Hi Duana!

We are due with baby girl number 2 in March and I'm stuck on loving-but-questioning the name Tory. I can't remember where this name came to me from but I already find myself calling her "Baby Tory" in my head, for some reason it just sounds natural to me. So, I love Tory but I'm a bit prone to overthinking and I find myself wondering ... is it enough?

Our first daughter's name is Elle. I'm not too concerned about the whole "do the names go together" thing, whatever. They are two individual people who won't often be referred to in the same sentence past their teenage years, I would assume.

What I like about Tory: it starts strong but finishes soft. My husband and I are both partial to shorter first names. It's known but not common (btw I am very specific about Tory with a 'y' not 'i'). Also please don't suggest I make her formal name Victoria and nickname her Tory because I do not care for the name Victoria nor do I really care for nicknames!

Other names that were in the running for our first daughter were Audrey and Avery, but we nixed both because of their current popularity. I also like Alexis this time around but husband is lukewarm.

I guess what my hesitation with Tory really boils down to is: is it enough? Would love to hear your thoughts!!



So maybe it’s time to explain a little bit about how I write this column: 

Usually, I open the file where I have all the unanswered letters, then search by month - because of course everyone’s including their due dates, right? Then, within the letters that are at or approaching due dates, I try to find a question that:

- Is fundamentally interesting, and different enough from other questions recently     asked.

- Is of a different gender, style, or subcategory than letters I’ve answered recently. For  example, I will attempt to space out letters that ask for names pronounceable in a  number of languages, because I don’t want to repeat myself before I’ve had a chance to get some perspective. 

- Appeals to me in the moment – I have definitely gone back and forth between questions and then chosen one or the other because I knew I could do a good job with it. 

Then, I figure out whether and how I can slide a surreptitious Hamilton reference into the piece that might annoy Jacek if he knew it was there – and then just before writing, for record-keeping, I forward the letter to our site manager, Emily. 

As soon as I did that today, I knew I had the answer to your question. 

You’re right that the immediate association with Tory is Victoria, and it’s also worth noting that it’s usually spelled with an ‘I’ at the end. These are tiny details, but I think they’re worth noting. 

Because when I considered your question – whether Tory was ‘enough’ – I was going through above-described motions and then suddenly thought the name wasn’t much different from ‘Emily’, either in length or style. Lots of consonants but also lots of vowels – which in a short name packs a lot of punch. I think Tory (or Tori) maybe gets overlooked because it’s so often seen as the fun, ‘punchy’ nickname for Victoria and doesn’t stand alone, but it’s kind of a false premise, because how many people do you know named Tony, or Toni, for whom it is a completely full name? Tons, right? 

Plus there’s the fact that the name is intrinsically attractive. As you say, it starts strong, and I appreciate the y-rather-than-i ending, like you do (though I’ll admit my ending-in-i bias isn’t exactly based in anything real – after all, I swoon for the name Eleni). But it’s also … I don’t know, concrete. It can stand on its own two feet, just to mangle some metaphors. Cory is a name, Cary is a name so there’s no reason Tory shouldn’t be, and I feel a little befuddled that ‘we’, as a name conglomerate, haven’t given it its due before now. 

I do think Tory is ‘enough’, and a charming choice I wouldn’t have thought of before now. But I do want to point out a couple of caveats – one is that, unlike Elle, which could be misunderstood as ‘Ella’ but probably won’t be, people will always assume that Tory is Victoria, and they will further assume it’s spelled with an i. This is an annoyance you will just have to deal with and build up calluses for, but I want you to be aware of it. Then, as I was questioning myself about whether this would always be the case, and picturing you or Tory correcting someone, “no, it’s Tory, like 
T-o-r-y”, I realized someone somewhere is going to smile, compliment you on the original and charming name, and write down “S-t-o-r-y”. 

Not a dealbreaker by any means, but something you should keep in mind. Like people whose given names are Jenny-not-Jennifer or Geoff, yes, spelled that way,  the early days of her life and of the time when she’s first introducing herself are going to be a version of this letter – gently assuring people that yes, it’s a name and yes, it’s valid. 

But it’s going to be worth it, because it’s more than just valid – it’s a legitimately great choice that will charm anyone who has sense and style, and I love that your letter pointed that out to me and to everyone else. 

I already know her name is Tory – at least, I bet it will be – but let us know what you choose, and how other people respond!