NY Couple's Baby Name Dispute Escalates to Online Petition

NY Couple's Baby Name Dispute Escalates to Online Petition (ABC News)

A baby-name dispute between a New York City husband and wife has turned into an online Battle of the Titans.

After bickering back and forth with his expectant wife, Kseniya Mihailovna Soukeras, for months over what to name their future son, Elmhurst, Queens, resident Nicholas Soukeras recently kicked off an online petition to build a case for his traditional Greek choice, Spyridon, over her more mainstream American preference: Michael.

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"The petition was really meant as a joke in the beginning," Soukeras told ABC News. "I’ve been having this name battle with my wife since before we were married. Now, we are fighting about it, not every night, but certainly very often as the due date grows closer. So I came up with the petition as a way to make her laugh and make some friends laugh."

An excerpt of the screed, first reported in the New York Post, confirms the light-hearted origin story.

"The petitioner's wife is a native of the Republic" of Belarus and has been exposed to such barbaric names as Arman, Osip, Igor, Rurik, Ruslan, Artem, Vadim and Zoran (to name a few) throughout her Soviet childhood," reads one of Soukeras' humorous counterpoints in his online argument. "As the Russian ear is not trained for the sweet, musical sounds of our Greek nomenclature... Mrs. Soukeras has not been afforded the time nor opportunity to accept the quite common and well-received name "Spyridon" in not only Greek communities, but in the United States as well."

Soukeras goes on to point out that the U.S. vice president under Nixon was Spiro Theodore Agnew.

But the father-to-be has a serious connection to the name himself.

"It’s my father’s name," Soukeras explained. "In Greek culture, traditionally the first-born son would be named after my father, a first-born daughter would be named after my mother, while the second-born would be named after my wife’s parents. That’s kind of the code we have. It matters to [my father], and it matters to me. I like Michael too, but it’s so common. This name has character and history."

But his wife wants to give their child something less unusual.

"I don't want to name my baby Spyridon because the name is too ethnic and not sounding pleasant for a non-Greek ear," the mom-to-be wrote in an email to ABC News, noting that her father's name is Michael. "Most of our friends like Michael but there is no petition for the name Michael as it doesn't need a defense."

Whether she will buckle under pressure from the Internet is up for debate.

"She keeps changing her mind," Soukeras said. "First she said if I got 100 votes for my name she would go along with it. Now she’s saying 100,000.

"If I do get that many, I'm definitely going to rub her nose in it," he joked.

Soukeras said he has already conceded that if the couple goes with Spyridon as a first name, the middle name can be Michael, and that his wife can have naming rights for all future children.

"I’m cool with all future children being named whatever she likes," he said. "She could pick Rumpelstiltskin if she wants to. It’s just the first-born child that matters to me."

To sign the petition in the Spyridon vs. Michael baby-name debate, visit ipetitions.com.

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