UPDATE: We went for it! Baby Bo – Boris Andrew – is here, and we’re calling him Bo 100% of the time. My mom cried when I told her, and even though she was against the name at first, she’s so happy that we decided to use her dad’s name now. He’s a big chunk of a baby – almost 10 pounds! – and super chill. The name is perfect for him. Thanks for all the input. It helped so much!
Can we talk about Boris?
It was my grandpa’s name.
I know it’s old fashioned and Boris Johnson and so on.
But I kind of want to use it if this baby is a boy anyway.
My boyfriend wasn’t into it, but then he came up with the idea of calling him “Bo” for short.
Now I’m pretty set on it.
Other people, including my mom, are trying to talk me out of it.
Should I listen to them, or stick with Boris?
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your new baby!
The first thing that comes to mind is this: it’s amazing how often a fusty antique name feels fresh and new as soon as we meet a baby or toddler with that name.
Seriously. I’ve met toddlers named Harold and Edmund and lots of grandpa names. It makes me do a double-take, and then immediately move the name into my “yes please” column. There’s no reason to think that Boris wouldn’t be exactly the same.
It’s equally true that many of these children are named after important figures in their parents’ lives. Style is fine, but meaning outweighs style. If naming your son Boris brings back memories of your beloved grandfather, then odds are you won’t mind the occasional stunned reaction or snarky comment.
But let’s focus on Boris and Bo for a minute. Because I think that nickname really does make a difference. On a playground filled with kids named Beau and Bodhi and Boden, Boris-called-Bo will fit right in. It’s the best of both worlds – meaningful given name, contemporary short form.
All that said, let’s try to think of reasons you might want to avoid naming a son Boris.
Could it make it harder to name future children? Do you have a list of other names you might use for future children, or if this child is a girl? Does Boris feel like a style outlier? How about Bo? Boris and Everly seems a little awkward, though Bo and Everly seems perfectly reasonable.
Will you feel obligated to continue with family names? This can get tricky. While you are not obligated to name any child after anyone – ever – that doesn’t change the possibility that another loved one might be hurt but what she perceives as a slight.
Are there other reasons your mother might object? Families are complicated. It’s hard to know if your mom is reacting to the name, to a particular emotion, or to some combination of both. 99 chances out of 100 that’s completely her issue. But I mention it only because it might help explain her reaction – and possibly help you frame your response, too.
Lastly, I’m assuming you’re not in the UK, so Boris Johnson is not nearly as much of an issue. But I suppose that would sway my feelings, too – meeting a baby Boris in London would immediately make me wonder if he’d been named for the politician?
All of that said, I think I’m very much Team Boris. It’s a meaningful, unexpected choice with a cool, fits-in nickname. But let’s get some more feedback.
Readers, what do you think of the name Boris, with the nickname Bo?
Looking for some private #namehelp? My calendar is open for 45-minute phone consults. Book your time here!