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Baby names

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:
GreyhpundGirl · 01/10/2023 07:04

I'm a secondary school.teacher- what people think are unusual or 'unique' tend to be anything but. More traditional names like Simon are much less common. Names like Rupert and Jasper are having a resergence. Name your kid what you want- why do you care about other people's opinions?

feralunderclass · 01/10/2023 08:07

It's so odd that a name can have many connotations depending on your geographical area. Orlando and Conrad for me aren't pretentious in the slightest, Orlando where I am would most likely have a sister called Atlanta or Poppy-May. Conrad is on the same vein as Cameron and Curtis, and they were really common when my dc were young.
I've never heard of anyone unmarried double barrelling their dc's surnames, and I was a TA for years (and there were lots of unmarried families) but on MN this is why people have dB surnames.

Topazmumma · 01/10/2023 08:12

In my experience, saying "We are thinking of Archibald Magnus if it's a boy" 🤔 gives people the impression you haven't settled on it, and for some unknown reason they think they can give their unwanted opinion.

But if you say "It will be Virginia Daisybell if it's a girl, and Archibald Magnus if it's a boy" people may still THINK "Jesus Christ, how pretentious" but seem a lot less likely to say it 😄

Go with the name you love, and congratulations 🙂

Ididivfama · 01/10/2023 09:03

IslandsInTheSunshine · 30/09/2023 09:12

Why on earth? It’s just two surnames!

It's not really though .

In the past a double barrelled name was only used/available for a certain class of society, often those with titles (lord, lady, duke etc). The 'landed gentry'.

Now when couples combine surnames with a hyphen it can look as if they are trying to copy the 'upper class' or titled names .

Why are double barreled names posh?
The reasons for double-barrelling were originally financial. If two wealthy families joined in marriage both names would be perpetuated as a condition of the marriage. Wealth matches were common in the middle ages, and a famous, wealthy family would want their name to run on till the final trump of recorded time

oh for goodness sake. It’s for anyone who doesn’t give up their name in marriage and guess what, a lot of us women don’t want to.

Diddlyumptious · 01/10/2023 10:01

When your baby arrives you may decide any names/s you've picked don't suit. Good luck I'm sure the name you do devide on will be perfect whichever one you pick.

PeppermintMandy · 01/10/2023 15:19

PinkMoscatoLover · 30/09/2023 08:55

In most cases it does. I don’t know one person who isn’t married and their child only has the mum (or dad’s) surname. Most situations double barrel has been used as a compromise.

The only other situation I can think of is if a couple are married but the wife hasn’t taken the husbands name. She still has her maiden’s name so the couple have agreed on a double barrel surname. I’ve never come across it though

My maiden name was double barrelled and my parents were married.

My married name is double barrelled as I took my husbands name and his parents were married.

My son has our double barrelled name and absolutely we are married.

It is extremely common for women to chose not to take their husbands name and therefore they double barrelled both names together to create a new name which they both now have.

I don’t know anyone with a double barrelled name whose parents aren’t married. I’m in Scotland so that maybe makes a difference, but I have never, ever heard it associated with unmarried parents. Most unmarried parents I know still give their children their Dad’s name.

Cielovista · 01/10/2023 16:47

Our three have unusual names. They were not bullied as a result of these names. They always felt unique and special and loved the fact that no one else in the school was called the same when there were hundreds of Jacks and Chloes. Now as adults they still love their names and often tell us how grateful they are to have something unique. Our sons name is three syllables and his friends often shorten it a bit as a nickname- but not always. I have never regretted the names for a moment even though during my first pregnancy one of my close friends asked if I was sure the chosen name was a good idea. 28 years on and no regrets!

TroglodytesTroglodytes · 01/10/2023 18:03

I love some pretentious names, named my cat Ignatious. Is that on your list? Lol

I gave my children nice, neutral names. For people I prefer names that are not loaded as such (names along the line of James, Adam etc).

CheLoLouisae · 01/10/2023 20:28

Don’t worry about what others think, if you love the name and it can grow with baby (think they will one day be an adult), then go for it! We have unusual boy names (Lysander & Artemas) and have a daughter with an unusual name but more common nickname (although she doesn’t go by Esme) and we couldn’t imagine them being called anything else. They can shorten their names if they choose when they are older. Children these days have such a diverse range of names that it is unlikely they will be ridiculed for their name.

Cottontail8 · 01/10/2023 20:40

I kept my maiden name and took my husband’s - not double barrelled, even though everyone insists it it - for the sole reason that I’m foreign, my mum kept her maiden name and my dad has died so I wanted to keep the name for our children because of their heritage. Nothing to do with us being married (we are) or not!

Motherbear44 · 01/10/2023 20:44

I was a bit weak and didn’t call my second dd the name Felicity which i still love. My inlaws did not approve because it was felt to be pretentious. Actually my dh did not approve either. We were so agreed on the first one’s so I thought the second should also be a team effort. It would not have suited her as a baby anyway because she spent her first year crying. I ended up allowing her uncle to lead. He would not have children of his own so I was happy to let him. Eldest had an unexpectedly in vogue name. With youngest we ended up with a name that is mega unique - she moans about it because the pronunciation is not clear from the spelling. When small she was very shy and always had to say it about 3 times. She had every opportunity to shorten it (think Pollyanna shortened to Polly). She never did though. What I am trying to say is that you can stick to your guns or fit in with the family. You might not please your child at the end of the day, a flexible name can be useful. Don’t be like my mother in law whose first language was not English. She selected an English name that she could not pronounce for my dh bless her.

Cottontail8 · 01/10/2023 20:46

I wouldn’t go with the advice of checking meanings in other languages. Finn, for example, means pimple in my native language so we sadly wouldn’t use it for our half-British child (I love the name in English!), but why would a fully British couple care than in one of hundreds of languages in the world a name may mean something not so nice? George has been translated into my language, but is never used now and is slang for puke - again, imagine if the Royal family or any families of the millions of George’s in the world dropped the name just because of a connotation in a random language 😂 Persephone - well, the first part of the name means “arse” in my native language, so does that mean no one in the U.K. should call their kids that? With hundreds of languages, a whole lot of names are abound to mean something else than in English!

Cottontail8 · 01/10/2023 20:52

Teacher point of view - you should name your child using the name that is important to you. I’m foreign with a Northern European name that most Brits, including my husband, struggles with. Yet I’ve happily taught in multiple schools where ALL THE CHILDREN AND ADULTS managed to say my name, more or less correctly. Yes, I need to spell it for the pharmacist. No, it’s not that big of a deal really. I would hate if I couldn’t use a name from my culture for our half-British child because it might be a struggle for some English-speakers, especially if it’s just because they’re not even trying to learn it properly.

Burlapandbodger · 01/10/2023 21:22

Cottontail8 · 01/10/2023 20:46

I wouldn’t go with the advice of checking meanings in other languages. Finn, for example, means pimple in my native language so we sadly wouldn’t use it for our half-British child (I love the name in English!), but why would a fully British couple care than in one of hundreds of languages in the world a name may mean something not so nice? George has been translated into my language, but is never used now and is slang for puke - again, imagine if the Royal family or any families of the millions of George’s in the world dropped the name just because of a connotation in a random language 😂 Persephone - well, the first part of the name means “arse” in my native language, so does that mean no one in the U.K. should call their kids that? With hundreds of languages, a whole lot of names are abound to mean something else than in English!

Well some of us worried how a name is pronounced, or what it means, in another language because our children were/are attending state schools there! Of course you wouldn’t worry if you lived half way around the world but it’s very different if your dc are facing ridicule or total mispronunciations day in and day out!

For example, all the names I loved but nonetheless rejected for my dd’s couldn’t physically be pronounced by her classmates or her teachers as they never used/use the first two letters of those names. But pardon me for putting the daily comfort of my dc above my own wishes!

Burlapandbodger · 01/10/2023 21:23

Btw never use = doesn’t exist in that lang = can’t say

Mirabai · 01/10/2023 23:07

CheLoLouisae · 01/10/2023 20:28

Don’t worry about what others think, if you love the name and it can grow with baby (think they will one day be an adult), then go for it! We have unusual boy names (Lysander & Artemas) and have a daughter with an unusual name but more common nickname (although she doesn’t go by Esme) and we couldn’t imagine them being called anything else. They can shorten their names if they choose when they are older. Children these days have such a diverse range of names that it is unlikely they will be ridiculed for their name.

I guess you mean Artemis? Why did you use it as a boy’s name - was it Artemis Fowl?

Elaina87 · 01/10/2023 23:31

People often like to voice their opinion before the baby is born, but once they're here and named people have no choice but to say "aw, that's lovely". If they don't, well, they're awful.

Crcicc16 · 02/10/2023 14:17

Don't share the names with anyone. If you ask people what they think - you are given them the impression you care. If you introduce baby by their name, people are less likely to say negative comments. Just remember it's your baby - don't give a crap what anyone else thinks. Life is too short!

Mumofthree86 · 02/10/2023 17:55

Kamala is another good example!

Mumofthree86 · 02/10/2023 17:58

@Cottontail8 Kamala was specifically to you! As I am pretty sure we are from the same country 😁

Angrycat2768 · 02/10/2023 20:36

Cottontail8 · 01/10/2023 20:40

I kept my maiden name and took my husband’s - not double barrelled, even though everyone insists it it - for the sole reason that I’m foreign, my mum kept her maiden name and my dad has died so I wanted to keep the name for our children because of their heritage. Nothing to do with us being married (we are) or not!

I got rid of my maiden name because no one could pronounce it, but I really, really wish I had kept it for the reasons you mention- that its part of my childrens heritage. I floated double barrelling when my first child was born, no one really objected and I don't know why it didn't happen. I'm trying to resurrect it but it's a real PITA. I wish I'd kept my maiden name and not worried about other people not being able to pronounce it. As it happened, there have been some footballers with my maiden name, so loads of people now know how to pronounce it!

Walkaround · 03/10/2023 08:13

I know several people who kept “heritage” surnames as middle names.

iwasgonnasay · 03/10/2023 14:00

Heard a name at school drop off and instantly thought of this thread! Because I've never heard anyone use this as a name - but it just shows ANYTHING goes.

Mint

His name is Mint. I asked if it was short for anything - nope! It's just Mint.

Where we live is very multicultural and most names are new to me and the only issue I ever have is the panic of spelling or mispronunciation when it's not something I'm familiar with and it's something I would be conscious of when choosing a name. Even a more widely known or familiar name can be spelt completely different from what I know and it throws me so I like to keep it simple in my names!

tolerable · 17/10/2023 18:00

@GrilledPineapple pocahontas? nala? mr potatohead?

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