A reader named Whitney would like some opinions on the name Stanley. Here’s what she says:
My husband’s name is Constantine, and I thought it would be a subtly sweet way to name our boy after him. Unfortunately, we have received less-than-stellar feedback from a lot of friends and family members.
She also mentions:
I am a bit wary of going onto public forums, as I have seen many get effectively crucified for their name choices, and while it wouldn’t normally bother me, I’m just so attached to the idea of Stanley that I couldn’t stomach it well.
Personally, I think Stanley is a great name. And I love that it was inspired by Constantine.
But it’s certainly unstylish right now. This might be what’s behind all the less-than-stellar feedback.
A lot of people can’t fathom why a parent would use an unstylish name for a baby. They don’t understand why a parent would choose a fusty name like Clarence or Eugene when fashionable options like Caleb and Ethan are available.
(One day, of course, Caleb and Ethan will be out, Clarence and Eugene will be back in, and these people will change their tune accordingly. But I digress.)
Feedback that speaks to style or taste should always be put into context. Stanley isn’t a popular name at the moment, so it makes sense that people aren’t going to be too enthusiastic about it. This doesn’t mean that Stanley is a bad name; it just means that people’s opinions are influenced by prevailing trends.
Feedback that speaks to other things, though, is often much more valuable. Has anyone brought up unpleasant associations? Offensive nicknames? Vulgar initials? Trends come and go, but facts like these stick for life.
I’d bet that most of the feedback Whitney is getting falls into the first group. I think this type of feedback could be disregarded if Whitney is willing to acknowledge (and accepts the fact) that Stanley is simply not a popular baby name. Any feedback that falls into the second group, though, should be taken more seriously.
What do you think of the name Stanley?
P.S. Whitney didn’t ask for name suggestions, but I did want to mention Stanton and Thurstan as possible alternatives to Stanley. They have the same “stan” element, but neither has ever been in style (as Stanley once was) and therefore neither has ever fallen out of style (as Stanley now has). So people might find them more agreeable.