Last-Minute Apprehension

Our new arrival is due this week, and of course I'm second-guessing the name decisions we made months ago. I'm trying not to mention this to my husband yet, because I don't want to raise unnecessary doubts in his mind, so I'm hoping you guys can talk me through it.

My husband fell in love with the name Pippa--and I love it too--but I insisted that we need something more "formal" on the birth certificate to give her more options. We decided that Penelope is the best option. Neither of us *love* it, but we don't dislike it, and if she wanted to be Penelope, Nell, Penny, etc down the line, I think we'd be fine with it. However, we don't have any intention of using it day-to-day.

Now I'm having doubts about whether using Penelope is wise. I read the comments here on another thread about people who feel disconnected with their legal first name because it was never used, and I wonder if that would be an issue. I was in another discussion with people who go by their middle names, and they had the same issue, as well as not being able to get their "preferred" name on marriage certificates, passports, drivers' licencses, etc. I can't decide if those hassles are worth the benefit of having a "formal" name. In practice, it shouldn't be any different than Elizabeth-called-Betty or Josephine-called-Posy, right?

I think I'd feel a lot better about using just-Pippa on the birth certificate if we had chosen a middle name that I loved, that she could use if she wanted. Since our older daughter has an family name, we wanted to do the same, so we combined her grandmas' middle names (Marie + Ann) to make Marianne. It's not exactly our taste, but we thought it would be a nice gesture. Turns out one of the grandmas despises the name (for style reasons) and has spent months trying to get us to choose something else. Of course, the other grandma loves it, so I don't feel like we can just decide not to honor her after all. If I were able to go back in time, I'd pick June as her middle-- it's my birth month, and I think it makes a beautiful back-up name if she doesn't like Pippa.

Ok, so give me your thoughts. Am I just overthinking this? Should we ditch Penelope? I feel like just-Pippa is a more daring choice than I'm completely comfortable with, and I like the safety of a top-50 name to fall back on, but I don't want it to be a lifelong hassle for her.


By mk
May 17, 2016 3:46 PM

Pippa is a great name and I think you should use that if it is what you prefer, rather than choose some other name that you sort of like just because it sounds more formal.

May 17, 2016 3:51 PM

I agree, Pippa is lovely. And Pippa Marianne is a fun and beautiful name. Grandma who doesn't like the middle name will come around when there's a cute little baby named after her!

For the record, both of my siblings have a formal name and have always been called a nickname. Because my parents NEVER used the formal name both my brother and sister don't feel like their given name is actually 'their' name. Especially my brother. And their nicknames aren't like Rob for Robert, they're stand-alone names on their own, but not the given name.

So I would say, if you like the name Penelope and would interchange the formal name with the nickname Pippa so that your daughter would easily identify with both and know they both are 'her' name, then do the formal name with the nickname. But if you only have Penelope to give her the option of having something formal, but would call her Pippa 99.9% of the time, go with just the nickname. Pippa is classy and fun all at once.

May 17, 2016 4:03 PM

I usually prefer a formal first name, but only if you love it. If you never plan to call her Penelope and don't love the name, I'd use Pippa. 

May 17, 2016 5:50 PM

Agreed! Pippa is enough of a stand-alone and non-cutesy enough that I think it works just fine as-is.

May 17, 2016 4:28 PM

I think Pippa stands on its own quite well. I definitely wouldn't put it in the same category with names like Bitsy or Buddy that are so informal/infantilizing that they don't sound like responsible grown-ups. Pippa I think is fresh and fun, but still sufficiently sophisticated-sounding for a resume. And of course she could always just use PM Lastname.

If you feel you really *must* stick with Penelope Marianne, is there any chance you could add a second middle name? You might feel better about her overall name if some element of it is a name you unequivocally love, rather than two compromises.

May 17, 2016 8:09 PM

I'm one of those people who cautions against giving a formal name that you have no intention of using. I've seen too many instances of people lamenting that practice that I think it's better avoided, if possible. It often causes discomfort in a person when he or she feels little or no connection to the birth certificate name, and then, as was said, what name do you put on your credit card? Your diploma? Driver's license? 

I understand your struggle, because I'm someone who is drawn to long names and I like when a name offers a variety of nickname options, as Penelope does. But if you have no intention of using the name, I'd say don't do it. Don't do it to her, and don't do it to yourself. You may then feel pressure to use her full name to avoid the above-mentioned issue, which will cause stress that you certainly don't need. I use my daughter's full name about 50% of the time and I love it every time I say it. If you don't love the full name but the short version makes your heart sing, that's probably the name for you. Sometimes, what we end being happy with isn't what we thought we wanted, and maybe your little girl should just be Pippa.

In my mind, Pippa is on par with Lola. Both feel like nicknames, but can certainly be used on their own, too. 

May 17, 2016 8:55 PM

I understand the last-minute doubt that can come when an arrival is near! First off, congratulations and good luck during this exciting time.

My thoughts are that you sound like you don't really like Penelope that much, and that it's just a placeholder for Pippa. I'd say that would be fine if it were a case like Elizabeth and Betty or William and Bill where the nickname was commonly associated with the formal name. But I've only heard of Pippa as a nickname for Phillipa. I may have missed this in the earlier discussion, but is there a reason you didn't choose that name? With a less-intuitive connection between Pippa and Penelope, I don't see a lot of motivation for using the latter, and would probably go with Pippa on the birth certificate. 

May 17, 2016 10:15 PM

Pippa is currently more common for babies in the US than Philippa and Filippa combined. I take that as proof that it can stand on its own. As much as I prefer names with options, if you don't care for the formal name enough to actually use it, then perhaps the standalone nickname should be the standalone name.

Any interest in Pippilotta as the formal name? :-)

May 18, 2016 2:55 AM

I am very much drawn to formal names with less common nicknames, so I completely understand the appeal of Penelope to Pippa. maybe to take some pressure off, you and hubby can agree to wait to meet her. If she looks like a Penelope, so be it. If you know she's just Pippa when you meet her, that's ok too.

As for middle names, perhaps the grandmother who doesn't care for Marianne can wait for the next baby, and you can honor just one of them with this baby. If Marie is the grandma in love with the namesake, perhaps the middle name could be Rosemary, or even just May? Both have the vintage appeal that June has. If Ann is the grandmother to honor, how about Annette (which does sound better with Penelope because of the double a sound), Julianne, or Diane? 


May 18, 2016 3:06 AM

If you don't love Penelope, I wouldn't use it. Partly because I don't see a clear connection between Penelope and Pippa other than the P. The only name that clearly links to the nn Pippa is Philipa; otherwise, it seems like you can name her anything and call her Pippa. Paulina seems closer to me than Penelope, but I don't think you need a longer name at all. 

May 18, 2016 3:49 AM

Go for Pippa if that's what you love. 

I use a nn with no connection to my first name and it gets confusing for things like resumes and credit cards or going to the doctor. To me those are minor inconveniences that come up so rarely it doesnt bother me. I've been called both my entire life, so I feel connected to both. That probably helps me, but I know plenty of people who identify as both. My brother uses his middle name exclusively but if someone says his first name he turns because that's his name too. It can go either way. 

If you are still unsure, I second the idea of waiting until you meet her. I know that's helped me with mine. 

May 18, 2016 9:52 AM

My first thought was also Philippa as a formal first name for Pippa.

On the Marianne front... what about other variants which combine Marie and Ann?  For example, Marion, Maran, or Annamarie?  I'm rather inclined to think that if you're trying to honor your two grandmothers and one doesn't like the name.... she is sounding very ungracious. I would be inclined to not bend over backwards to include her name.

When I was in the last days of my pregnancy - having-a-baby-jitters took over and settled into second-guessing my name choices.... I would beweare of that!  The anxiety you're feeling may be settling on the baby name, but if that's not the real issue than don't let that drive your decision or you'll regret it once you're feeling a bit mroe confident again.


May 19, 2016 11:47 AM

Hi, Emerald Bee! I'm weighing in again in case the ink on the birth certificate hasn't dried yet, because I am *also* experiencing last minute apprehension, so I have huge sympathy (although I've got more like 8 weeks until the due date, so I have somewhat more time to dither).

Like you, the call name isn't up in the air for us. (We're debating spellings of Wilfred versus Wilfrid to the point that we bought an extra I for crib letters to allow us to keep dithering longer, ha.) And that's the first thing I would do -- know that your baby is baby Pippa no matter what, and that you feel great about that.

What goes on paper is really more of a formality. While I am *generally* in favor of using the longer name on the birth certificate, I think that's only the case if you actually want to at some points use the longer name and if there is a clear connection between the long name and the nickname that most people can see. Otherwise, I think you have the risk of no one ever using Pippa because they don't get WHY it's the call name. My daughter is a part-time Tamsin and people have been having a hard time understanding why I sometimes call her that, and there I think there *is* a well established connection between the long form and the nickname, just no one knows about it.

I think I'd consider Pippa to be very much like Tamsin -- most people aren't aware it's a nickname for anything, and I think it's a lovely standalone name although it's originated as a nickname. (They're also comparably British, kicky names.) We did go with Th0masina on the birth certificate because I love love love that name and love using the full four syllable clunker so it was like getting two names we loved in one -- but if I had NOT love love loved both, I think it would have made much more sense to use Tamsin, especially after hearing the confused reaction Tamsin as a nickname gets from people.

So, anyway, I would go with Pippa Marianne in your situation because my general preference for long forms is overridden by other factors here. Penelope Marianne nicknamed Pippa seems needlessly complicated (and confusing to people) if you really just want to call her Pippa, given that Penelope is not an honor name or being selected to fulfill some specific family tradition. Standalone Pippa does not seem like an overly daring choice to me, just a great one!

May 19, 2016 2:09 PM

My own name experience might be relevant here.  From birth I was exclusively called Mimi and didn't know that my name was really Miriam until I went to school and was so addressed by the teacher.  I was devastated and went home in tears.  It took me a long time to adjust to Miriam, but I was eventually very happy to be able to be Miriam in formal  and professional contexts.  I am still Mimi to family and friends, except for a few friends who use Miriam because they think that Mimi is ridiculously cutesy for an adult.  My sister was Suzi until she went to university and ditched the Suzi for Suzanne. She is now exclusively Suzanne.   My mother had a cutesy family nickname which she despised and jettisoned when she married and moved to a new town.  Her sisters and cousins continued to call her the despised nickname until her death, but everyone else used her proper name which was Sylvia.

Point being, while Pippa is not as cutesy as Pippi as in Longstocking, it is still a cute girlish nickname.  Pippa is the long-standing traditional nickname for Philippa (as Pip is for Philip) whether some people know that or not.  Judging from my small family sample of three, at some stage of life your daughter may find a cute little girl nickname not compatible with her "brand" and would prefer the option of a more formal name.  If you do give her a formal name as an option, I would urge that that you also make sure that she is familiar with it, so that she does not have her sense of identity questioned when she does learn it.  Personally if I wanted Pippa as the call name I would put Philippa on the birth certificate--or perhaps Phyllida (same name as Phyllis, but derived from an oblique case).

May 19, 2016 2:27 PM

Thank you all for the feedback! After reading your responses, I did decide to bring it up with my husband. We both see pros and cons of both choices, and I think we've decided to wait until Pippa arrives and decide then. It's been very reassuring to know that most of you think Pippa can be fine as a stand-alone name. I think I've been so apprehensive because many of the reactions we get are "I've never heard of that," or, if they see it written, "How do you pronounce that?" Apparently it's still a very unknown name, despite the Middleton media craze a few years back.

I'll definitely report back and let you all know what we decide!

May 19, 2016 4:25 PM

I think it's fine to go in without knowing exactly which way you're going. At least you're not trying to decide on two or more different names from different styles, for example.

I will say that I think Pippa is fine on its own. I'm glad you've had the "I've never heard of that" reaction, because until Pippa Middleton, I'd never heard of it before either. Of course, I've heard of, but never met a Philipa either. And, as wordly as I wish I were, I have only lived in one state my entire life, so there is a little bit of "hick-ness" that can't be shaken off - I've learned about so many names from this site!

My own experience is a little bit different, but still goes along with the "relating to my name" theme.

I had gone by my first and middle names from birth. Occasionally, I would have people call me by fn as a kind of pet name. Later, friends decided to call me by my fn x2 as a nn - many people call me this. Once I was asked what I preferred, fn and mn, fn, or fn/fn. I replied that I answered to anything starting with "L" - hence a new nn of Lola! I really do answer to Lynn sometimes because my fn/mn run together at times and I don't care enough to correct.

Anyway, I use my first name quite a bit for home business purposes (bills, etc.) because my first name is spelled so "uniquely", to add that my mn is a part of it is just too much. And my SO almost exclusively calls me by my fn only and so many newer friends do as well. While objectively I like just my fn better, I am more "connected" to fn/mn combo.

My SO has always gone by his mn. But at the job he has had for the last 9 years or so, he goes by his fn, because "Firstname would work there, but Middlename would never!" He answers to either, but knows that someone really doesn't know him if they use Firstname. He has a son who was named with the intention of using the mn (which he does); the reverse flow of this, I think would have been just fine. He doesn't mind it too much, but always has the headache of "Yes, but I go by Middlename. Also, the daughter has her dad's mn and decided to use her mn instead because she likes it better and got tired of Big Middlename and Little Firstname - I don't blame her. I call them "the Middlename family."

I write all of this to say that myself and my pseudo family probably feel more connected to the names we grew up with, but not so much that the other name is foreign to us.

I think that if you decide to go with Penelope, maybe you should use it at least some of the time, because: 1) you may grow to love the name instead of just like it and 2) just to make here feel a little more like a Penelope if she ever wants to use it.

Off Topic: I think I'll start a thread about what is considered a double-barrelled name. I've always said "I go by my first and middle. I think of double-barrelled names as not Firstname Middlename, but FirstName or First-Name - in other words, AnneMarie Jane Doe or Anne-Marie Jane Doe - not Anne Marie Doe (goes by Anne Marie). Sorry to hijack!

May 19, 2016 4:06 PM

I'm torn.  Pippa does seem a little girly/cute to me, and I think I'd be tempted to choose a formal name in case she wants something more formal/professional later in life. 

On the other hand, my daughter is Norah, and you could make the same argument in favor of Eleanor as a full name with Norah as a call name.  But I really just wanted Norah, so that's what I went with.  So I get that, too.  

For me I went with "supreme court justice" test -- could I imagine a just-Norah as a supreme court justice?  A surgeon?  Senator?  President?  To me, Norah was serious and established enough as a stand-alone name that I could imagine those things just fine, so I wasn't troubled by it.  What is your instinct about Supreme Court Justice Pippa?  



May 19, 2016 5:32 PM

I totally understand the Supreme Court Justice test and I, too, personally prefer more formal names. However, we aren't our children's contemporaries and it's totally plausible that Harper or Riley or even Paisley will sound like a serious name to the next generation of adults. It's quite likely that Madison and Brooklyn(n) will rise to positions of power along with Charlotte and Abigail, even though to us, the latter probably sound more serious. Is Pippa really that different from Mia or Lola, other than in its familiarity? 

May 19, 2016 5:43 PM

Remember, Sandra was once a weird name for a Supreme Court Justice.

May 19, 2016 5:51 PM

I didn't know that! There you go :)

May 19, 2016 6:18 PM

I know you're "funnin'" with me. But for anyone who may not know - first female on SCOTUS.

May 19, 2016 6:25 PM

I really didn't know that. I mean, I know who Sandra Day O'Connor is, but I'm not American and don't remember hearing anything about her name's reception. Especially since she was appointed the year I was born :)

May 19, 2016 6:29 PM

The point is that she was a woman - so any female name would have been "weird" no matter what the female name was. :)

May 19, 2016 6:32 PM

Oh, hah, I missed that :)

But in all seriousness, had her name been Mary or Elizabeth or Margaret, would that have changed anyone's view of how capable she was of doing the job?

EDIT: I'm really laughing at myself because I was legitimately imagining articles discussing whether Sandra was an appropriate name for a Supreme Court Justice. In my name-obsessed mind, that was totally plausible. I know that names sometimes come up in the news when they are "ethnic" sounding, such as the current POTUS, but otherwise, probably not, eh?

May 19, 2016 7:06 PM

I agree with Nedibes as far as today and the future goes - no one will blink an eye at most names. 

Back in the day, Sandra was fairly common - maybe not the older/biblical names you mention, but certainly not on the weird side.

I don't know, I did look up O'Connor's birth year, but am too lazy to look up what would be an unusual name in 1930 or 1981 when she was confirmed.

I think possibly that unusual names for either time wasn't as stigmatized as maybe they are today. Maybe because there wasn't as many names going around, so if a name wasn't downright obscene or something, I don't think people put as much thought into it.

I certainly don't think Sandra versus Margaret would have changed the view for better or worse.

Edit: I mean stigmatized by pontificators like us - not the younger set or the ones still in the oven. :)

May 19, 2016 8:15 PM

I didn't really mean that her name was unusual, just that it might not have been seen as "serious" enough by some older folks. There are lots of names right now that are popular that we, as name critics, wouldn't view as being serious or formal enough for certain settings, and I thought that maybe Sandra was, at one time, thought of as being too trendy or cute or too nicknamey or something. Though Sandy would probably have been more in that category.

I just check Name Voyageur and Sandra has a really interesting curve.

In the 1910s, it's ranked 921, then it has a steep rise in the 1920s reaching 562, spiking to its all-time peak in the 1930s, reaching number 48. From there, it begins a less-steep but still sharp decline. Since Sandra Day O'Connor was born in 1930, she actually was given a very trendy name, which would have seemed very current to her parents. By 1981 when she was appointed, the name was pretty firmly out of fashion and a well-rooted mom/grandma name.

Anyway, that specific example aside, it was just a thought about perspectives on the Supreme Court Justice test.

May 19, 2016 7:33 PM

Lol - Sandra, the Neveah of 1930 :)

May 19, 2016 9:32 PM

Thank you guys for this fun tangent! It's been an amusing distraction while I wait ever-so-impatiently for Pippa's arrival :)

May 19, 2016 11:55 PM

I will take a bow, as I'm sure our friend up north does. I prefer off topic to tangent :)

I started wondering about SCOTUS names, so I scrolled good old Wikipedia.

I wondered about several, but only jotted down a few that I found interesting:

Bushrod Washington - This one made me smile. My maternal grandmother (born in the 1880s) had a scrapbook with a picture of a man and her handwriting below: "Bushrod Henry, how he loved me so." he he...

Smith Thompson - The last name name some really dislike.

Lucious Quintis Cincinnatus Lamar - Either the best or worst SCOTUS name ever!

Tom C. Clark - Tom - not "proper name" Thomas

Thurgood Marshall - His original name was Thoroughgood, but he disliked spelling it.

You must have your phone in hand during labor so that you can tell us your decision ASAP. :)

Good luck to you and Pippa!

May 20, 2016 12:16 AM

Google says the spelling is actually Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, which is a good bit less eyebrow raising than Lucious (which I was pronouncing like the adjective luscious, in my head, which makes it much more scandalous). I definitely come down on that being bsolutely the BEST name, without a doubt.

Also found in my googling: he is actually the SECOND, because that was also his father's name. The father's name story: he was the eldest son, and his parents allowed his mother's brother to name their sons (which... is that a thing? was there winning a bet involved, or possibly a large quantity of alcohol?). So he proceeded to name his nephews after the Roman stateseman Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus and the next boy Mirabeau Buonaparte (I'm guessing after Napoleon and... the only thing Google is turning up is a Comte of Mirabeau who was in the French revolution?).

Thanks also for the interesting tidbit about Thurgood Marshall!

Bushrod is a name that sounds more suited to the stage name of an adult film star, these days!

(In that company, I can only give Justice Pippa my wholehearted, serious endorsement.)

May 20, 2016 8:12 AM

Bushrod Washington--in today's political environment, in which it is apparently acceptable to banter about the size of one's package on national television, well, he'd fit right in, porn name and all.

May 20, 2016 11:15 AM

Point well taken. Perhaps Bushrod could also be added to the list of suitable long-forms for Pippa, then. :)

To go on a tangent from the tangent: I have been wondering about the name Philander, too. Philander Chase (first last - isn't that a doozy of a combination?) turned up as the name of a Bishop. When I heard that, I started laughing hysterically, and then looked it up. Apparently it was a nice regular name from the Greek roots of friend and man (like PHILip and AlexANDER) right until the vocab word started to be used for womanizing, and then usage dropped in the 1700s... but not all the way down to zero, because Philander Chase named his son Philander in 1824. His nephew was named Salmon Chase, which is another fantastic combination (I understand that Salmon has Biblical origins and doesn't just mean "delicious fish", but one of these associations is far more predominant in my life than the other).

May 20, 2016 1:45 PM

You won't believe this, but my favorite teacher's husband is a descendent of that man and has the same first and last name! Worst name ever in my opinion (besides my husband's Aunt Trauma). He goes by Phil.

May 20, 2016 3:07 PM

On the plus side, if he ever goes into roller derby, he doesn't need to work hard to come up with a suitable derby name! (No one would ever believe that's a given name, in that combination.) I completely understand how one would go by Phil OR Ander in isolation. :)

May 20, 2016 6:19 PM

Ah! Roller Derby names! Have we never discussed those here? Such a rich area for name enjoyment.

Trauma? Really? Any idea what drove that choice?

May 21, 2016 7:54 AM

No clue, but she usually goes by her middle name, Ann, or T-Ann.

May 21, 2016 11:16 AM

And THAT is why we are supporters of middle names that offer options when the first name is unusual :) 

May 20, 2016 11:12 AM

One of my favorite SCOTUS names is Salmon Portland Chase, who was actually Chief Justice from 1864-1873. I can only guess that he was conceived during a fishing trip ;-).

Miriam once mentioned that Salmon also had an uncle (who the wiki tells me was a prominent Episcopalian bishop) named...wait for it...Philander Chase. Talk about a pornstar name! Presumably at the time philander just had the straightforward, non-sexual meaning of "lover of men," with men in the abstract, humanity sense.

And of course the greatest American jurist who never made it to the Supreme Court also had probably the greatest judicial name of all time, Learned Hand (pronounced Learn-ed, like a twist on Leonard).

Oh, wow, I just looked up Hand in Wikipedia to refresh my dimming recollection, and it turns out his original full name was Billings Learned Hand! He was apparently named after some maternal relatives, first names Billings and last name Learned. Bringing the conversation right back around to the original topic, Wikipedia has this to say:

Hand struggled with his name during his childhood and adulthood, worried that "Billings" and "Learned" were not sufficiently masculine. While working as a lawyer in 1899, he ceased using the name "Billings"—calling it "pompous"—and ultimately took on the nickname "B".

From a little further, non-wiki reading, it appears that the affectionate B was actually short for "Bunny," a childhood family nickname, rather than Billings, and that he was using Learned professionally by 1902. All of which is to say, there's no way to guarantee how our kids will feel about any name we choose for them, but a given name of Pippa shouldn't pose any barrier to future legal sucess.

May 20, 2016 11:35 AM

This is the most hilarious double post ever. I swear I didn't see your post before I made mine!

May 20, 2016 11:40 AM

Honestly, eh? What are the chances. (Higher here than elsewhere, but still!)

May 20, 2016 1:58 PM

So funny!

I had written down Salmon P. Chase, but failed to include it in my post.

BTW - I wrote down Lucius correctly. I clearly have no life, so you would think I would take the time for proofing-reading!

Also, the love of my life was Red "Popcorn" Billings - best feline who ever lived. Didn't realize he shared a name with a famous jurist.

May 20, 2016 3:10 PM

This thread is amazing and epitomizes why I love this board. Thank you so much iel nna for doing the legwork on redefining the Supreme Court Justice test for baby names. I will pretty confidently be able to state that pretty much any name seems like it passes that test with flying colors, now.

May 19, 2016 6:12 PM

Totally agree with this. I work with pre-law students, and in recent years I've had students named Karissa and Amber who I think are quite likely to end up judges eventually (not on the Supreme Court, because they didn't go to Harvard or Yale for law school, but easily a state or lower federal court). Both are now practicing attorneys, doing quite well. And those are people already in their twenties; by the time today's crop of babies is ready for confirmation, I don't think anyone would blink at a Judge or Justice Pippa.

Given the current naming landscape, employers who want to rule out people based on unfamiliar/non-traditional names are going to face an ever-narrowing pool of candidates over the next few decades, which should be good news even for the Bambis and Rockos of the world, let alone the Poppys and Micahs.

May 20, 2016 11:39 AM

There you go! First-hand confirmation!

And I love the discussion of past SCOTUS names above. It's both interesting and funny :)

May 20, 2016 12:28 PM

My parents did exactly what you are contemplating. They chose my nn first and said "What can it be short for?" They never intended to call me by my legal name and never did.

I am Casey, short for Cassandra. Since the vowel sound is very different, I do not respond to Cassandra and it would take a few times for me to realize that someone was talking to me. I feel that Pippa and Penelope would have the same effect. 

I don't associate with Cassandra at all but I have to put it on all legal documents. Sometimes it messes things up. I was almost turned down at security for a plane ticket purchased by a friend that did not match my ID. I was registered to vote as Casey and problems arose from that. 

I think if the nn is intuitive such as Tom for Thomas, Dave for David, or Jen for Jennifer it is ok because people know to ask for the full name. In my case, Casey is its own stand alone name and people assume it is a legal name.