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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:
Alloveragain3 · 29/09/2023 11:02

Big difference between Hugo, Miles, or Theodore and, say, Aristotle, Bartholomew, or Ignatius.

Having said this, choose the name you both love as long as it's not completely outlandish.

CarrotJanice · 29/09/2023 11:03

I say go for what you love. I totally wanted a Lysander.

TheBirdintheCave · 29/09/2023 11:04

Enko · 29/09/2023 10:56

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

That's exactly the sort of names we look for: familiar yet you never hear it. Our oldest child is called Gilbert which gets lovely reactions :)

Bbq1 · 29/09/2023 11:09

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.

I agree but people attach different connotations to names. I don't mind the name Conrad but I don't think it's remotely pretentious. So far, I've known 2 Conrads in my life. Differinh connotations are the very reason Op should nane her child whatever she chooses,

Sevendayhigher · 29/09/2023 11:18

Thanks for all your replies, it's so interesting to get others' perspective on this!

The reason I haven't shared the names is actually because I thought it sort of detracted from the point, because I know plenty of people won't care for them and some people will think they're pretentious - it was more about whether that should matter!

Having said that, one of the names on our list is actually Lysander because I've loved it since childhood (although DH is strongly drifting away from that, so we probably won't use it) - I'm so surprised so many of you have mentioned it here and am now wondering if it's far more popular/trending than we thought! Out of interest, does anyone know if this name has gained a lot of popularity recently? Name lists seem to suggest it hasn't but I suppose there's no way of knowing about whether it has during this year!

OP posts:
InTheRainOnATrain · 29/09/2023 11:24

The only thing I keep in mind is that in W London your choice of name might not be as unique/stand out as you’re thinking, which is fine of course, unless you would be bothered if it’s repeated in their class at nursery/school. For example we have 2 Octavias in one class but not a single Olivia in the whole school.

InTheRainOnATrain · 29/09/2023 11:27

I’ve met a few Lysanders actually. One is older and goes by Zander, another was in the Scott Dunn kids club on holiday and there’s one at DC’s school who I think is in Y3.

MargotBamborough · 29/09/2023 11:29

There's pretentious and then there's pretentious, OP. It's really difficult to judge without knowing the actual names.

If you like Lysander, Alexander has a similar feel to it but is less out there.

CompaniesHouse · 29/09/2023 11:30

There’s a Lysander toddler I know and a Lysander who goes to the local
school (I hear his name being screeched by teachers on playground duty!). I was surprised to know two, and surprised to read of more on this thread.

Notagains · 29/09/2023 11:35

There is such a diverse range of names in my GC school I cant imagine anyone be bullied about what they are called. I think that is a thing of the past unless maybe they are living in a very small community where everyone has very common names. In cities it is very unusual to find a class full of children with what are considered the more common English names.
If you love the name and can imagine calling him it use it, but don't tell anyone until he is born

Gellhell · 29/09/2023 11:36

I'd judge you more for a name like Jayden. But then my kids have quite posh names.

HippeePrincess · 29/09/2023 11:49

Mine probably have semi pretentious names, the eldests has risen in popularity this past decade particularly in its nickname form think along the lines of the full version of Teddy/Alby/Freddie. I’d personally judge the Jayden, Kayden, Hayden names more. Everyone prejudges to some extent regardless of what sort of name you’ve chosen, or on something entirely different.

Enko · 29/09/2023 11:51

TheBirdintheCave · 29/09/2023 11:04

That's exactly the sort of names we look for: familiar yet you never hear it. Our oldest child is called Gilbert which gets lovely reactions :)

Gilbert is great.

midlifecrash · 29/09/2023 11:52

I think in London to get anything really unique you would have to go back several centuries and revive something like Hengist or Aethelstan (these are probably trending as I type)

Enko · 29/09/2023 11:58

Bbq1 · 29/09/2023 11:09

I agree but people attach different connotations to names. I don't mind the name Conrad but I don't think it's remotely pretentious. So far, I've known 2 Conrads in my life. Differinh connotations are the very reason Op should nane her child whatever she chooses,

Nor do I but I have had people outright tell me it was. Their issue not mine I love the name and ds likes his name too.

@Sevendayhigher. Lysander is a great name. I would say it has risen in popularity lately but not anywhere near the top 100. You would need to check the government statistics to see how high it has gone but I do not think it is particularly outstandingly unusual.

TheBirdintheCave · 29/09/2023 11:59

@Sevendayhigher DarkGreener is your friend here. I'm not sure when the 2022 stats will be up there, it's normally September that the ONS release them so it can't be long now :) There were only 6 Lysanders born in 2021 so it's not on the rise at all.

DigbyTheDigger · 29/09/2023 12:00

I love Lysander and Conrad. I imagine the former with long eyelashes and very nice forearms, and the latter with a lovely back-of-neck looking fabulous in a woolly jumper.

Stressfordays · 29/09/2023 12:05

Name your child what you want. There are so many unusual names out there these days, people won't bat an eye. I have 1 very popular boys name (top 5 most years), he was my eldest and I had no clue how popular it was. I do love it though. My middle boy is still a top 100 name but further down the list. My daughter also has a very popular name but I've loved it since I was a child.

ReadRum · 29/09/2023 12:09

There is absolutely nothing you can do to stop people being rude about your child’s name, because it doesn’t depend on your child’s name and your social class, it depends on their rudeness and stupidity. Use the name you love and work on stopping caring.

Angrycat2768 · 29/09/2023 12:14

I chickened out of calling my DS1 what I wanted because I thought it was a bit too out there. His brother has a more ' pretentious' name. Now I regret not calling DS1 what we wanted. He finds his name boring, there were 3 people in every school he went to with the same name, and his brothers name is far more interesting. He wants to change it, but his middle name is boring, too!

Longdarkcloud · 29/09/2023 17:04

OP if you like Lysander, what about Leander?

Saschka · 29/09/2023 17:22

Conrad is an entirely normal name around here (SE London, lots of German families locally, Casper is also very popular).

Lysander is not a name that would raise any eyebrows either.

UsingChangeofName · 29/09/2023 17:41

As everyone says, difficult to know what you mean by pretentious, without knowing the names, but remember it isn't you that is going to have to live with the name all your life.
Parents will get about 10 years of where they are introducing their child. The child could have 80 or 90 years of living with the name.
So yes, absolutely your 'right' to name a child what you want. Absolutely your 'right' to not care what anyone else thinks, but, depending on quite how 'out there' these names are (and I am guessing pretty much so as you didn't start a thread asking for opinions on the names), then think about how you were as a teenager, or a shy junior at work, or in a waiting room when they call out the next name on a list, or where your name was announced in public, and think how you would have felt if you had a name that made you really stand out.

Fifiesta · 29/09/2023 17:46

@ Tumbler2121
Double-barrelled names do not necessarily mean you are not married. There are many reasons for having one. Such as when future parents want to retain their professional names, so that they are both represented by their offspring.

Mimilamore · 29/09/2023 17:49

Use the names you love... I despair at the inability of some people to think outside the box and name their children for the approval of the general consensus rather than for themselves and there child. I swear there would be 10 MS acceptable names if the threads on here are anything to go by!

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