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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:
Mimilamore · 29/09/2023 17:51


Aozora13 · 29/09/2023 17:52

I have been reassured by MN that my DCs names are “try hard” and “trendy” - if you love the name then go for it! My main tests were “would I feel like a twat yelling it across the playground?” And “would they feel like a twat introducing themselves as an adult?” I really like Lysander. And Conrad and Casper (SE Londoner, can you tell?!)

hotpotlover · 29/09/2023 17:59

I wouldn't listen to what people are saying, people will always have an opinion.

We are having a girl in December, who will name "Elisabeth".

We already had some negative feedback, but we don't care.

Unless you're not naming your son "Adolf" or "Teddybear", I think you will be fine.

Mirabai · 29/09/2023 18:08

Love Lysander and Conrad.

I live in W.London no-one would blink an eyelid at either or Balonz for that matter.

I have a friend called Lysander who went to a tough comprehensive. He was named after the plane not the Shakespearean character or the Spartan leader. I once asked him if he ever had any stick for his name at school and he said “never.”

Stokey · 29/09/2023 18:14

I knew a couple of Orlando's at school which I class with Lysander as Shakespearean posh. They never got teased.

My kids' schools in London have lots of weird and wonderful names that would definitely raise an eyebrow. None of the kids seems remotely bothered. Mine have reasonably unusual names, one of which could be considered posh, but doesn't seem to bother her. They've both been the only ones with their names in their respective schools but are outside the top 100, rather than completely unique.

Riverlee · 29/09/2023 18:17

Choose a name you love or you’ll have name regret.

Names like Grace and Lily were once considered really old fashioned, but look at them now.

MaudGonneOutForAFag · 29/09/2023 18:24

About a third of DS’s primary school class have two surnames, for the perfectly ordinary reason that parents want their child to bear their surname. I think Mn is a bit reactionary on this point — I barely know anyone of my generation who changed her name on marriage, and most of the children use both parents’ surnames as a matter of course.

I also think Mn can be a bit ‘white lower-middle-class suburb’ about names. If you live somewhere multicultural, there’s no base line for an ‘out there’ name, far less a ‘pretentious’ one. DS has an unusual name which was v rare in the UK, where he was born, an old man’s name in another country we’ve lived in, and as ordinary as Tom or John in another. Your child may move anywhere in the world.

Totalwasteofpaper · 29/09/2023 18:24

Lysander is fine.. he'll be known as Sander or Zander..

Honestly go for what you want pretentious is better than eeviee or some of the other misspelled non name names you see on here

ttcat37 · 29/09/2023 18:27

I’m 5 months pregnant and we have really struggled with names. My DH wants to pick something outlandish and I like plain names. IMO naming a child should be about finding a name that will do them for life that you like. I don’t have to love it. I don’t want them to burdened with something stupid. I wouldn’t pick something silly even if I loved it, because it’s not my name and the poor sod has to live with it forever.

Snkt · 29/09/2023 18:28

We were the first from our friends to have a kid and we didn’t and still don’t give a fu**k what people think. We never shared the name with anyone of one our friends or family because we didn’t want anyone’s opinion.
the only think I would say is make sure the name can’t be easily turned into a bad joke that gets your kid bullied at school (consider all languages they would be surrounded by).

usernother · 29/09/2023 18:29

GasDrivenNun · 29/09/2023 00:46

St John by any chance?

I've loved that name ever since I read Jane Eyre and found out how it was actually pronounced. Wouldn't give it to a child though.

AvocadotoastORahouse · 29/09/2023 18:33

HeddaGarbled · 29/09/2023 00:24

People being rude to your faces is not as important as making your child a laughing stock. If you think they’ll be OK at school and in your social circle with your chosen names, go for it. If you think you’ll be making them a target for bullying and ridicule, don’t.


BrotherViolence · 29/09/2023 18:37

Tumbler2121 · 29/09/2023 00:20

When you say double-barralled, is this set in stone? Used to mean posh, now just means mum and dad aren't married!

Apart from that, name the baby something that you like, and won't be embarrassed to shout out through Waitrose/Tesco/Asda when he/she runs off!

Or that the mother didn't change her name when marrying (that's why my kid has a double barreled surname and why e.g. basically all Spanish people do).

IDoughnutKnow · 29/09/2023 18:37

I called my DC by the names I loved. They are sneered at on MN for being "posh". I still think they're the best names ever.

If your DC go to boarding school, OP, they'll be known by their surnames or variations on their surnames anyway.

IDoughnutKnow · 29/09/2023 18:42

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.

This is great fun. I've just been reassured that my DC's names are still only in the top 3000. Which is surprising, really, as they're not outlandish names or made-up names. Clearly just not common.

AvocadotoastORahouse · 29/09/2023 18:45

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.


queenMab99 · 29/09/2023 18:52

The trouble is, with any name, even the most ordinary, something can happen which changes the public perception of it. I thought I had picked a sensible name for my son, which began with J, our surname began with R, so he was JR. Then when he was about 7 the American soap opera Dallas became very popular, with the horrible character JR Ewing, and he was teased endlessly about being JR! And think of all the Karen's squirming with embarrassment 😳

AvocadotoastORahouse · 29/09/2023 18:55

That dark greener link is so interesting. I put in my sons supposedly super popular top ten name (oh you can't use that, there will be 3 in every class, it's everywhere, we were told) but it's still less than 1% of all babies named so it really shows how much more diversity there is now with a much wider range of names used now.

Bax765 · 29/09/2023 19:01

Lysander doesn't sound at all pretentious to me.

One piece of advice though... don't share names ahead of having your baby! Choose the name you love without everyone else weighing in with their opinion. Once the baby is born, everyone will have to be positive about the name and even the sceptics will get used to it pretty quickly.

Unicorntearsofgin · 29/09/2023 19:01

I don’t think anyone would bat an eye at Lysander.

My Dd is friends with a Lysander, Darwin, Atticus and Caspian and none have seemed outside the ordinary.

Mumofthree86 · 29/09/2023 19:11

My son is Edgar. We never really cared what anyone thought, and I always knew he could be Ed/Eddie if he disliked it. I don’t know if it’s posh though, just old!

CurlewKate · 29/09/2023 19:17

@AvocadotoastORahouse I don't think people understand what "in the top 10" actually means I think they think it means 1 in every 10 babies will have that name. When it's actually more complicated than that. Because maths.(or something.) I had a Grace at the time when it was number 1 for girls- and she only ever met one other!

powent · 29/09/2023 19:22

I chose a pretentious name for DS1 (Shakespeare posh). I didn't care what people thought and just liked the sound of it. He's an adult now and has been fine with it, though he's autistic and quirky anyway and it's not been a problem. We're in London too and I definitely think more unusual names are more acceptable here.

One thing I slightly regret about it is that his full name is very unique (ethnic surname). So it could be easy to find him online if he had to put his name on a work website for example, or if he was involved in sport or a hobby. Although he's not in that position right now, and he's careful not to share his real name online.

Daisybuttercup12345 · 29/09/2023 20:13

Burlapandbodger · 29/09/2023 01:07

^^ Absolutely this!

It’s odd that your “worst case scenario” is regretting not going for a name that you love, rather than your child potentially going through school being teased and ridiculed.

If friends have openly made comments to your face about your chosen name, then it seems likely that it is very unusual or
controversial in some way.

Bluntly you need to stop thinking about what other people will think of you and put yourself in your child’s shoes.

I had a list of names ready that I adored for my dds before they were born, but I ended up not using any of them because they sounded awful in the language of the country we were living in at the time.

A name I think should be a compromise between something you love, something that works where you live, and something that will be comfortable for your dc.

I agree with this reply. You child has to live with the name for potentially 90 years or more.

Northernladdette · 29/09/2023 20:48

People are much less likely to be rude about your name choice if you tell them after the baby has been born and named 😊

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