We are pregnant with our first baby girl in June. We have decided on Story for the first name, but cannot for the life of us come up with something that fits for a middle name. Our last name begins with B and is 2 syllables.
The issue we’re having is that Story is kind of “odd” in the circles we run in, but we love it! Most people can’t seem to get on board with Story…I guess maybe because it’s a noun?
Story Maria (Maria is a family name)
Thanks in advance!
You have come to the right person. I can tell you why people are having trouble getting on board with the name Story: it is because "Story" is not a name. Of course it IS a name if you name your baby with it, but as with names such as Apple and Poet and Moon Unit, we consider them "words" and not "names." That is why they create a stir when used as names.
I think you know all this already. You'll soften the reaction you get from your family and acquaintances if you acknowledge that you know it. Something in a kind, understanding tone of voice, something like, "We know it's very unusual, but we just love it, and it's such a pretty sound!"
Because it IS a pretty sound! A VERY pretty sound! Say the name Story until it loses its "word"ness, and the surprise is that it's not already a common girl name. It sounds like many other girl names already in use: Dori, Kori, Lori, Rory, Tori.
Word names do present a middle name problem. Any usual name is going to clash---but a second word name is overkill, and confusing. I think the middle name choices you have so far (except for Maria) all fall into the word name category: June and Belle and Love and May ARE of course often used as names, but when they're put up next to Story they shift back into words. The mind struggles to make sense of what it is seeing: is this a name, a product, a location, a command, a library event requiring pre-registration?
Maria is a usual name, and like all usual names, it's going to seem to clash with a word name. One way to reduce the apparent clash is to choose an established name that reminds us of Story, and try it on with the middle name.
For example, let's use Rory: Rory Maria. Well, that's beautiful! Now that we're using a two usual names together, we can see it more clearly. Say it a few times (Rory Maria, Rory Maria, Rory Maria) and then switch in Story: Story Maria. Lovely. Story Marie is lovely, too.
Let's find more options the same way. How about Anne? Lori Anne, Lori Anne, Lori Anne---Story Anne. Nice.
Tori Leigh, Tori Leigh, Tori Leigh---Story Leigh. Nice.
Kori Lynn, Kori Lynn, Kori Lynn---Story Lynn. Nice.
Dori Elizabeth, Dori Elizabeth, Dori Elizabeth---Story Elizabeth. My favorite so far.
I think the key here is to keep the middle name very obviously a girl name. If you see Story Love, you wonder what you're looking at. If you see Story Elizabeth, you have a hint.
I KNEW my friend Mairzy would enjoy tackling this one. Here's her take:
You're probably tired of hearing that "Story" is an, um, unusual choice. (Well, it is unless you're a celebrity, a form of life not known for its responsible parenting choices.) I can see the appeal in the name: pretty word, whimsical meaning, universal concept -- not every culture celebrates Liberty, Mercy, or Charity, but every culture prizes a Story.
But although it looks good in abstract -- or in print -- it would be a hard fit for a real person. A second-grade Story will be sick to the point of nausea of hearing "What's your middle name? Book? Time? Paige?" By eighth grade, she'll react with hostility to the question, "Is that your real name?" By the time she's applying for a job, she may have made peace with and embraced her name... or she might just write down "Jane."
I know a Cinnamon, whose short answer about her name is, "My parents were hippies." I knew a Spring, who replied dubiously, "I don't know, my parents liked it?" I knew an Honor, who said, "My father blessed me with this name, and I try to live up to it," which sounded a whole lot more rote than heartfelt if you ask me. Parents always have to remember that even though they may love a bold new name, it doesn't mean the child herself will.
When it comes to a middle name, I strongly -- on steroids, even -- discourage using an equally whimsical name like "Love" or "Belle." Instead, I'd suggest using a more classic name. Just in case she ever wants to fall back on normal for a while. Fortunately Story has a great rhythm, so it's easy to match:
Maria (as you'd mentioned)
You probably can get away with using the name Story in today's naming world. Just resign yourself and your daughter to the same questions, over and over. Cultivate an empty smile and pat response. And instill in your daughter a love for the name.
Thanks, Mairzy! My favorites from that list are Story Elise (SEB) and Story Annaliese (SAB). I like Story Olivia even better, but it gives the initials SOB.
Let's have a vote!
Maria/Marie: 11 votes, roughly 12%
Anne: 4 votes, roughly 4%
Leigh: 8 votes, roughly 8%
Lynne: 8 votes, roughly 8%
Elizabeth: 38 votes, roughly 40%
Elise: 22 votes, roughly 23%
Annaliese: 4 votes, roughly 4%]