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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:
RecycleMePlease · 29/09/2023 05:59

My kids have recognisable but extremely unusual names that suit them down to the ground. The idea of not choosing a name based on theoretical future bullying is honestly ridiculous.

They're at school with kids with names from all over - what's one more child with an unusual name?

TheaBrandt · 29/09/2023 06:09

Imagine you or you husband having the name - introducing themselves with it etc. It’s the child that will have to actually go out into the world with the name.

I thought up some corkers mid pregnancy my teens are horrified at what they were nearly called. One is outgoing confident and gorgeous and would basically carry off any name. The other is more low key and quiet and conventional and would have hated it.

RoseMarigoldViolet · 29/09/2023 06:23

In London there is huge diversity in names. Anything goes really. But I would be more concerned about whether the name will serve your child well in their life.

cutoffbynetflix · 29/09/2023 06:51

Potiphar · 29/09/2023 05:19

Remember your child will have to bear his name when you are long dead and incapable of further embarrassment. Also remember we don’t know how our children will turn out, what jobs they will end up doing etc. For this reason a fairly neutral name, class-wise, is generally better. A pipe-fitter called Sebastian Chomondly-Fortescue is going to be an object of ridicule. If you must go for a posh first name at least have an ordinary middle name so he can always use that.

There is no reason why a pipe-cleaner could not be called that. My kid's name is Classic Extravagant Double-Barrelled, say Sarah Evangelina Thorpe-Smith.

They were born quite prem and are thus far developmentally delayed. I am going to thank my lucky stars if they can partake in mainstream schooling and hold down a job later. Should we get a deed poll if my kid 'fails' to live up to their name's potential?

Go with what you like, OP, and don't mind the class connotations.

PerspiringElizabeth · 29/09/2023 06:56

Unfortunately (or fortunately for you perhaps), I think people tend to judge lower-end unique names far faaaaar more harshly than a ‘pretentious’ unique name.

Potiphar · 29/09/2023 07:00

Is your kid a girl? Because I think this matters a hell of a lot less with girls names.

redfacebigdisgrace · 29/09/2023 07:02

Maybe think about it from your child’s point of view. You seem focused on your own feelings. It’s your child that needs to live with the “pretentious” name for their whole life.

redfacebigdisgrace · 29/09/2023 07:03

@Potiphar it says boy in the title

Sevendayhigher · 29/09/2023 07:33

Ah yeah, I was hoping it would be a given that we care far more about our kid’s wellbeing/not being being ridiculed than we ever would about regretting not choosing a name. There are loads of “worst case scenarios” I haven’t written out that would be FAR worse than that, sorry I didn’t make that clear! It’s just that we’ve been reassured by a few people that in London/a big city it’s really uncommon for a child to be actively bullied for their name because of the diversity of names in these places, so it doesn’t worry us as much that it would get that extreme. It’s really more that one or two people we know have given their opinions about names we love and have implied they’re pretentious.

I totally take your points though about compromise, this could be the way to go for us! It’s so important to think about what it’ll be like for the child first and foremost as you say.

OP posts:
topnoddy · 29/09/2023 07:49

Potiphar · 29/09/2023 05:19

Remember your child will have to bear his name when you are long dead and incapable of further embarrassment. Also remember we don’t know how our children will turn out, what jobs they will end up doing etc. For this reason a fairly neutral name, class-wise, is generally better. A pipe-fitter called Sebastian Chomondly-Fortescue is going to be an object of ridicule. If you must go for a posh first name at least have an ordinary middle name so he can always use that.

https://soundcloud.com/linleymatt/posh-plumber-written-and

Posh Plumber, written and performed by Luke Wright

Recorded at the infamous Xmas Poetry Bash, Colchester Arts Centre, featuring Ross Sutherland, Luke Wright, John Cooper Clarke and Martin Newell http://www.lukewright.co.uk/

https://soundcloud.com/linleymatt/posh-plumber-written-and

MrsElijahMikaelson1 · 29/09/2023 07:53

Can’t tell without even a suggestion of the types of names you’re going for 🤷‍♀️

Are they a bit out there like Zowie or “posh” like Raphael/Sebastian?

NuffSaidSam · 29/09/2023 07:55

In West London it will be fine unless it is absolutely ridiculous.

If we're talking Ptolemy or Horatio or something, absolutely fine.

MammaTo · 29/09/2023 08:05

I always think girls can get away with names a little bit more out there. But with boys I do like more traditional or old fashioned names. Maybe some this with 1-2 syllables with having a long surname.

Arthur
Hugo
Theodore
Isaac
Henry
George

Loopytiles · 29/09/2023 08:13

Urgh, dislike baby name OPs who don’t give the names!

Startingagainandagain · 29/09/2023 08:17

@Potiphar

'A pipe-fitter called Sebastian Chomondly-Fortescue is going to be an object of ridicule. '

What a daft comment.

You are just showing your prejudices, that's all.

Torganer · 29/09/2023 08:43

I think that you may be over thinking it. Every other footballer has a double-barrelled surname and they don’t get ridiculed - the opposite in fact! There is a much broader range of names now, so unless you’re giving your child a name filled with symbols and numbers, I don’t think people will bat an eyelid - especially in London!

MyEyesMyThighs · 29/09/2023 08:59

If you don't know anyone with kids, it's highly likely that the names have the same connotations as when you were going.

Nobody would bay an eyelid at names like Sebastian or Nathaniel now, for example.

MockneyReject · 29/09/2023 09:14

It's really not unusual, to have an unusual name.

My children have a 16 year age gap, and I was 20 when my youngest sibling was born, so I've been through several generations of name trends.
My older son has a name that was unusual enough to be commented on, 30 years ago, but is very common, now.
My younger one has a name that was very common, very ordinary, in previous generations, but he's never met another child called it, in 13 years.

You just can't predict how name trends will go, so just give your child a name you love.

Enko · 29/09/2023 09:26

My son has what some call a pretentious name (Conrad) he has had school friends called Carradoc, Lysander (he goes by Sander) Bartholomew (Bart) and Hector . He has also had friends called. Oliver , Jack, William, Thomas and Joseph

The boys just used one another's names.

Personally I think give your child a name you love but not one that will be of hindrance in life (Good piece of Danish law there I wish we had it here) so no names that sounds rude.

But StJohn as an example used above. People just get used to it. Personally I like StJohn and Horatio too. I don't mind Tarquij either call me pretentious I don't care. My son likes his name and has never had it shortened.

AlwaysFreezing · 29/09/2023 10:41

The difficulty with a name like St. John is the pronunciation. Not everyone knows how it's pronounced. Which I think is the heart of the issue. Easy to pronounce names from their spelling is key.

ISeeTheLight · 29/09/2023 10:54

I mean. It depends on the name.
Someone I know (family of a friend) named their kid Maximilian Decimus (+double barrelled surname). I do roll my eyes a bit at that one. But I wouldn't say something to their face. Also the kid can choose to go as Max Surname-Surname later in life which sounds fine.

TheBirdintheCave · 29/09/2023 10:55

@Enko Ah I love Conrad! It's our top boy name at the moment :D

Enko · 29/09/2023 10:56

TheBirdintheCave · 29/09/2023 10:55

@Enko Ah I love Conrad! It's our top boy name at the moment :D

Thank you I love the name too. It has that everyone knows it but few know one vibe for me.

Enko · 29/09/2023 10:58

AlwaysFreezing · 29/09/2023 10:41

The difficulty with a name like St. John is the pronunciation. Not everyone knows how it's pronounced. Which I think is the heart of the issue. Easy to pronounce names from their spelling is key.

People are capable of learning how to say unusual names.

DonaNobisPacem · 29/09/2023 11:02

OP, if you don’t know anyone with kids you might be surprised by the wide range of names people now use. Names which might have seemed pretentious 30 years ago are now pretty common. Surprised that someone have Sebastian as a pretentious name up thread- there are millions of Sebs out there, it’s a completely normal name.

But no one can really answer without knowing the names. Lysander or Tarquin- fine. Moon Unit probably still a bit out there.

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