20 Girl Names I Adored Which He Already Vetoed: An Homage
Updated: May 1, 2020
I must preface this by saying that these names are mostly drawn by women I have been inspired by at different times in my life, but also that they have been vetoed off of my future baby name lists as my partner very much said NO to these with reasons only he supports. So, my top 6-7 names for my future are not on this list and close to my heart until I can use some of them! But here are some I seriously considered before this top 6-7. If you are currently pregnant and these names give you any ideas, I am so, so happy for you! Oh and slightly jealous!
When it comes to our daughter, Ella Adeline, her first name was chosen by René. He came home one day and said ‘what about Ella?’ and he had the cutest smile on his face when he said the name out loud. He had vetoed so many of my ideas at that point (100% cried over it in front of him far too many times) and so I accepted right away. It was elegant, feminine and international. Also, later that week, I found an old list I had printed out at my very first job at a law firm (clearly I was very focused on patent law) which was a list of popular Danish names in 2015- and I had highlighted Ella. It’s a tad creepy considering I had not been with René for a very long time at that point but hey when you know you know. This Copenhagen native gave me the love of my life, our little Ella.
Adeline we actually agreed upon together, while we were in Québec city for dinner (I was somewhat miserable as I was sipping on apple must and watching everyone around me enjoy their Champagne, but happy because I was shooting pictures for the Fairmont Château Frontenac as part of an Instagram collaboration- this app changed our lives and filled them with countless free weekend getaways, spa days and tons of baby gear). We were reading baby name lists out loud at the restaurant and seeing what would stick. We found Adeline to be so delicate and lovely sounding and, my father being French, what better than a name from French nobility?
I also have this weird obsession with middle names starting with the last letter of the first name. I mean the flow you get!? A MELODY. Okay here are some of my darling name ideas. Welcome to the graveyard of my loving names that never were. That was a tad dramatic. But they really are not happening. Or are they? Dum dum dum.
First. If you are a detective’s novel reader you most definitely know of Stieg Larsson. He was a Swedish journalist and writer mostly known for his Millennium novels (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its siblings). Well, while I was looking into his books and similar styles, I came across Swedish novelist Camilla Läckberg . And well, I fell in love (The Sea Takes, The Hidden Child). Every time I heard myself recommending her books to someone, I would think to myself ‘what a charming name’. Also, its nickname can be Mila, which I find adorable. But he said no, part I.
Second. I always thought Violette was a lovely name, but what sealed the deal for me was when Annia, my favourite kid in the Ukrainian system (you're not supposed to have a favourite bla bla, I taught arts and crafts to her class in an institution for orphans and children in foster homes back in Ukraine and it was love at first sight). So yes, when Annia, 7, came running to me one day with her adorable blond braids flowing in the wind, to tell me which colour she learned that day- I knew. It was a school for children with mental disabilities and she had been placed there alone, whereas her siblings were together in another school (it was very unfair for her but don't get me started on unfair with these poorly funded, crumbling institutions for children who did nothing wrong- I will write 98 pages about it one day). ANYWAYS can you guess which colour she told me, with the most beautiful, beaming smile on her perfect face? Фіолетовий . Which is purple and sounds a lot like Violette. It's a long story for a small detail, but she was so proud to tell me it was now her favourite colour and I still think of her daily. I hope that one day Ella can meet her.
Third. This one is fairly simple: I am Ukrainian (no way, really?!) and love Ukrainian names so much! I find them so feminine and (I swear to God if I say adorable one more time) timeless. It does bother me a bit that Polly Pockets and the movie Pollyanna came to mind when I read it over (honestly this is just me convincing myself of reasons why I don’t utterly love it because I know René doesn’t). I also met a woman named Polina in Poland and she was just wonderful- the most contagious laugh and bright, uplifting attitude, you just can’t forget those people. In the meantime, I think I’ll name all of Ella’s dolls that way and hope it sticks. He vetoed, part III.
Fourth. That one makes be quite bitter as I thought it was our main name for about two years (HA!). We basically watched this Norwegian movie together in which a beautiful nurse named Liva saves a soldier from being arrested (she tells him to punch her in the face before escaping his recovery room by jumping out the window and she yells ‘ slå mig!’ which I now know is Swedish for ‘hit me!’ because she doesn’t want to look suspicious. He kisses her passionately, then hits her. Atrocious scene, yet well done and hilarious). NOW. Once I saw this I thought, this is such a lovely name! René agreed, I said ‘if we ever have a daughter she will be Liva’ so when I was halfway through my pregnancy and I said ‘can’t wait to know the sex, imagine if it’s a little Liva!’ he laughed and basically said he was joking and never considered that name seriously. So, there goes my dream name. He vetoed, part IV.
Fifth. I first saw the name Birna on the Icelandic news. A tangent- Iceland is a country I have travelled to far too many times to count and that will always be my favourite feeling to come back to. I cannot describe how it feels to be there- even if I could live there, I wouldn't. I would live close to it (ahem, Scandinavia) and travel there for weekend trips. Because it is such a beautiful place that you need to enjoy it every single time as if it were a new discovery. And it technically is. It is the only country in the world that keeps growing yearly (volcanic hills, which also brought you the blue lagoon so be somewhat thankful and terrified). But the reasons I love this name know a grim origin. A young woman who was my age at the time named Birna Brjansdottir was abducted right by my hotel in Reykjavik and later murdered by young men in the Greenland navy . A very quiet and safe town, with iceberg and ocean views left and right (I saw killer whales I cannot explain how majestic that was- I diverge!). She was a stunning redheaded woman who fell victim to Greenland navy losers- but people should never only be remembered by the way their lives ended, especially when it was taken in such a brutal manner. I think the name is beautiful, unique and reminds me of a flower blossoming and I would have loved to name a baby after her- again, maybe I can use 3-6 middle names!? I cannot say René vetoed it as I never even mentioned it, I just wear it close to my heart on some days and I love the possibility of it. I know it's an odd thought, but I felt close to her that day.
Sixth. I remember walking around Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam and reading each quote on every wall, which I had read many times before in her journal,and thinking how wonderful of a presence she must've been. Not only because of her courage during the war and her prose describing her days in the Secret Annex, but also because of her obsession with quotes and re-writing the ones she liked (which I still do to this day). I felt so connected to her when I discovered her notebook of quotes- the way she always mentioned the author and used the right punctuation as if it were school work. She took her pleasures seriously. I have done this my entire life and I know that somehow we would have been great friends picking each other's brains on our favourite ones. Anne would be a beautiful name to any lucky child who then would get to learn about her life. Also I'd like to apologise to the museum for touching the books in the bookcase leading to the annex. I couldn't help myself, I wanted to touch something she most likely did at some point in her life. I also touched the sink. Please don't sue.
Seventh. Oh Mr. Carroll, one of your best. I grew up absolutely enamoured with the idea of a fantasy land as seen in Alice in Wonderland (from the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, published in 1865) and wanting to visit such a place for so long. Then I switched to the Chronicles of Narnia so clearly, we can see a pattern here. Anywho. I won’t lie, the Alice Crimmins case ruined the name just a tad for me (google it, it is not pretty). I also hope you can see yet another pattern here for every single name I am creating excuses for: it’s a lie, I want them all, but for now I must convince myself that I don’t. If René were to change his mind later down the road I would 100% use Alice in a heartbeat. But until then, he vetoed, part VII.
Eight. I always loved the sound of it, in both French and English. Very delicate, feminine and wise sounding. I also love the Irish way to write it without the ‘I’, simply Clare. However, the tacky jewellery store chain bothers me a bit. And apparently René as well. He vetoed, part VIII.
Ninth. I still foolishly think I might be able to slide it into a full name at some point or another, but just in case, here it is. I love Slavic names, part 79. He vetoed, part IX. No story behind it, I have heard it many times and it never gets old to me. Still relevant, and perpetually lovely.
Tenth. This one is most likely a combination of my love for the movie Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulin (and the best movie soundtrack of all time, up there with all of Danny Elfman's work), and my interest-turned-fascination with the life of Amelia Earhart. Additionally, Mia is a delightful nickname.
Eleventh. While we're having an Audrey Tautou moment, I always loved her character in the movie Un long dimanche de fiançailles, by Sébastien Japrisot. She tends to play charming and reserved women who are also extremely tenacious. And who doesn't love a good wartime romance- the letters, the French music, ugh! Moreover, my sister and I grew up with an absolute obsession with the movie Matilda, and then the actual book it was based on by Roald Dahl (and then every book of his I must've read roughly 10 times). We knew every single line by heart and even noticed - with outrage- when they re-worked the dubs from French audio to French-Canadian audio, changing the expressions we knew by heart. The nerve. Years of reciting down the drain. Also, my friend made me realise this week that her nickname could be Tilly. I was so excited that I thought I should take this name off my not-naming-my-child list. But René vetoed. Sigh.
Twelfth. Let me tell you about Galina Vasilyevna Starovoitova. She was a Russian politician (warning: major bada**), a Soviet dissident who not only wanted to protect ethnic minorities being persecuted across the country, but also promote democratic reforms for her motherland. In 1998, she was shot to death by a hit-man in her own apartment complex- because, how dare she be a human rights activist. Just because I won't name a daughter after her (I get it René, it's a little too Slavic for you) doesn't mean that my daughters won't know about this epic woman. The government wanted to silence her, but so many people carried on her legacy, in an oppressed society governed by such narrow-minded staff. There was this Mexican saying following oppressive reforms 'They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds'. Goosebumps.
Might just keep this one for the upmost fiercest plush toys? Galina the mighty Swan?
Thirteenth. My sister and I's favourite story when we were tiny was Mad about Madeline, then we graduated to the Madeline movies about her wanting to live with the French circus. Oh and let's not forget the cartoons with Miss Clavelle running around the school when she knew Madeline must be sick (cue in song 'Quelque chose ne va pas')- this is where I first heard about appendicitis. She had a scar and got to eat ice cream. We didn't have a pet yet, but his name probably would have been Pépito. Listen, I can go on and on about every detail I recall and loved about this Parisian girl's fictional life (about 7 just came to mind as I was typing this), but our daughter's name is Ella Adeline. Let's try to be a tad more creative.
Fourteenth ish. Easy one. What I would most likely hear is ‘but you’re not Italian’ or 'but you're not native Spanish speakers'- although to be fair, I prefer Sophia which can be very French thank you very much.
Fifteenth. When I was in high school, I came across a French poem in my grammar manual entitled Adélaïde est un très joli nom. The poem is essentially a letter which a man writes to a woman named Ada and explains how long it would take to write a love letter as her name is so complex- but it ends up being a beautiful poem about him having to erase and start over a few times after figuring out where the accents went. It was truly adorable and I remember wanting to be her and having a name people write letters about. However, two reasons it is a no-go: our daughter's middle name being Adeline and also, an Australian reality show depicting brats living in Adelaide which truly killed it for me.
Sixteenth. I love the idea of bringing old names back to life. Of course, the existence and greatness of Agatha Christie help as well as the fact that my grand-mother’s name is Agathe, which would have been a sweet homage. But, I am also conscious that we do not live on some beautiful, wildly exotic island or in a quaint little German town, so the name might be a little much to carry for a young girl in our society. I mean, you really have to have some character or become a politician for this name to make sense. Or maybe I don't make sens at all right now. But it feels a tad eccentric. BUT I LOVE IT. So sue me.
Seventeenth. A lovely name, but the current actress ruined it for me. I don’t want my daughter to tell people in school ‘yes like that actress’ or ‘the lady with the pirates’ no, thank you. Also in French it reminds me of rira bien qui rira le dernier- don't ask, but my brain cannot separate the name from this saying. It also seems a little egotistical to give your child a name with all the same letters as yours- is that weird? Karine and Kira. Stop. So that's that! But still, love it.
Eighteenth. I have always found this name so charming and (don't say it again) feminine. However, it sounds too much like Ella and everyone in French would pronounce the S out of utter ignorance (please please feel my bitterness). I like to envision a name by picturing myself entering a job interview room and introducing myself. 'Hi, pleasure to meet you I'm Isla'. Okay, now I want that name for myself. But seriously, use that exercise, it proves very helpful, and could have stopped celebrities from using names such as, ahem, Saint. Mind you, we could most definitely argue that these children will never have to work a day in their lives. So let's come back to reality, where people typically need to find jobs, and use this exercise in the future.
Nineteenth. Well anyone who has ever met me knows this singer is pretty much the love of my life, why not name your child after the voice of an angel? Honestly the sound of the name is just as soothing as her songs- and I once knew an Enya, a friend of my sister's, and she was wonderful, kind and always glowing! Cue in the saying about not knowing who you like or dislike until it comes time to name a child. Utterly true!
Twentieth. This name is a little too artistic and daring for my taste but I love reading it in articles and anywhere really. I imagine an artistic, boho chic young woman, saving the planet or painting, perhaps an expert in landscape photography, always smiling with wind in her hair- most likely living in Australia, the Gold Coast? But, it might be a name a tad too creative say, if she wanted to become a scientist or an accountant- please DON’T do the latter. Science is cool. Stay away from numbers.
Bonus: Middle names
I love how simple and classic this name is - truly timeless. It represents class in an austere way (cue Jane Austen and Jane from Tarzan and Jane). However, I didn't like the 'plain Jane' expression for it to be a first name and I also did not like that in French it is written Jeanne, which in turn makes us look like lazy parents for not writing it fully. However, as a middle name, it complements many names and sounds feminine and elegant!
My sister and I used to love The Wind and the Willow growing up. She loved the story so much in fact that she went to a play and told me all about it (or did she play in one?). This name is so enchanting and pure sounding, and it will always remind me of the beautiful Scottish tale about Toad and Badger. It makes me smile even saying it out loud. Unfortunately, it is not very French-friendly. I want a name my daughter can tell anyone and they won't ask how to pronounce it or why exactly was she named that way? I know other people's opinions do not matter, but it would be nice if she could have it easy in school. Ugh, the more I write this the less I believe it. Such a cute name. I do believe, however, that it would be a perfect middle name as well. Who knows...
I always loved this nickname for the name Anastasia but I knew far too many in school so it was out of the question. Also, Hannia was supposed to be my name but was apparently changed last minute. I still adore this name, however, due to the fact that my little friend Anna, in Cherkasy, never leaves my mind. She is the one I met during my work in Ukraine and I might just never get over her. Again, I do believe she will meet my children one day and we can catch up over toys and giggles. For those wondering, pronouncing 'Anna' in Ukrainian ends up sounding closer to 'Anya', does that make any sense? Just watch Disney's Anastasia and you'll get it!
I wish I had a romantic story explaining why I love this Danish name so much, but I don't. I saw it once on a billboard add while I was in Copenhagen with René and just adored it! But no reason why, it might be older and not in style- not that I have ever cared for that- but I would love to add it somewhere! It's funny how we remember moments so differently- René was looking at real estate listings to purchase a condo, and I just saw the name Freja in one of the 'our team' sections and nothing else mattered. I'm also pretty sure I never brought it up. But one day perhaps, a middle name? If not, I will settle for one of my children's teddy bears.