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Name Sage: He hates my favorite name

July 7, 2015 Abby Sandel

Tilly writes:

We’re expecting a baby girl and my fiancé loves names such as Britney, Sarah, and even Sally!   There is only one name that gets me excited when I think about naming our baby girl: Rory. I love it!

But my fiancé wants nothing to do with it.

I’ve even tried pitching Aurora so we could call her Rory but no luck. Also Rory for a girl’s name receives some backlash since it is originally a boy’s name. I’ve looked up similar names but have yet to find anything I like as much as Rory.

Any suggestions at all will be so helpful!

The Name Sage replies:

It’s a crushing feeling, isn’t it? After a lot of thought, we arrive at the exactly right, most perfect name for our child, only to have our partner dismiss it. Maybe with a shrug, or a mumbled, “I don’t really like it.”

You’re not alone!

The question is what happens next. There are a few possible approaches.

Campaign for RoryIt sounds like your fiancé prefers “normal” names – names that he can think of lots of examples of women with the name, from pop music to Peanuts. He won’t accept a name that he hasn’t heard in use before. Would watching an episode of The Gilmore Girls or hey, maybe a documentary made by filmmaker Rory Kennedy of the famous political family help? Might he be swayed if he knew that over 1,000 girls were named Rory in just the last four years? If your fiancé frets about out-there names like Moonbeam and Quinoa, demonstrating that Rory is mainstream might make your case.

Compromise on a formal name – I think you were right to suggest a different formal name for Rory. He’s not fond of Aurora, but maybe Aurora seems too unusual to him, too? There are plenty of names that could lead to Rory. Guarantee that he’s heard of some of them – and might even like a few! Could you compromise on Gloria, Victoria, Marjorie, Caroline, Ramona, Rosemary, or Rosemarie? On The Gilmore Girls, Rory was short for Lorelai.

Use Rory as a middle – You haven’t mentioned your middle name plans. What would you think of a very traditional first name, with Rory as a middle name? Something like Sarah Rory or Elizabeth Rory would work. It means that you get your favorite name, even if it isn’t used on a daily basis.

Find a substitute for Rory – It’s possible that your fiancé just isn’t into Rory. And while plenty of partners change their minds, and agree to favorites later in pregnancy, or heck, in the delivery room, we should brainstorm alternatives. Some substitutes are so close to Rory that they mean you’ll never get to use your favorite name. Names that might make great substitutes include Romy, a traditional German nickname for Rosemary made famous by midcentury actress Romy Schneider; Remy, which is French and masculine, but sounds a lot like Emmy; popular gemstone name Ruby; or maybe Tori, which is very Spelling but still quite wearable. There’s also Nora or Cora, both of which are stylish but more demure than energetic Rory.

Choose a sister name for Rory – Let’s say your fiancé won’t budge on Rory now. But you’re imaging that you’ll eventually have two or three children, and would prefer to wait and try to talk him into Rory in the future. In that case, you might want to find a name that he’ll like and that preserves the possibility of using Rory in a few years. The first name that comes to mind is Sadie. Originally, both Sadie and Sally evolved as pet forms of Sarah. If he’s a fan of Sarah and Sally, there’s a good chance he might like Sadie, too. Other possibilities include Sosie, Ivy, Marley, Charlie, and Zelie.

I wish I had a magic spell to convince your fiancé that Rory is a great name for your daughter! But since that’s not an option, I’d first try to find a compromise formal name. (Caroline? Victoria? They’re both conventional names that he’ll doubtless recognize.) And if that’s not an option, I think I’d move on to sister names for Rory, like Charlie or Sadie.

Readers, assuming Rory isn’t a possibility for their baby girl, what would you suggest as an alternative?

About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.

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