Old-Fashioned Baby Names, or Old Ladies?

Filed under: Baby Names

Ask The Name Lady Baby Name Advice Column

I love pretty names for our daughter, but also "cute" and old fashioned names. My favorites are Mae, Delia, and Daisy. My husband says that all he can picture when he hears these names is a little old lady. He likes more familiar names like Elizabeth, Lisa, Sarah, or Samantha. I want something with more of that cute quality as well as an old fashioned feel, but also something that doesn't bring to mind an old lady.

- Yet another Jennifer

Curious, isn't it? Men seem fine with girls' names that are sleek or frilly, casual or formal. But the minute a name carries the slightest whiff of old lady, they run scared. I'll leave it to the reader to probe this psychological tidbit. In the meantime you need a name, and we can't have your poor husband checking his baby's head for gray hairs. So are there sweet, old-fashioned names that won't trigger grandma-phobia?

Let's take a closer look at your husband's favorites for a clue. The #1 thing that Elizabeth, Lisa, Sarah and Samantha have in common is that they're all common names among women your age. (That's not a bad thing for your husband to be drawn to!) Next up is that they're classically feminine names -- not androgynous, and not little-girly. (Again, hard to fault a mate for that kind of taste.)

Now let's fit that into your cute, old-fashioned dreams. Your secret weapon is nicknames. All of the names on your list -- Mae, Delia and Daisy -- can be used as either given names or nicknames. And there are plenty more like them: Maisie (Margaret), Sukie (Susana), Tess (Theresa). Dig into almost any traditional name, including some of your husband's favorites, and you'll find cute and quirky old nicknames to choose from.

Use the classic full name on the birth certificate for your husband's sake, and take the nicknaming rights for yourself. There's no rule that says you both have to use the same form of the name every time. Just promise not to fight, and your daughter will enjoy having different forms of her own identity to play with.

Did you and your partner disagree on names? Share how you resolved your differences! And if you have a question of your own to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.