Hi Duana-

I am writing for a friend because I so wish I had written to you before naming my twin boys 5 years ago! I ended up naming them Tate and Declan - I know you love Tate and I still rarely hear it - and I am super frustrated at how popular Declan is becoming! I have actually considered changing his name but I think it is too late.

Anyway, on to my friends who are expecting a baby girl in March. They have a beautiful 4 year old named Daphne and are looking for something to go with it. The father is from Russia and the mother has German relatives, so something that works for both sides would be great. The mom likes flower names but the dad leans more traditional. (I suggested Piper or Poppy and both were immediately rejected.) The last name is very Russian, starting with an S and ending with and "in". I think they need something traditional but not too old fashioned but we are having trouble hitting on the right name (and I do realize that I have inserted myself into their naming process but they really don't mind!).

Any suggestions would be appreciated- thank you!


OK but the good news is that Declan (which I do also love) is becoming popular after you chose it, so you’re still a bit of a trailblazer. You’re the one who saw Declan coming, right? Plus I bet he loves his name, and Tate and Declan are a great pair that aren’t matchy… don’t give it another thought. 

Onward! I also love Daphne, so you know that you’re getting some of my best affection here – but I have to admit that while I’ve idly thought about a sibling for Daphne, I’ve never come up with something that feels quite as satisfying, name-wise. 

That ends today. 

I think what I love most about Daphne is the unexpectedness of it. The ph-that-gives-you-F, the ‘e’ ending… and I think that’s what makes some people shy away from it. After all, how long did it take people to come around to ‘Penelope’? Plus Daphne packs a lot of punch in only 6 letters…

I think the key here is something that you know, but don’t run into much. Lydia comes to mind. More unexpected sounds. Or something like Lara, which is as short and stylish as Daphne is in even fewer letters. If the ending-in-a thing doesn’t work for them, what about something like Olive? Or of course, the oft-cited, rarely used Juno, which is pretty unimpeachable and works well with Daphne? 

That might have done it, I might have just made myself so happy I can stop. But I know, I know, there are going to be some of you who will say “Daphne is a name but Juno is a quirky movie! Come on!” so in the interests of satisfying you people, I would continue to something like Yara or even the decorative but straight-awesome
Yesenia – I love it so much I put it in a script a few months ago, and you know what? Nobody blinked. 

Often, of course, the inclination is to go with another Greek name, and though my choice would be Phoebe, it’s slightly less than phonetic, which could pose a problem. Daphne and Sybil? Daphne and Sasha? Daphne and Geneva, geographic anomalies notwithstanding? 

I feel good, but how do your friends feel? Let me know how they chose to improve on perfection… and a hearty high-five to you all.