QUEENS, N.Y. – What’s in a name? A lot if the father is Greek-American and the mother is from Belarus and they can’t agree on whether their firstborn – if it’s a boy – should be called Spyridon or Michael.
Nicholas Soukeras wants his child to be named after his father but his wife, Kseniya, says it’s too ancient and she prefers her late father’s name. It’s a battle of honor, tradition and different cultures.
The New York Post reported that Soukeras has taken his drive online with a petition asking for his cause to be supported.
Maybe he doesn’t know you can’t win an argument with your wife. Kseniya has different ideas and he may be heading toward sleeping on the couch if he keeps it up.
“I’ll settle for 100,000 — this is an approximate population of my hometown Maladzyechna,” Kseniya, 33, who is due in August, told the newspaper.
It would Greeks aghast but she has a good reason, she says. “I don’t want to call my son something I can’t even pronounce,” she said, unaware of the illustrious history of the name, carried by 1896 Athens Olympics winner Spyridon Louis and many Greeks since.
That was before the tradition shifted to Byzantine names and movies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding poked fun at every other Greek male being named Nick or George, as Greeks gave up Pericles and Leonidas and ancient names that, well, sounded more Greek.
It’s not shaping up to be a contest so far, with only four people registering in for Michael, a name the father says just doesn’t work for him. He said his Russian-speaking wife would call the child “Mischa,” a name that for him is just too B-Hollywood movie, the Post noted.
He said what he called his wife’s “Russian ear” is simply not trained “for the sweet, musical sounds of our Greek nomenclature,” although perhaps he didn’t say that face-to-face.
“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,” the petition reads.
Spyridon, on the other hand, has a noble history, he declared.
“Had President Nixon resigned a mere ten months earlier, in fact, the 38th President of the United States would have been Spyridon Theodoros Agnew . . . Additionally, the current President of Russia, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, can claim that his paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin . . . was the personal chef to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin himself,” he trumpets.
He told The Post the petition started out as a lark — but that the debate is legitimate for the couple, who have been married for about a year and a half.
“The argument is serious — it’s not a joke,” Kseniya confirmed. Added Nicholas, “There are nights we’re bickering about it back and forth and we won’t talk to each other.”
Especially from the couch.