Unconventional Names, Unconventional Boys?

Hello berries – I want to write an article about all the nontraditional boys’ names favored by parents today, from [name]Aiden[/name] to [name]Logan[/name] to [name]Connor[/name], and what they say about how our image of masculinity has changed since most little boys got names like [name]Robert[/name] and [name]John[/name]. Did you pick one of these names for your son and how was it connected with your feelings of what kind of little boy…and eventually big boy and man…you wanted him to be? We can discuss here and/or you can email me at pam@nameberry.com.

[name]Hi[/name] [name]Pam[/name], This is an interesting topic! My husband and I chose [name]Kyle[/name] for our son, now almost 13 years old. We chose it because of its Gaelic roots, as our last name is very Irish. We imagined [name]Kyle[/name] as a friendly, athletic little boy with dark hair, a big smile and blue eyes. (It definitely fits our [name]Kyle[/name]!)
We also imagined [name]Kyle[/name] as an adult to be kind, handsome, athletic, smart, and successful. (Such as the actors [name]Kyle[/name] [name]Chandler[/name] and [name]Kyle[/name] MacLachlan, or physician/author [name]Kyle[/name] Pruett.)

Thanks! [name]Kyle[/name] is definitely in the first wave of these names. Did you choose it because you wanted your son to be different from the traditional Bobbys and Jimmys you grew up with? Did you have a vision of a new kind of boy – not feminine but not masculine in the conventional way? [name]How[/name] so and why? Anyone else??

We chose [name]Kyle[/name] because my husband’s favorite name was [name]Michael[/name], but we didn’t want our son to be known as [name]Mike[/name]. I wanted [name]Daniel[/name], and we didn’t want him to become [name]Dan[/name]. I wouldn’t say we had a vision of a “new kind of boy”. We really liked [name]Kyle[/name] because of its Irish roots, and also the fact that [name]Kyle[/name] has no nickname!

I noticed that the names we are discussing in this forum ([name]Connor[/name], [name]Ryan[/name], [name]Kyle[/name], [name]Aidan[/name], etc.) are all Irish/Scottish.

[name]Hi[/name] we are gay, and our first son has the softest name in the world. We tried to be more thoughtful the second time but our next son will end up with something on the softer end too. We notice loads of our friends and aquaintences with two-mum families also choose really soft boys names. We were certainly imagining loving someone soft, sweet and kind, non-violent and as an older man “gentlemanly”. We love the idea of a mummies boy, and can see we have nothing else to off-set this when choosing a boys name. In parenting style as a community there is less awareness of the concept of rough and tumble, and we notice as parents we are pretty gentle with our boys. In general they are really gentle, sensitive boys. [name]Leo[/name], [name]Arlo[/name], [name]Huey[/name], [name]Louis[/name], [name]Milo[/name], and [name]Finn[/name] are the sorts of names.

Beyond this, in standard couples I notice in naming discussions women do more naming. It is consultative, but they often have the final say, and this trends towards softer boys names, I think. When men were allowed to names sons without question I think more of the qualities they wanted in sons were captured in a name, and that makes for names that are sensible and strong.

We named our first son [name]Jude[/name]. We picked [name]Jude[/name] because we wanted a name that felt classic while still being fresh. It is not as popular as [name]William[/name] or [name]Thomas[/name] but does not have a trendy feel (at least to us). When I was pregnant with [name]Jude[/name] I felt like all of the boys names I were hearing were either very traditional or hyper masculine like [name]Gunnar[/name] and [name]Ryker[/name], which are popular where we live ([name]Texas[/name]). I think we have a very different idea on what it means to be masculine and I didn’t feel like I had to give my son an overly done name to achieve that, because honestly, teaching my son things like sensitivity and compassion are just as important to me as him being athletic and strong, and I wanted a name to reflect that, and we also loved the well established history and literary connections [name]Jude[/name] has, as well as the beloved Beatles song.

Now I am pregnant with our second son and are top picks are:

[name]Frederick[/name]
[name]Henry[/name]
[name]Oliver[/name]

We love this names because they are well established, but not as popular as other classic names. We also love that they are serious with energetic nicknames, like [name]Freddie[/name], or [name]Harry[/name] and [name]Hal[/name], and work well with [name]Jude[/name]. Actually, we love them all so much we’re going to have a tough time picking!

we intentionally chose an uncommon/unique name for our son beckett. both my husband and myself grew up with very common names so we wanted something that would stand out amongst his future classmates of jacob’s, aiden’s, madison’s and emily’s. we weren’t concerned with it being a “masculine” name at all…but now that so many boy names are going to the girls i almost wish we would have been! we just wanted something that portrayed our literary interests and still had some “spunk” to it. and that’s pretty much how we envisioned our son…someone who was smart and loved to read (like his parents) but also went against the grain a bit.

My sons have softer names: [name]Ethan[/name], [name]Aidan[/name], and [name]Julian[/name]. I think these names are versatile and do not lock them into a personality. An [name]Ethan[/name]/[name]Aidan[/name]/[name]Julian[/name] can be a doctor, lawyer or rock star and still pull it off. Names like [name]Jett[/name], [name]Axel[/name], etc. don’t leave much room for growth in every direction, in my opinion. I also try to raise my children to be loving, kind, considerate, open-minded, and make the right choices. I feel that unconventional names are a reflection on unconventional times- now more than ever we are seeing both genders taking on diverse roles. It only makes sense to see softer names on men and harsher, boy names on girls. Men are now expected to be involved fathers and partners who share their feelings, and women are encouraged to be career-driven and participate in athletics and business. I think names reflect the change of times.

While we dont have any children yet, I would say we both lean towards “softer” boys names. However, we dont care for the trendier celtic style. Instead we lean toward names like [name]Andreas[/name], [name]Sasha[/name] (although I wouldnt use this), [name]Lucian[/name], [name]Sebastian[/name], [name]Oliver[/name], and [name]Julian[/name]. I personally love names that sound “intelligent”. I heard somewhere that the women’s salaries in places like New [name]York[/name] City are actually starting to surpass mens. I know for a fact that most of the people entering into my field (science based) are largely female. And when I look at the gender distribution across my college professors I’ve noticed that majority of individuals receiving PhDs right now are females, whereas the majority of my older professors are male. My boyfriend made the comment that in todays society it seems perfectly acceptable for men to play beer pong and be pizza delivery boys until they are thirty. I’m not sure if its this way across the entire country, but its def. not what we want for our boys. I also dont want overly macho, testosterone driven, insensitive manly men either. I prefer a sensible balance between masculine and senstive, with an underlying air of inteligence and gentlemen like qualities, when it comes to both their personality and their names.

I recently made a new post at my blog about the changing masculine attitudes at my blog (and mentioned something along the lines of what leah_9 said about boys falling behind in terms of education):
http://millennialkelly.blogspot.com/2010/10/generation-gap-and-parenting-depends-on.html

Thanks everyone for these really insightful and fascinating thoughts. Mungojerry, that is an excellent point about women having the final say in naming and how that might influence this trend in particular. This is certainly a discussion worth continuing past this particular article.

[name]Pam[/name], you didn’t really ask for the opposite standpoint, but I find this dichotomy in boys names interesting, so I will give my opinion. When and if we have boys, they will be given strong, solid names that offer family connection and good role models. [name]Thomas[/name], [name]George[/name], [name]Roger[/name] and [name]Peter[/name] top our list. I guess it depends on your perspective and experiences, but I don’t want “new, soft” boys. I want boys who will fell connected to the wonderful men who came before them in our family, and feel a responsibility to live up to the honorable names that were chosen for them. I feel similarly about my girls’s names, and they are given family names as well, but particulary for boys in this day in age, I think they need all the role models and sense of family honor that they can get.
Interestingly, my husband would probably be more likely to agree to the “softer” names than I am.

Seeing as my son is now a father my views are probably out of date, however, we chose [name]Miles[/name] for our son’s name. At the time it was a very unusual name as the names of the day were [name]Andrew[/name], [name]Matthew[/name] and [name]Daniel[/name], but we thought it was brilliant to have a son with such an unusual and gorgeous name.

I think it is a very masculine name, a characteristic that made his name all the more appealing. The fact that it is a one syllable name not usually given a nn also made it more appealing to us and we also used it because we had a family connection.

My grandson is named [name]Cruz[/name] and I see this as a manly, trendy name of today but at the same time it is still an unusual name so there is no inclination in our family towards the so called ‘softer’ style names and we still like one syllable, unusual, and manly names.