Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Boy Named Sue and a Girl Named James

The NY Times has a most interesting article today on choices some parents name when naming their children.
What happens to children with names like, Garage Empty, Hysteria Johnson, King Arthur, Infinity Hubbard, Please Cope, Major Slaughter, and Helen Troy?
Yes, they are all real names of real people taken our of census records from 1790 to 1930.
Just what happens to children who are named in a rather idiosyncratic way?
The article explores different scenarios.
A favorite bit:
"“Researchers have studied men with cross-gender names like Leslie,” Dr. Evans explained. “They haven’t found anything negative — no psychological or social problems — or any correlations with either masculinity or effeminacy. But they have found one major positive factor: a better sense of self-control. It’s not that you fight more, but that you learn how to let stuff roll off your back.”

After hearing that, I began to reconsider my own name. Although I’d never shared Sue’s Oedipal impulse — I realized my father couldn’t have anticipated “Music Man” — I’d never appreciated those playground serenades, either. But maybe they served some purpose after all. So today, to celebrate the Boy Named Sue paradigm shift, I’m using my middle name in my byline for the first time."


Anonymous said...

parents who make such "onomastic" choices interest me. i wonder if they are in treatment because clearly they need to be.
but then again, my name's dave and what the flip do i know about the plight of schlepping a difficult name?!

Anonymous said...

What was that girl's name again, Tyler Glenn or something?
And because Tyler was not peculiar enough, Glenn sealed it.
Of course, I'm with 'George' on this one. I'm a fan of Seven!