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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:
OddKnittedSocks · 29/09/2023 20:54

One thing to consider is initials and first initial/surname combinations. My places of work have all been first initial/surname for usernames and it made for an unfortunate combination until I got married - nothing rude just not ideal. People were a bit surprised I changed my name until I explained!

So when we were expecting we made sure to stress test combinations on every way we could think of. There was a spreadsheet and I am not one bit sorry.

concertgoer · 29/09/2023 20:58

Don’t tell anyone your name choices until the baby is in your arms! …. When you’re telling them actual decisions of a person who’s here, and it’s all new and exciting, then they need to be polite about it.

people, especially those who haven’t yet had children don’t see a baby as real until they’re born & feel like they can make and vocalise judgements.

keep details like names to yourself and then make your happy announcement.

LaRevolution · 29/09/2023 21:05

I think calling someone else's name choice pretentious or try-hard is supremely knobbish.

Loved the link upthread to the Posh Plumber poem - brilliant 😂 thank you for that! My husband is a tradesman and has an old-fashioned name that is perceived as posh - I think some clients find it reassuring 😁

TeenLifeMum · 29/09/2023 21:35

I like Lysander but none round here - we have 3 main roads in our town and one is Lysander road so that’s more likely why than because it’s pretentious. I think anything goes with names these days. I did judge the mother of the dc called “Lollipop” but otherwise names are a real mix at dc school.

NewName122 · 29/09/2023 21:45

Lysander is not pretentious OP. I don't like it but it's not pretentious 🤣 I always thought Hugo sounded posh but everyone seems to be calling their child / dog that this year so it's common now.

NewName122 · 29/09/2023 21:48

Also double barrelled names aren't posh anymore at all.

JaninaDuszejko · 29/09/2023 21:52

People are going to judge you whatever. My DC are teenagers and some of their friends think our house is 'posh' (it's a 1920s extended semi). Choose the names you love.

Cressie2 · 29/09/2023 21:53

@Sevendayhigher I think in West London, anything goes. I know a Percy, a Wolf, a Maximus and an Olympia. Just go for it.

Stokey · 29/09/2023 22:32

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.

The boarding school part is not true in the modern era, nor when I went either over 25 years ago!

tolerable · 29/09/2023 22:39
  1. sod everyone. kid gony be called his\her given name far more often than the full shbang inc.double-barrel
  2. if anything,be aware of initials. eg A>S>S , H>I>V, D>S>S being the ones i HAD to NOT point out and carry secret guilt for noticing.
  3. pretencious.?..are you thinking "Harrod" or "Lidl" ? cos ya got options-eg .. H , Harry, Rod, Lidl- kinda restricts a bit more... eg...L .
DDMD82 · 29/09/2023 22:42

You choose what you like and ignore everyone. You’ll find most have a view on names until the baby is atucally here then no one will say anything to your face at least. My MIL openly said she didn’t like either of the names I choose for my children prior to them being here. But says she loves them now. Don’t know weather that’s because she’s got used to them and met them or she’s being nice because it’s too late 😂 never bothered me and my first borns name is a bit like marmite I got mixed responses

DosCervezas · 29/09/2023 22:46

Like most things there is a spectrum of extremes. Without naming names, some names are strongly associated with the lower end of the social class scale, whilst others are much more stately and posh. Trouble is when you're not genuinely traditional upper ( not middle) class using those names comes across, to use your words, as pretentious. I'd really hate to be thought of as that despite usually not caring what people think of me.
I am a great believer in the middle path and names reflect so much, so my kids all have very classless, but what we think are positive and.pleasabt names. Rather like people who drive a vw golf..the names give nothing away!

GrassWillBeGreener · 29/09/2023 23:19

When we were thinking of names for our first, initials / combinations were our first criteria (having a surname that ruled out several first initials immediately). I was interested in considering 2 middle names but DH felt that was a bit much - I think for him that was a little in the pretentious direction. We did have some fun thinking about possible boys names, I think Maxwell was under consideration (as a nod to the physicist rather than anyone else!), but ended up with very classic traditional names for our children which have worn well. Girls names were challenging as, again, DH felt some of my ideas were OTT.

Boarding school did not cross our minds when we were naming our children, nor when they started school. Somehow or other things changed and they both ended up at public schools (on bursaries) and had plenty of classmates with 2 middle names and a very interesting range of first names. Plenty with no middle name too though.

I actually think it would be much easier not to have to name your children until at least one has been in school for a couple of years - once exposed to a range of names in current use we would have found more options to agree on I think!

AmazingSnakeHead · 29/09/2023 23:40

I've met a Ptolemy and an Osiris from W London, I think you're fine!

I think the main thing is to give them a name that won't be a burden. For various reasons the first, middle and double barrell last names we wanted were all too much together, so we dropped one. Imagine it was your name - would it be ok? Honestly most names who are given with genuine love are good. The novelty wears off really fast, and you just think of it as their name.

AmazingSnakeHead · 29/09/2023 23:48

User3735 · 29/09/2023 02:28

Use Dark Greener names to check statistics, that will give you an idea if the names really are rare or not. First time parents who don't work with children are often clueless. Eg a first time parent of a baby recently told me they chose Isla because it was unusual but all of a sudden there are loads... No, Isla has been in the top 50 for 15 years and peaked 10 years ago. But wether or not you like Tarquin and Giles or something that used to be posh but is now very normal with all classes like Rupert, Sebastian and Theodore, name your baby what you like. One of mine has a very posh name and I'm working class. My children's names have different styles too, I don't care. I chose what I liked the sound of.

You're describing me! I gave my DS the most beautiful name, it fit that 'classic but you've never met one' feeling that others have mentioned. A timeless name, but unqiue in modern times. All our family and friends without kids commented that they'd never met one. Well, it tuns out it is literally a top 10 name, that at its height of popularity 5 years before DS was born, was number 6 in the country. I think that I still would have given him this name had I known, as it was the only one that both DH and I really loved.

Motherofjessie · 30/09/2023 00:02

Give the baby the name you love. There is such a huge amount of popular names, uncommon names now that really what matters is that you love it and so will the baby identify with it.

smilesup · 30/09/2023 00:03

It's about your child and their very long life, far beyond anyone judging you

Will the name make their life easier or more difficult.
Especially if they have any trouble fitting in. (And that can mean anything: slightly uncool or slightly different to the extremes of those)

Channellingsophistication · 30/09/2023 00:10

Choose a name you like but its about your child and their life with that name.

Also to bear in mind is anyone going to be able to spell it? its tedious spelling out your name all the time…

Lookingoutside · 30/09/2023 00:11

Pretentious? Pretending to what exactly?

‘Pretentious’ has to be one of the most overused, misunderstood words going.

People use it when something makes them feel less than, or uncomfortable with their lot in life.

Pick a name you love and forget everyone else. Do you want to stay friends with people who are rude to you?

Congratulations on your baby ❤️

mathanxiety · 30/09/2023 00:15

Don't pander to the insecurity of mean spirited people with small minds. You owe these parochial saddos nothing

Choose the name you love.

CapEBarra · 30/09/2023 00:22

A double barrelled isn’t posh so I wouldn’t worry about that. People from all backgrounds have them now. Conrad isn’t remotely posh, so unless you’re planning on calling him Peregrine or something I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

CrazyHamsterLady · 30/09/2023 00:39

A pet hate of mine is when people pick a name that has one ‘normal’ spelling but are so desperate to be edgy that they spell it differently. Eg Lysander spelled Lissander or something. I just think of the poor kid having to always spell is out for their whole life, everywhere they go 🤦‍♀️

PinkMoscatoLover · 30/09/2023 00:41

Gellhell · 29/09/2023 11:36

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

I’m interested to know why you’d judge someone more for a name like Jayden. How come you don’t like it?

JANEY205 · 30/09/2023 00:41

I’d cut the double barrel surname and that solves most of the battles! Double barrel last names nearly always sound pretentious and are a nightmare for the child saddled with them. It’s also not like they will add a third name if they ever got married so what’s the point of it?

MaudGonneOutForAFag · 30/09/2023 00:53

JANEY205 · 30/09/2023 00:41

I’d cut the double barrel surname and that solves most of the battles! Double barrel last names nearly always sound pretentious and are a nightmare for the child saddled with them. It’s also not like they will add a third name if they ever got married so what’s the point of it?

Thinking that using both parents’ surnames is ‘pretentious’ suggests a real misunderstanding of modern life, and the reason a mother may want her child to also carry her surname, not default to patriarchal norms.

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