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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:
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Stepbystepfan · 30/09/2023 07:19

Are we talking Bartholomew, Tarquin, Rupert, etc?

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ConsistentlyPeeved · 30/09/2023 07:21

Is one of the names Tarquin? That's the only name I'd see as a bit pretentious.

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PeppermintMandy · 30/09/2023 07:21

A double barrelled name absolutely doesn’t not indicate that Mum and Dad aren’t married. Not at all.

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AmberSeaglass · 30/09/2023 07:27

Some people will always have an opinion on a name and will voice it until there is a baby. Keep the names to yourself until baby is born and introduce baby with their name. No one usually has the audacity to pass judgement where it is not their place

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AlliWantIsARoomSomewheeeere · 30/09/2023 07:41

People will be a lot more judgy of names you tell them you're thinking of them than they would ever be once you actually name a child it.
My children have names that are rarer in the UK but not weird or out there either (teaching puts you off a lot names, so needed something a little different at least)
I would say weird names and spellings in an attempt to be "unique" is much more ridiculous than something that might be seen as a bit "posh"

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emziecy · 30/09/2023 07:44

It's your child, name he or she whatever tf you choose, it really isn't anyone elses beeswax. The only thing I would say is bear in mind your kid has to live with their name forever. So what might be 'cute' or 'edgy' or whatever on a baby/toddler/child might not be so cool for a grown adult in the real world.

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Newbutoldfather · 30/09/2023 07:45

The idea that it is your baby is totally wrong. IHe/she will be its own person soon enough and have to deal with the name you have given him/her.

Think of the fitting in at school or a potential workplace in the future. If you go for a totally pretentious name, they will probably discard it as soon as they can.

We went for names with multiple different shortenings, so they could choose a name to identify with how they saw themselves and if they wanted to fit in.

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VivaLaVolvo · 30/09/2023 07:50

PeppermintMandy · 30/09/2023 07:21

A double barrelled name absolutely doesn’t not indicate that Mum and Dad aren’t married. Not at all.

Didnt used to but for the past 25 odd years I would say that of the thousands of double (triple and even once quadruple) children we have had through school almost all have been for non married parents (85% plus)

Best one was
mums name-absent dads name

Mum married someone else
mums name-absent dads name-new husbands name

Mum split from new husband and met someone else - not married
came to ask us within a few weeks to change it to
mums name-absent dads name-new husbands name- new partners name

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saraclara · 30/09/2023 07:52

Enko · 29/09/2023 11:51

Gilbert is great.

Where I grew up, Gilbert means snot. As in "ha ha, you've got a big gilbert hanging from your nose"
it was my surname. It was not fun in primary school.

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emziecy · 30/09/2023 07:57

Not everyone lives in London.
Or even the UK.
There are actually other places in the world. You know, where people live? And procreate? 🙄

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AnnieClaire · 30/09/2023 08:08

😁

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Potiphar · 30/09/2023 08:10

The other thing with names is you never know who in the public eye with the same name will become famous.
About 18 years ago a friend of mine had a boy and called him “Boris”, after the song “Boris the Spider.” At the time Boris Johnson was just an obscure journalist.

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SpidersAreShitheads · 30/09/2023 08:15

I do think that we unconsciously judge names, and that's not a new thing. It's not just children, we do it to other adults too and that's something to consider when naming your child.

Many names have a class association, and it's hard to ignore that kind of subconscious judgement.

Look at how many people on this thread have mentioned Tarquin, for example. If your DD said "Can Tarquin come round to play?" you'd probably have a preconceived idea of what Tarquin is like.

Now replace the name Tarquin with Kai, or Tyler, or Coby. You might not like to admit it, but your expectations would be different.

It's nothing new, attaching personality and class judgements to a name has been around for ages - just look at Sharon and Tracey, or Darren and Kevin.

You should absolutely pick the name you like, just be aware that you might not escape ribbing and/or judgements. If that bothers you, pick something more ordinary which doesn't have a strong association either way.

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TheBirdintheCave · 30/09/2023 08:20

@saraclara Oh wow where was that? 😂 We're in Sussex and the main comments we get are from little old ladies who gush about Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables 😅

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Mumwithbaggage · 30/09/2023 08:28

Wanted to call no. 4 Ptolemy (there was an architectural archaeologist on TV while I was pregnant). DH thought he'd be ridiculed. No. 4 turned out to be a girl so end of argument. I wonder whether I'd have stuck to my guns. I like Tristram too but that's because I had a bit of a crush on Tristram Hunt. Such a lovely voice! I'm a sucker for a lovely voice.

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beyourownchampion · 30/09/2023 08:30

VivaLaVolvo · 30/09/2023 07:50

Didnt used to but for the past 25 odd years I would say that of the thousands of double (triple and even once quadruple) children we have had through school almost all have been for non married parents (85% plus)

Best one was
mums name-absent dads name

Mum married someone else
mums name-absent dads name-new husbands name

Mum split from new husband and met someone else - not married
came to ask us within a few weeks to change it to
mums name-absent dads name-new husbands name- new partners name

I work in a school and agree with the fact that most double barrelled named children’s parents are unmarried….
like vivalavolvo says, mothers just seem to add and take off ‘preferred names’ on a whim, depending on who they are with at the time. Poor kids don’t know whether they’re coming or going 😳

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itsmyp4rty · 30/09/2023 08:34

Lysander is lovely - if your names are as nice as that then I don't think it will be a problem ie Rupert, Sebastian, Tristan, Crispin.

If it's Tarquin, Algernon or Randolph though then I'd give it a big miss.

It really does depend on the name for me.

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RandomersAssociation · 30/09/2023 08:37

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

Well, this is nonsense. Hmm

(Perhaps you were joking?)

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leaves2345 · 30/09/2023 08:37

Don't tell people what names you are thinking about. We didn't. anyone asks, say you're not discussing it with other people.

Once the baby is born just announce what its name is. At that point they're more likely to keep their opinions to themselves. If they don't, they're rude.

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Walkaround · 30/09/2023 08:38

Don’t forget to consider the contractions that people will potentially use for a name - however difficult to shorten, people will always try to reduce a person’s name to one syllable, or one syllable with a y on the end. You need to like all versions of the name (or at least, your child does).

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Walkaround · 30/09/2023 08:43

Also bear in mind names that people can’t automatically work out how to pronounce from the spelling. You also need to like all the possible mispronunciations, or have a certain calm and patient personality which does not object to frequent correcting of mistakes, spelling the name out letter by letter, or enjoying being called the wrong name all the time.

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Bunnycat101 · 30/09/2023 08:44

The thing that I find quite interesting is that my girls both have very popular names by the ons stats but have never had a second one in their class. But with boys, the classic popular names do seem to have more duplication. There are lots of little boys called Charlie, James, Henry and George in all of the classes at our school.

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Halfemptyhalfling · 30/09/2023 08:45

I would avoid
Nigel: pompous with a cruel undertone
St John: constant having to correct pronunciation
A long name: you will have to write it millions of times
Name with same initial as you or your DP for shortening on calendars and avoid mix ups with the post

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BreatheAndFocus · 30/09/2023 08:45

Call your child what you want. What’s ‘pretentious’ one year will become perfectly usual the next. You’ll regret making your choice based on what other people might (or might not) think. Choose a name you like that suits your child.

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Dentistlakes · 30/09/2023 08:46

I really loved what would probably be thought a pretentious name (Ptolemy), because I had been watching a restoration program presented by someone with the name. My family and friends were horrified and pointed out my son would probably face ridicule at school because of it. So I didn’t use it in the end and tbh I’m glad I didn’t. It’s not just about us as parents liking a name but the child is the one who has to live with it.

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