Hey Duana!

I hope this is the shortest, most succinct email you receive all day (I’d have said week, but let’s not get carried away).

My husband and I are expecting our second, sex unknown (but to be determined). Our first is Mary. If second is a girl, do you like the name Roux? How’s that for a crazy open question?

Is it weird to spell it after the gravy base? And is it going to become super trendy thanks to Euphoria? The show? We wanted to name Mary Roux but then my nana died and we just had to use her name. Now I’m all confused because of the show!!

Help! Omg! THANK YOU!

PS: We also have a double last name with way too many f’s so want something short and snappy right out of the gate. Ok bye!




The title of this email was ‘A Simple Yes or No’.  

The thing is, I don’t usually answer those questions in this column, because a ‘simple yes or no’ by definition doesn’t have much in it to discuss, right?

This, however, isn’t that question at all – there’s SO much here. First, can I commend you for being flexible on names in a number of ways? You went a different way than you expected with your first daughter’s name, and now you’re open to discussion about your first choice for #2 without a million qualifiers and explanations. You know how rare that is? 

So, here’s my answer to your crazy open question – I love the sound of the name you’re proposing, and I’ll get back to that in a minute, but I can’t write about it until I address your question about spelling. 

Why ‘Roux’? I mean, I should say I didn’t learn that word until Miss Tina taught it to me in this book, which should still be on bestseller lists everywhere, but I’m gonna assume my ignorance of ‘roux’ as a gravy base is unique to me alone.

My first instinct is that you’ll run into unnecessary pronunciation problems. “Rowks?” “Rucks?” I mean, this shouldn’t be the case because people know how to pronounce names like Justin Theroux (who actually pronounces it Thur-oh), but as we know, people tend to get panicky when they read something they don’t immediately understand. 

I never advocate for making a name easier, as you know, but I’m curious about why that spelling appeals to you, since the name of the character on Euphoria and in The Hunger Games for that matter, is spelled ‘Rue’. 

So while we’re discussing those shows (and throwing in actresses Sara Rue and Rue McClanahan for good measure) I think it’s a beautiful name for your daughter. I’ll be honest, if someone said ‘what do you pair with Mary?’, I don’t know if I would have come up with it but I’m so glad you did, because I love what it does for both names – the influence-vortex shakes up Mary’s image and instantly familiarizes Rue. I love it… but your spelling debate gives me pause. 

I’ve said before that I don’t put a lot of stock into name ‘meanings’ – that is, I think the cultural meaning of ‘Claudia’, i.e. ‘Cool-ass girl you loved since being introduced to her, either on Party Of Five or in The Baby-Sitters Club’ is far more important, and much closer to the top of most peoples’ associations with it, than the root of the Latin word it’s drawn from, which means ‘lame’.  

But I know a lot of people debating names don’t agree with me, and feel like a meaning that can be so easily referenced is a problem or a deterrent from choosing the name. So I’m guessing that’s possibly why you aren’t automatically going with ‘Rue’ – maybe the association with the meaning of regret/sorrow doesn’t feel great for you? 

My counterarguments there would be that, first of all, rue’ isn’t used that much in casual speech, and I think there’s a large number of people who wouldn’t make the association, or don’t know the meaning of the word when it’s not a name. Secondly, if you are concerned with meanings, is ‘gravy base made of flour-and-fat’ really an association you prefer? 

I actually think the show (and movie) in question are going to work in your favour, not against it. Euphoria is popular, but probably most well-known with a younger demo than those who are currently naming children, and the name is juuust outside of current girl-name trends which still trend toward the feminine-ending-in-a. So I don’t think you need to worry about it becoming uber-trendy right now (though I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that you may become an influencer and meet babies with the same name when your kids are circa 10 years old), but I do think that people who are familiar with the name are going to be familiar with it in its ‘name’ form, the ‘Rue’ spelling, in a way that might be beneficial… whereas ‘Roux’ seems, to me at least, to be a lot of contorting yourself, and the name, for an unclear benefit. 

But as a sound? As a name? You get my hearty endorsement, and a clear, unequivocal ‘yes’. 

Now’s the part where I write ‘let us know!’ Which I definitely want you to! But to that end… 

I’ve gotten a LOT of messages lately wondering why I don’t let people know what people ultimately chose. That’s so exciting, because it means there are new people reading, who may not have seen some of the Name Update roundups I frequently run. 

For the uninitiated, I run the updates a few times a year, or roughly once per calendar ‘season’ – it’s hard to be more precise because I wait for a few to roll in to make a substantial update column, and, you know, new parents have a lot going on and sending a update to an online column tends to slip down on the priority list, lol. But I publish every one I receive, and you can search ‘Duana Names Updates’ in the search box above for some you may have missed. 

To get you started, a few of the most recent update roundups are here, here, and here

Can’t thank you all enough for reading and writing in, your interest and enthusiasm for this column never ceases to amaze me, and I love writing it, so it’s win over win!