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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:
PinkMoscatoLover · 30/09/2023 00:55

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?

How do double names sound pretentious?😂 there are many people out in the world who’s parents aren’t married and both parents wanted to share a surname with their child. My siblings and I have double barrelled surnames and they’re not a nightmare at all. Just apart of our identity like anyone else’s surname.

I can’t see how having a double name is pretentious!

lucyhadness1996 · 30/09/2023 00:57

This reply has been deleted

This has been deleted by MNHQ for breaking our Talk Guidelines.

PinkMoscatoLover · 30/09/2023 01:04

@lucyhadness1996 who are you talking too?

lucyhadness1996 · 30/09/2023 01:08

This reply has been deleted

This has been deleted by MNHQ for breaking our Talk Guidelines.

PyongyangKipperbang · 30/09/2023 01:36

Can't judge on what is "pretentious" or otherwise but I have named all six of mine by the advice my grandmother gave me. She was very much working class and proud of it and she said "If you cant put a title in front of the name, dont give it to your child"

And she is right!

Bit more give on girls names with that one admittedly but it does work!

Jacopo · 30/09/2023 01:55

When people use double barrelled names - which is fine of course - what happens at the next generation? If Tarquinius Smith-Harris has children with Ithaca Raji-Trump are their children the Smith-Harris-Raji-Trumps? What do they do?
And the mind boggles about the grandchildren’s names…

mathanxiety · 30/09/2023 01:55

@PinkMoscatoLover

That poster has been posting weird and offensive garbage all over MN all night.

Please report and ignore.

ladycardamom · 30/09/2023 02:08

I'm British born but have lived overseas for many years. My old school friend in the UK said my son's name was posh in England. I didn't realise because I'd never heard of it when I lived there. There isn't a class system as such in my adopted country, so definitely not posh here. TBH, if I still lived in the UK, I might not have chosen the name if I thought it would be seen as pretentious. I realise that's my own working class insecurities though.

MysteryBelle · 30/09/2023 02:40

Choose the names you love, no matter what they are, no matter what anyone else thinks.

I think the only time people go wrong is when they pick a name pretty much based on what’s trendy, thinking they like it but were influenced by what’s suddenly deemed ‘in’, on what is considered unique by the powers that be but won’t be in two years because it’s trendy so it will get used a lot.

Lysander is a strong famous Greek name. Why not. Alexander is one of the best classic and historical names. Classics are used a lot but because they’re timeless in that they are used consistently, no one rolls their eyes at them.

I think it’s funny that names that I think of as unattractive old woman names, and quite unappealing in the sound and look of the names themselves like Edith etc, they are ‘trendy’ and people jump on the bandwagon. Haha.

MysteryBelle · 30/09/2023 02:44

Hey everyone, so what if the name sounds posh. ‘Pretentious’ or whatever. Every single person deserves a grand name if that’s what the parents love and choose. Every single human being is equal in worth and dignity. Anyone who deems a name ‘too good’ or too posh for anyone else’s child is a mean spirited jerk in my opinion.

DiscoBeat · 30/09/2023 02:46

Lysander looks nice written down but I would worry about 'Lice' as a nickname...
My husband liked Aubrey for ours but I vetoed it as I thought it sounded pretentious.

user1492757084 · 30/09/2023 03:21

I know of a Lysander and Leander in a friend's family tree. I consider them not pretentious but names from the 1900s era - they have attractive meanings and nick names too.
Sandy
Lea
Anders
Do you like Sandford?

PyongyangKipperbang · 30/09/2023 03:25

DiscoBeat · 30/09/2023 02:46

Lysander looks nice written down but I would worry about 'Lice' as a nickname...
My husband liked Aubrey for ours but I vetoed it as I thought it sounded pretentious.

Classic case of overthink.

I remember a thread, cant remember if it was on here or another forum but a mother was vetoing a name she loved on the basis that initials would be PLEB. the vast majority pointed out that hardly anyone would know the middle names so wouldnt make the connection, a fair few didnt even know what pleb meant much less where it came from. But she went with the name she didnt like "just in case".

Storminthesky · 30/09/2023 04:42

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!

I actually really love the name Lysander and I'm as about as common as they come, I wouldn't personally think anything of it and I'm from a small town up north. People make such a big song and dance about unusual names the child will get bullied etc. But both my DD's have unusual names more so DD2 and no bats an eye, also half the kids in my DD1s class have considerably off the board names and nothing is sai either.
But in future don't tell anyone what you've possibly picked either. Just say you've got a few in mind but aren't certain yet. And don't want to spoil the surprise until baby is here.

Good luck OP am sure you'll choose the right name when the time comes and congratulations xx

MerryMarigold · 30/09/2023 05:13

I work with kids. We have a Calista and her baby sister is Ophelia. They are not at all posh people - but I think they are beautiful names! Unusual but classic. I think her mum is amazing for thinking of them and naming them that. Where we are in Essex we get lots of popular names (2 Elsies last year!), 'cool' names (River, Vogue) and ordinary names (Jessica, Hope, Freya) but I've never come across another Calista!

Chocolatefreak · 30/09/2023 05:24

Lysander is Shakespearien, from A Midsummer Night's Dream. It's lovely but yes maybe live for short!!

I married a Nordic man and almost gave my son a name from a Nordic epic poem that was extremely outlandish! Didn't in the end and he was extremely grateful I didn't!

GemmaJen · 30/09/2023 06:13

We're in a similar boat, baby boy due in a few weeks. Choosing a name has been hard, girls names seen so much easier. We've also a double barrelled surname, I love the name Aurelius, nickname Ray, but admit we're not using it because it does sound a little too much. I couldn't imagine them being called that at secondary school and not getting a hard time for it. If we were able to afford private school it would feel absolutely fine though, which is ridiculous. I feel you can get away with more elaborate names on girls, I'd have no issue calling a daughter Aurelia for example.

Luckily we've found a name we adore, it's unusual, with lots of nickname options but doesn't have the pretentious sound when added to our surname. I'm still going to give them a more common (as in frequently used/more popular) middle name so that when older they have a choice if they'd prefer something less unusual.

Yes we should be able to call our children whatever we like, but sadly society is what it is. A name has to be for life and if you can't imagine them being an adult with that name I think it should matter. On the same note though, with naming conventions of recent years with Fox, Bear, Hendrix, Enzo etc... Becoming popular in the UK I think what's considered a normal name will change.

LT1982 · 30/09/2023 06:33

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!

I think you should be rhinking about the réactions the child will face, not how people will react to you

LT1982 · 30/09/2023 06:46

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.

Élisabeth is à lovely name, how could anyone have anything negative to say about that?

KateRose · 30/09/2023 06:52

My cousin was given an ancient rare name by my lovely aunt and he and his wife have had 4 children to whom they gave very lovely but ‘plain’ names as he felt that he was hindered by having such an ‘out there’ name. He is very cool and well adjusted but said he felt he would have made (even) more friends had his name not been so strange. I wanted wonderful grandiose names for my children but am thankful I tempered that now. Good luck with naming, it is a minefield to navigate.

luckylavender · 30/09/2023 06:59

Part of becoming a parent is accepting that everyone has an opinion and people can be quite rude about things. This is the first step!

Ggttl · 30/09/2023 07:05

In London schools you can get away with almost any name. Not all children can carry off a name though, so I would avoid Aphrodite, Horatio type names.

Another thing to bear in mind is that in every workplace I have been in, people judge names before they meet a person(shocking as that will be for some mumsnetters to hear) so you might want to think about how the name will come across on job application forms.

Basketofbobbins · 30/09/2023 07:10

As a life long Jilly Cooper fan, I adore the name Lysander. I think she has a grandson named Lysander which I always thought was a wonderful tribute.

Go for a name you love, own it and don’t bat an eyelid at those who question it.

With all the names available in the world I have no idea why anyone would give their child a name that it’s likely several other classmates or, later, workmates, would have.

Peacendkindness · 30/09/2023 07:12

My son has a family name that I love but some people might regard as pretentious however, it is his great great grandfathers name.

It has a nice shortened version of the name and I thought he might adopt it when he was older. He hasn’t and insists on his full name. I thought his name might be out of place with his peer but in his class and friendship group there is the ‘usual’ and some more ‘obscure’ ones eg George, Thomas, Benjamin, Ethan, William, Douglas and then Rufus, Montgomery, Huxley, Hugo, Quentin, Orion, and a few more which would out me completely ….. the boys just don’t care they all don’t look at their name as pretentious just their name. Mine has a double barrelled surname as well.

if you like it use it.
yes think about spelling it and if you like shortened versions eg Douglas in my sons group gets called Doug, Douglas, Douggie etc

Museya15 · 30/09/2023 07:16

This is madness but this is what people are like.

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