marie just because…because it’s like any gift, you know? If you’re going to the trouble of giving it, shouldn’t it be something that both the giver and the receiver can feel good about? Middle names aren’t just the bottles of wine we pass around to each other at Christmas. They’re individual and identifiable. They can do this!

And you’re a great friend for asking. Let me know what they choose!

Note: Please send your name emails, once only, to [email protected] - duplicates or those sent to Lainey ‘just in case’ will be deleted.

Tags: Name Nerd
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