This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baby Boy Detwiler: Issues of Twilight and Beer

Katie writes:
I am a longtime reader and thought I would be more than prepared for my own baby name experience once it arrived. Well, here it is... I am due on March 30th with a baby boy and i am anything BUT well prepared! I have 3 different issues going on; not wanting a top ten name, Twilight, and initials I don't know if I can use. To give you some background, my name is Katie, my husband's name is Jon, and our last name is Detwiler. I grew up in Amish Country, and we have an Amish sounding last name, so that's a factor for me as well, so I guess that's a fourth issue for me! I would like to avoid some of the typical Amish names. Jon has given me 2 top five lists, "Unusual Names" (that I don't think are actually that unusual) and "Normal Names."

Unusual Names:


Normal Names:

Jakeb (yes, that's with an -eb at the end... Not going to happen)

I seem to be having some mental block and can't even think of any names I think I like or are right for this poor little man, so we settled on Jakob Soren or Maximus Grey as our top two finalists.

These two finalists have produced all 4 of my issues. Jakob/Jacob is Jon's #1 name out of all 10... It has been in the top five names for what seems like a hundred years, it's Amish, and my sister in law is due a month before me and their girl name is Bella. Really. Maximus Grey gives us the initials MGD. I think we might have been ok a few years ago with these initials but then out came MGD 64... Does that even matter?

So I need to know if I should just get over any of these issues, or if you think any of them are actually legit. My pick is definitely Max, but those initials are bothering me. Also, if we were having a girl, we both like Ellie, but Jon preferred Eleanor and I preferred Eloise for her full name.

If you take a look at our style and have any new name suggestions as well, we're still definitely open to a change! Thank you!

I had to Google MGD 64 to see what the issue was. But I'm not a beer-drinker; if you were considering the name Smirnoff or even GNT I would have known what was what. And Jacob Detwiler wouldn't have made me think Amish.

But I think it can be tempting to dismiss anything as silly if it's not a familiar association: I haven't seen Titanic so Jack and Rose seems like a dismissible thing to worry about---but ask me about siblings Max and Ruby and I'm completely opposed: the associations I recognize seem shocking, while the associations someone ELSE recognizes seem barely worth considering---only because they're not important TO ME, which is not the question when we're talking about the societal impact of a name. With the polls I always want to separate out the opinions of the people who HAVE the association from the people who don't. Let's have a poll over to the right and see if we can do that even though it makes the response options kind of LONG.

It seems too that the MGD issue would be a simple problem to fix, unless you're totally set on Grey as the only middle name you want to consider. Even if you think the initials are a deal-breaker, that doesn't rule out the name Max.

While I might not name siblings Edward and Bella, I don't see a problem with Jacob and Bella for cousins. The name Bella is fairly strongly associated with Twilight (though all the Bellas, as well as all the Isabellas going by Bella, help to reduce that), but Jacob is common enough to have an even more diluted set of associations. And Bella and Jacob don't end up together romantically, right? So it's not a connection that would bother me. But again, we have the personal associations factoring in: I skimmed the first Twilight book and that's it, so of course the association would seem insignificant to me. What we want is SOCIETY'S reaction. Let's have a second poll over to the right about this issue.

Between Jacob and Maximum, my own favorite is Jacob. Jacob Detwiler seems like a nice boy, and handsome. And J.D. makes a cute initial nickname, if you want it.

From the entire list, my favorite is Soren Jacob. It lets your husband have his favorite name but without the Jacob/Bella issue, the Top Ten issue, or the Amish Name issue.

We recently discussed Maxon/Maxton, if you'd want to consider a different long form for Max.

Because you have Zander and Zeke, I wonder if you would like Xavier?

Evan from your list makes me think of Ian. But it gives the initials I.D., if you want to avoid that. (A D-surname sure is hard to work with for those of us who prefer not to spell anything with initials! 2012 A.D., CD, double-D, ED, fire dept, g-d, high definition, show your I.D., M.D., O.D., police dept, Rd., etc.)

Be sure to vote in both polls to the right (er, I mean if you WANT to); it's common when we do two polls for the first of the two polls to get significantly more votes than the second. Heck, let's throw in one more poll: Jacob or Maximus? And be sure to leave other suggestions in the comments section. [All three polls closed; see results below.]

Poll results for "The Initials MGD" (479 votes total):
  • I recognize the association, and it's a deal-breaker - 24 votes (5%)
  • I recognize the association, but I think it's no big deal - 198 votes (41%)
  • I didn't recognize the association but now I think it's a deal-breaker - 6 votes (1%)
  • I didn't recognize the association but I don't think it's a big deal - 234 votes (49%)
  • OMG I cannot even figure out these options - 17 votes (4%)

Poll results for "Is it okay to have cousins named Jacob and Bella?" (507 votes total):
  • I thought of Twilight, and I'd really avoid it - 55 votes (11%)
  • I thought of Twilight, but it's still totally fine for just cousins - 185 votes (36%)
  • I didn't think of Twilight, and now that I have, I'd avoid it - 19 votes (4%)
  • I didn't think of Twilight, and now that I have, I still don't think it's a big deal - 242 votes (48%)
  • I am now too confused to vote - 6 votes (1%)

Poll results for "Which do you prefer?" (444 votes total):
  • Jacob Detwiler - 302 votes (68%)
  • Maximus Detwiler - 142 votes (31%)

Name update! Katie writes:
Baby Boy Detwiler was born March 30, 2012 (a month after his cousin Isabella!). After all the polls and comments generated from your post we thought we should go with Jacob... But after really hashing it out we decided that Maximus Grey was meant to be, and the initials weren't a big deal at all.  So here he is, Maximus Grey Detwiler :)


Erin said...

I immediately made the Twilight connection, but that's only because I immediately think Twilight when I hear Bella. Just hearing Jacob/Jakob (I love the name, prefer the C spelling but that's just me -- the K spelling looks like Jack-ob to me) wouldn't make me think Twilight. If the cousins don't live near each other and thus won't be seen together in public often, I wouldn't worry about it. If they live next door, I'd think about how much it would annoy you to have people say "Did you plan that?"

The MGD thing, I wouldn't worry about at all. Unless MGD is a really popular beer in your area; where I am, almost no one drinks it and it's rarely available in restaurants, so while I got the association, I wouldn't think twice about it. (Though as a K last name myself, I feel your pain -- it's hard not to make words. One of my favorite girl names would give the initials ICK and it kills me that I can't use it for that reason.)

I do like Swistle's suggestion of Xavier. I'd also like to throw out Abel -- it's similar to Aksel but a little less uncommon (though I do feel it's on the rise in popularity, which may be an issue, and it would depend how you feel about the Cain/Abel connection).

Or what about combining your two middle name options? I really like Grey Soren Detwiler.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I voted in the first two polls (and giggled at the last options in each), but I didn't vote in the last poll because I was so completely won over by Soren Jacob. Love it.

AirLand said...

I like either of your finalists. I definitely make the Twilight connection when you hear Jakob and Bella together, but how often is that going to happen? For siblings, I would advise against this, but for cousins, I think it's fine. Also, I don't automatically think of Twilight when I hear Jakob alone, but I do when I hear Bella alone. I might have a different opinion if you liked Edward!

I don't think there's anything wrong with the initials MGD, but I am okay with most initials. I do make the connection to the beer, but I wouldn't probably pick up on it unless I actually saw the initials and not whole name. If it really bothers you that much, is the middle name negotiable? Why not Maximus Jakob?

Gail said...

The only one of the names from your list that I don't like is Riddick, because both of the obvious nn's seem undesirable. Otherwise, you have a slew of great choices.

Funny, my daughters are now grown, but at no time along the way has either one of them ever mentioned their initials to either me or my husband. I think the intials would have to be something super-obviously undesirable to worry about this factor. I'm thinking something along the lines of Gideon Oscar Detwiler.

I'm only a fan of Soren when it's pronounced as Zoren, as they do in Europe. (Though I suppose I could be thinking soar instead of sore.)

Good luck!

Emily said...

As much as I can understand wanting to avoid the Twilight confusion, my cousin's family have it much worse and it doesn't really get mentioned. Their kids are Jacob, Bella and Ezra (middle name: Edward.) All named before the twilight craze.

I don't think it's a big enough issue to block you from using the best name on your list!

mayberry said...

Just a tiny thing, I think Max Detwiler is the name of a character in The Sound of Music - "Uncle" Max, who sets up the concert for the von Trapp family? Not a bad guy, just kind of a hanger-on! I think Jacob, Max, or Soren are all great.

Laura said...

@mayberry -
Yes! I thought i recognized the name Max Detwiler!

My pick is Jacob, Jakob less so. Not a fan of replacing c with k. Maximus Grey makes me think of buying a car. You know, the sheet taped to the window of the car in the lot with a description of that particular car's features? "Maximus, grey"

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmmmm, well my oldest son is actually an MGD and we don't get many comments regarding it annnnnnnnd if we do it is usually from those single people looking to make a funny joke, in my opinion they are easily ignored.

I really prefer Max Detwiler over Jacob/Jakob Detwiler.

Good luck!

Mammal said...

What about Zachary? Zachary Soren Detwiler.

Alexander would give you a nickname of Xander, but also something "normal" for the official stuff. Alexander Detwiler.

I think it's a good idea to save Ellie, even though you might not want to use it the next time around. Thinking of that:
Max and Ellie. Jacob and Ellie (or Jake and Ellie). Soren and Ellie. Zach and Ellie. Xander and Ellie (or Alex and Ellie).

With your two names (Katie and Jon), I like Max and Zach best.

Swistle-- I'm curious what you think of the initials BJ_ and BS_.

Swistle said...

Mammal- I try to avoid them. But I'm far to the "don't want to" end of the initials-spelling-things spectrum, and I think lots of people have initials that spell things and it's no big deal at all. I also think it's a bigger deal if it's first/last initials than if it's first/middle, since middle names/initials are less often known than first and last; I'd rather be BSD than BDS, for example.

StephLove said...

I voted for Jacob, but I'm thinking of changing my vote (Swistle, I love that this is a feature of your polls) because I'm thinking I like Jacob better for me, but the issues you cite with it seem more serious for you than the initials MGD.

I think I like Maxwell best of the Max-names, also Maxmillian if you're willing to consider others.

From your list I like Soren, Mason and Evan. I liked the idea of reversing the name and using Soren Jakob. Using Gray Maximus would also solve your initial problem.

If you are willing to tinker with spelling or use longer versions, I like Axel, Alexander (nn Zander) and Ezekiel (nn Zeke)-- not using nicknames as full names is my hang up, I admit it.

If you like alliteration, would you like Declan? That hard C in the middle gives it the kind of pop you might like. Or how about Cedric? Or Felix?

vanessa said...

I recently heard the name Maximo as a long form name for Max, and it has quickly become my favorite of the Max names. So taht's my vote!

Otherwise, cousins Bella and Jacob (though I'd spell it that way) doesn't bother me. Siblings would, but not cousins.

LOVE Soren, too.

Anonymous said...

My hubby's name is Soren. I LOOOVe the name. He is always getting wonderful compliments about it, but almost always has to spell it to people. Sometimes people think it is his last name too. I vote on Soren!

Mary said...

I think MGD is no problem at all, nor do I think Jacob & Bella would be a problem for cousins.

I think Soren Gray would also be really great!

What about

Alaric, Thorsten, or Bartram?

Angie said...

I drink beer, but I don't consider myself a beer connoisseur.

When I saw MGD 64, I thought, "Is that a band?" And then I thought, "Should I know about them?" And, "Man, I must be getting old."

I also don't read Twilight not have I seen the movies, and I'm probably one of the few women in my demographic who hasn't (30s, married, kids, name-nerd). But I was shocked to learn Swistle hadn't seen Titanic. So we all have our things.

Needless to say, I was scratching my head at the concern about your soon-to-be born niece, Bella. Keep in mind, until your niece is actually born, there may be a chance your SIL will change her mind.

With all of that said, I like Soren the best from your list.

Good luck.

Christy said...

I don't like the initials MGD. We never know how brands are going to evolve, but imagine him having that name as a teenager if it's still popular then.

As to Jacob & Bella, I think it's no big deal for cousins. You could have practically any pairings within cousins and I don't think it would be a problem.

For me, though, Jakob Detwiler absolutely sounds amish. That would be a bigger concern than the cousin names on my part.

Geeni said...

I grew up in Lancaster County PA and Jakob Detwiler reads VERY Amish, especially using the -kob spelling. Now, your desire to avoid an Amish-sounding name only kind of slipped into the list, and you otherwise agreed to make it one of the finalists, so maybe it really isn't that big a deal to you. Also, I'm not sure what state you're living in, name perceptions could vary regionally.

I believe using the standard Jacob spelling would make it read less biblical (i.e. Amish) and more mainstream. And if you choose to call him Jake, you'd get to use the K letter all the time, even if it's not in his formal name.

liz said...

I like Soren.

Jacob is only a problem as a cousin for Bella if you the kind of family where the cousins might as well be siblings.

Katie said...

Thank you so much for the post, polls, and to those of you commenting! This is so helpful and will definitely give Jon and I a lot to talk about! We'll send an update soon I hope :)

Anonymous said...

I like her suggestion of Xavier!! Love that name. Also, if you like Grey as a middle name have you considered using Grayson or Greyson at all? Love that name too!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about the initials MGD. Nearly every teen or college-age boy I know would think it's pretty cool. Kind of like the kid whose last name is makes him sort of a hero. Beyond that, I can't see professional adults worrying about other peoples' initials.

K said...

Two of my siblings are named Jacob and Isabella. They're roughly nine years apart in age, so maybe it's that gap that prevents it, but so far Twilight has never been mentioned in reference to their names. Even when I do hear their names together, in reference to my siblings and in casual conversation, I don't think of Twilight, and I've read all four books. In fact I don't even think about it until it's specifically brought up. I don't think it would be all that big of an issue.

Alix said...

I know a Maximus Gray (age 3). His brother is Declan and sister, Stella. I absolutely adore the name Maximus. Do you like Augustus?
Not a fan of Jakob but I LOVE Soren, much more than Maximus. Soren Maximus would be perfection to me and I think it goes well with your surname.

Soren and Ellie or Max and Ellie work well together. What about Stellan?

Johanna Baker said...

That baby is ADORABLE!!! Congratulations!