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Choosing “pretentious” boys names, even if some will judge you?

300 replies

Sevendayhigher · 28/09/2023 23:47

My husband and I are expecting a baby in the next month (don’t know the sex) and we’re struggling with names, because most of the boys’ names we love are considered by most to be “pretentious”. To make matters worse, we have a double-barrelled surname which, paired with the names we really love, is going to attract judgement from some people. We don’t really mind being judged by other people behind our backs (wouldn’t be the first time) but we DO mind people actively being rude to our faces about the name we choose (making it our problem), which a few people have already been with our possibilities.

What are people’s stance on naming babies what they actually want rather than something else so that people won’t think badly of them? I swear, we’re not trying to choose names so people think we’re “posh” or something - we genuinely love them and the way they sound, and honestly, it just seems so silly to us to not choose a name we really love because other people think we’re trying to be something we’re not!

We have no friends with kids so just don’t know what the situation with names are these days - do lots of people choose names that are “out there”? This may or may not make a difference but we live in West London where we’ve heard naming can be a bit more diverse, and was wondering if anyone could give us insight about whether it was more common to choose unusual names where we live? We think the worst scenario would be not choosing one of the names that we love and then it turns out everyone else just goes for it and we’ll regret we didn’t!

OP posts:
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OtsyBotsy90 · 30/09/2023 10:16

We have slightly unusual names for our children and people definitely do not like them. I don’t care. Before they were born I didn’t tell anyone the names I was thinking about because before a child is born people love to put their 2 pence in about the name, but once the child is here they are a lot less judgemental. To your face anyway lol!! Call your children whatever you want. It’s not about other people. Naming children is hard enough without other peoples opinions. I’m sure the names will suit your baby perfectly because it’s a name you chose and you love. That’s all that matters xx

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IslandsInTheSunshine · 30/09/2023 10:20

MargotBamborough · 30/09/2023 10:12

This really isn't the issue you are making it out to be.

I know a couple where both had double barrelled names and when they married they picked one name each and double barrelled those.

So Jane Smith-Brown and Tom Jones-Davies became Jane and Tom Smith-Davies.

I also know a couple where the woman had a double barrelled name from both her parents who took the feminist approach and double barrelled their names when they married back in the 1970s, and she decided to just take her husband's name when she got married.

If and when the child gets married or has a child of their own, they decide what they want to do and they do it.

Which part is complicated?

Surely it's obvious how it would become complicated IF the children involved followed the logic of combining surnames of both parents when they had children of their own.

It's not 'complicated' it is you who is saying people pull back from that when it would become, frankly, rather silly.

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MariePaperRoses · 30/09/2023 10:21

It's only going to sound pretentious if you are Wayne and Waynetta and call your son Tarquin.

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MargotBamborough · 30/09/2023 10:22

IslandsInTheSunshine · 30/09/2023 10:20

Surely it's obvious how it would become complicated IF the children involved followed the logic of combining surnames of both parents when they had children of their own.

It's not 'complicated' it is you who is saying people pull back from that when it would become, frankly, rather silly.

You're the one saying it would be silly if they ended up doing something that no one ever does (because it is silly).

Every single Spanish child has two surnames, one from each parent, and funnily enough the situation you are worried about has not become a thing there.

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anotherside · 30/09/2023 10:28

I personally think traditional but “posh” names are no problem and in fact they’re increasingly popular, but very “pretentious” names might be best avoided, as they might create that slightly negative first impression when he is older. People in Britain are still pretty conservative in how they regard names.

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thegreylady · 30/09/2023 10:28

When ds was born in 1970 we loved the name Guy. We discussed the Guy Fawkes possibility of teasing but decided it was unlikely to be a problem. What we hadn’t thought of was that by the time he was in his early teens the word gay had connotations that could be difficult for a young lad. He would be upset by school fellows altering the u to an a and finding it hilarious. Now at 53 he laughs about it and says he likes the name but we wouldn’t have used it had we known. You should go with a name you like and feel comfortable with.
I remember asking my grandson aged 10 (2006)what he though of his new cousins name and he said”It’s not a teasing name so it is fine”.

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lljkk · 30/09/2023 10:33

Nobody cares. You're overthinking it. If you must consider other people's opinions, your partner, and the grandparents matter. Only them. Also, names don't shoot from nowhere in the popularity stakes last year to top 10 this year.

DS's name is described on MN as both ultra-posh & ultra-chav. Amusing me no end. It's far outside the top 50 but we seem to run into others a few times a year.

I almost never run into some names that have been very popular on MN: Clementine, Theo, Luka, Hugo, Maeve, Dorothy, Matilda

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anotherside · 30/09/2023 10:39

I almost never run into some names that have been very popular on MN: Clementine, Theo, Luka, Hugo, Maeve, Dorothy, Matilda

I wouldn’t describe any of them as pretentious though, with the possible exception of Clementine. There’s a difference between a bit posh and pretentious (which for me means Trying Hard / Ooh Look how Original/Edgy I Am)

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MaudGonneOutForAFag · 30/09/2023 10:42

anotherside · 30/09/2023 10:28

I personally think traditional but “posh” names are no problem and in fact they’re increasingly popular, but very “pretentious” names might be best avoided, as they might create that slightly negative first impression when he is older. People in Britain are still pretty conservative in how they regard names.

But that’s extremely subjective — where would you place (just as examples) Horatio, Hector, Rupert, Miles, Hugo, Peregrine, St John, Montague and Piers on that spectrum between ‘traditional posh’ and ‘pretentious’?

Surely to label something ‘pretentious’ you would have to know the people giving their child that name were ‘pretending’ or aspiring to something? Out of that list I know a Hugo and a Miles who are from UC backgrounds — not ‘pretending’ anything. Those are normal names for those families. The Hugo was an Honourable. The Peregrine was at school with my godson and was an eccentric sprite from an artistic background — both parents noted in their fields. He went as Percy day to day.

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saraclara · 30/09/2023 10:45

TheBirdintheCave · 30/09/2023 08:20

@saraclara Oh wow where was that? 😂 We're in Sussex and the main comments we get are from little old ladies who gush about Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables 😅

Don't move to Derbyshire! Or at least, not unless that term has faded into disuse since I was a child. I moved away at 18, so was able to escape the pain!

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ilovesushi · 30/09/2023 10:53

There is whole mix of names in my kids' classes at school from very traditional to more unusual. I wouldn't consider any of them pretentious. I don't think anyone names their child because they want to show off or make themselves appear grander than they are. I imagine every name is given with a lot of thought, meaning and love attached to it. Do some names feel pretentious to you because at some level you are choosing them for self image? If not go with what you love.

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DiscoBeat · 30/09/2023 11:01

I remember a thread, cant remember if it was on here or another forum but a mother was vetoing a name she loved on the basis that initials would be PLEB. the vast majority pointed out that hardly anyone would know the middle names so wouldnt make the connection, a fair few didnt even know what pleb meant much less where it came from. But she went with the name she didnt like "just in case".

Wise decision, I think most people know the word 'pleb'.

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IReallyLikeYouButIWantToSeeHowThingsGoWithMark · 30/09/2023 11:08

Enko · 30/09/2023 09:38

@Redpaisley Why would you name your child Bartholomew when you know he will never be called by thay name? Basically, kid's real name becomes Bart.

I cant imagine kid introducing himself to other kids with that name and everyone remembering.

It's done all the time in the UK. Hi I'm Victoria call me Vic. I'm Alexander call me Alex. And yes kids can absolutely remember Bartholomew and not blink at the idea.

I thankfully think we are moving away from the Matthew John Peter David dullness and are embracing a wider range of names.

There's a child in my DS2 class (Year 7) who is called Peter. The mum said it was not her choice but her DHs as he was named after a deceased brother and now she loves it because there just aren't any other young Peters around. Not boring and dull- but actually borderline quirky now. I have to say it has really grown on me and stands out in the sea of Olivers; Noahs etc. (Both great names by the way- popular for a reason but there are loads).

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Enko · 30/09/2023 11:11

@IReallyLikeYouButIWantToSeeHowThingsGoWithMark

Oddly the last baby in my wider friend circle has just been named Peter. I think those names are returning.

I am not a fan of top 10 names it bugs me dd1s name became as popular as we did. It was not in the top 100 when she was born it has now been around mid-20s for 20 odd years Her siblings have names that are around 250 and 2K plus in popularity.

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CheshireCat1 · 30/09/2023 11:11

I’d give more thought about how your chosen name would or could effect your child growing up.

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IReallyLikeYouButIWantToSeeHowThingsGoWithMark · 30/09/2023 11:16

Enko · 30/09/2023 11:11

@IReallyLikeYouButIWantToSeeHowThingsGoWithMark

Oddly the last baby in my wider friend circle has just been named Peter. I think those names are returning.

I am not a fan of top 10 names it bugs me dd1s name became as popular as we did. It was not in the top 100 when she was born it has now been around mid-20s for 20 odd years Her siblings have names that are around 250 and 2K plus in popularity.

I wonder if those names are coming back as you say.

Peter's mum also said one that she was worried the association would immediately be poor little Baby P. TBH that never occurred to me until she said it.

Both my boys have names that ended up being really popular that year. There is a bit of me that wishes I had stood my ground on one of my more 'out there' names, but I can't imagine either of them being called anything else!

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TheBirdintheCave · 30/09/2023 11:35

@saraclara Oh interesting! I lived in Derby for three years for uni and never came across it 😂

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greglet · 30/09/2023 12:11

@TheBirdintheCave I love Gilbert! It would be on my list but DH would give it a hard no. I also love Godfrey.

We went for Magnus, which is out-there in some circles and doesn't raise an eyebrow in others.

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greglet · 30/09/2023 12:12

@midlifecrash DS's middle name was nearly Æthelstan. I’m also a fan of Hereward 😬

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TheBirdintheCave · 30/09/2023 12:25

@greglet Magnus is just lovely 😍

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Promette · 30/09/2023 17:52

I feel your pain. We were in a similar situation and had one relatively normal name (Finn) and one out there name (Larkin). We each asked our best friends for their opinion and they laughed Larkin out of the running. We would likely have gone ahead with it but our son already had a complicated double barreled name. We went with Finn and it really suits him. At the end of the day - look at how it sounds when you call it out, how it works with the last name and whether you both like it. If in doubt - ask a really good friend.

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BabyBlue777 · 30/09/2023 18:28

Wow, who are these friends of yours? I'm starting to realise how lucky I am in my life to be surrounded by really nice people. Seems everyone on here is surrounded by fake ass, judgemental, user types. Wow. Who cares what other people think? I'd tell them to f'k right off. You should feel the name of your baby and then name them accordingly. It has nothing to do with how other people feel. And so what if they sound posh? What is wrong with that? I don't get involved in other people's business like that. Your kid, your choice. Everyone can just keep their opinions to them self.

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Pherian · 30/09/2023 18:32

I wanted to name my son Ulysses Xavier. Two very strong names.

I don’t think you should give a toss what other people say or think.

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Areyouok · 30/09/2023 19:15

Teacher POV. Don't choose a name that your child has to constantly tell people how to pronounce . Choose one that they can shorten to something more mainstream if they choose when they start school just in case other kids give them grief. Children can be very cruel . Other than that , anything goes!

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MadeleineMummy · 30/09/2023 19:19

a parent at my daughter’s primary had twins called “corvosier” and “Tankeray” and I have seen ”Lamburgini” on the board flash up at my doctor’s surgery. I think it gives a child confidence, perseverance and tenacity when they has slightly unusual names. I would suggest that you shouldn’t care about other people and just go for it.

Apologies if I have name dropped your child’s name. If it infringes your privacy then please DM and I will delete my post.

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