General Question

seazen's avatar

Men with women's names - women with men's names - thoughts?

Asked by seazen (6103 points ) December 26th, 2010

Of course, there are names that go both ways – many, in fact.

However, Carol seems to be more of a woman’s name – so, what was his mom thinking when she named him?

I think that a woman with a “guy’s” name is kinda sexy – but not the other way around. I wonder how women see it.

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44 Answers

troubleinharlem's avatar

Guys with girls names are just weird, like Lesley. I know a guy named Lesley at school and it kind of bugs me.

Girls with guys names, like… what, Henry? I’ve never seen that. I’ve only seen gender neutral names like Taylor, Alex, Skye, etc.

With Carol (whoever that is), it might have been a family name.

Anemone's avatar

In some cases, the genders associated with particular names have swapped over the years. Leslie, Kelly, Carol, Kim… all formerly men’s names, but now more common for women. I would suppose that if a mother named her son Carol, it was probably either a family name or she is slightly old-fashioned… or maybe progressive!

Personally, I think it’s cool either way. Whether in names, colors, or culturally-acceptable interests, here should be less emphasis put on traditional gender roles, in my opinion.

jaytkay's avatar

@seazen I think that a woman with a “guy’s” name is kinda sexy

Absolutely. I think it carries a bold and confident air that is really hot.

chyna's avatar

I really think it is cute when a girl has a guy name: Sammy, Alex, Stevie, etc.
I think it is strange for a guy to have a girl name: Shirley, Carrol, Kim, etc.
I know… It’s prejudice.

kenmc's avatar

A rose by any other name…

JLeslie's avatar

@troubleinharlem I think Leslie was a boys name before a girls name. I am not 100% sure. Ashley also. Leslie was a surname, like Kelly, Taylor, and so many more. Then people began using them as first names.

DominicX's avatar

Depends on the name. A lot of my favorite guys’ names are more “girly”, such as names like Rylan or Noël (pronounced no-ell), but I probably wouldn’t like it too much if a guy were named “Amy” or “Rachel” or something; that would just sound bizarre to me. :\ Sometimes I prefer an ambiguous name that could suit both genders, like my boyfriend’s name “Rory”, but a traditional girl’s name like Emily or Catherine on a guy would seem “off” and very weird.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna Sammy is probably sort for Samantha. But, I agree it is cute, I see it more cute than sexy.

@all it’s different in different cultures also, the mom may not have thought of the name as the same gender other people did. The first Jordan I ever met was male. When my girlfriend chose it for her daughter, I think she perceived it as a girls name. I consider it gender neutral.

HungryGuy's avatar

It’s all just what we’re culturally conditioned to think of as a man’s name or a woman’s name. They’re really all just phonemes, and there’s nothing inherently masculine or feminine about any particular combination of phonemes.

sliceswiththings's avatar

In regards to Carol (have you been watching 30 Rock, by the way?), I feel that it’s outdated for women now. Does anyone know a little girl named Carol? (Caroline, etc. doesn’t count). That said, I like Carol for a boy. He’s mostly likely going to be the only Carol of any gender in his kindergarten class, so maybe a new generation of little boys and girls will see movies featuring women named Carol and laugh, saying “But Carol’s a boy’s name!”

kenmc's avatar

@sliceswiththings I have an 18 year old cousin named Carol.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Shirley was a male name about 150 years ago, as was Carol, Leslie, Hilary, Vivian and Robin. I knew a guy named Morgan, and it made no difference to me, even though there was a very famous blonde actress in the US named Morgan Fairchild at the time.

If a person grows up with a name they dislike, or doesn’t feel fits them, there’s always deed poll, right? Or just legally changing your name once you’re an adult. I don’t hold people’s names against them. “A rose by any other name”, etc., etc.

The guy who played Archie Bunker in the US on All in the Family was a very well-respected and beloved actor named Carroll O’ Connor, BTW. And Bob Hope’s given name at birth was Leslie. He changed it for the stage to Bob because Leslie was too girly when he started his career in the 1910s. When he died in 2004, he was 101.

jaytkay's avatar

And Bob Hope’s given name at birth was Leslie.

President Gerald Ford was born Leslie King

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@seazen I agree with you that girls with “guy” names sound ok (I LOVE Brett, Tyler, Taylor, and Bailey for girls) but I don’t think it’s attractive at all when a guy has girl names like Ashley or Frances.

anartist's avatar

Carol is probably Carroll, a family name. So is Lesley [like Wesley]. Hilary and Marion have been men’s names for a long time [Marian is the spelling for the female name, sort of like Francis (male) and Frances (female)]. Robin has been a British diminutive for Robert since there were Angles and Normans [hence Robin Hood, born Robert of Lockley]. Names used to mean things {like Theodore or Theodora means “gift of the gods”] George originally meant “farmer” and Stuart “steward,” roles women did not play when those names developed.

LostInParadise's avatar

Your question reminds me of the Johnny Cash song Boy Named Sue. I wonder if guys with girl names feel pressure to prove their masculinity.

anartist's avatar

“Sissy” names like Percy, not necessarily girls’ names, cause some pain.

anartist's avatar

It is sadly revealing that this is a one-way street. Just like girls in pants instead of skirts, girls riding astraddle instead of sidesaddle, girls called Sam, girls dressed like “Annie Hall” or Marlene Dietrich in a tuxedo, girls who are boyish or tomboys are sexy to many men, and project an image of interesting derring-do and adventurous sexiness.

But men in skirts or dresses, even carrying “purses”, a boy named Sue, men who sew or do needlepoint, turn off both sexes if they are heterosexual. No manly man wants any appearance of the distaff side. Except for Scots in kilts. They are manly enough and it culturally ingrained enough to carry it off.

One wonders how Captain Milton “Mary” Miles got and kept that nickname as he moved up from head of Naval Group China in WWII to admiral later in his career.
wikipedia sez “As a student [at the Naval Academy], Miles was called “Mary” by his classmates, in reference to the silent film star Mary Miles Minter.” He must have had a pair to survive this nickname.

Just goes to show that manliness is more desireable than womanliness, even in today’s world.

SamIAm's avatar

@JLeslie: As a Samantha, I think Sammy (with a y) is more short for Samuel, whereas Sammi (with an i) is more feminine… I have no idea why! As a girl, with the name Sam, I go through phases where I think it’s a little too boy for me (maybe because I just dated a boy Sam, again, I don’t know!) But I introduce myself ALWAYS (for the past 3 years or so) as Samantha – and if you want to call me Sammi, or Sam, thas cool :)

That said, I think girls with guys names are sexy (just not Sam, but that’s personal) and guys with girls names, not so much but it depends, some I’m sure are just fine.

Symbeline's avatar

Never thought about that much, although when such an occurrence came up, it may have made me raise an eyebrow, but nothing more. I met this guy who’s name meant lesbian in Japanese, although it’s probably pronounced differently, and he was totally proud of it. I knew this girl in highschool who’s name was Jaqueline, but she insisted that we call her Jack and nothing more. I mean, she’d get pissed if we didn’t. It’s not really an issue with me, and beyond saying that, I’ve no real opinion pon’ the matter, that’s all I got lol. Sorry to disappoint. XD

Brian1946's avatar

I guess in the context of this thread it’s ironic that one of the late, great Leslie Nielsen’s most famous lines was, “Don’t call me Shirley”. ;-)

There was once a professional football (NFL) player named Blenda Gay.

I wonder what in hell names his parents decided not to give him before they settled on that one.
I admire him for having the courage not to change his name, and I wonder what torment he might have suffered because of it.

OpryLeigh's avatar

There are some typically male names that think suit females (like Sydney for example) but I’m not so keen on female names on males (Hilary springs to mind).

augustlan's avatar

A company I used to work for had a male customer named Gay Love. He was married to a woman. I don’t envy his childhood! Generally, ‘gendered’ names on the opposite gender don’t really bother me. I’m more troubled with some old fashioned names that have taken on different meanings, like the aforementioned “Gay” and I always had a hard time calling my neighbor from an earlier generation by his name, “Dick”.

vladdd's avatar

sam is very common name

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aprilsimnel's avatar

John Wayne, the ur-American man, was born Marion Mitchell Morrison. And I don’t think anyone gave him any grief about on the gridiron, either, when he played American football in college, yet he too had to change it when he “graduated” from stuntman to actor.

JLeslie's avatar

@Samantha_Rae It is up to the girl or parent. Ebding in an i is acceptrd as more feminine now. Men would never use the i, but many girls like to change the spelling make a little heart to dot the i when they start writing their name as a nickname. Kelly, Kelli, I even k ow a Kellie. A man names Kelly, would stick with the y, girls anything. Back when I was young Kelly on a girl was with a y, because they were sticking with the original surname spelling.

People started making up names, or spelling a name a unique way, more and more about 30 years ago. Before that they stuck more to the classics in my opinion. Not sure if that part is statiscally or historically true, but it seems that way to me. When I was a kid, I am in my 40’s, it was pretty easy to guess how someone spelled their name, the few we had to ask about was Bryan, Robin, once I met a female Michelle with only one L back then. But, when we shortened our names to a nickname, girls did sometimes use a cuter version,

takaboom's avatar

Boys should not be named girl’s names
Girls should not be named boy’s names
There are names with an obvious sex and then unisex names

Just because “it is the parent’s choice” doesn’t mean it is needed. Some parents need to chill out with trying to be cool and hip and happenin’
It just shouldn’t be done. Period

6rant6's avatar

I’ve known a couple of female Michaels. I makes me find them confident and high spirited, I think.

In my male mind, I think that I’ll tend to find a way to make anything that’s unusual about a woman into something special. Unless of course, I don’t like her, in which case, everything is a boat anchor.

JLeslie's avatar

@6rant6 I know a female Michael, and of course there is the actress named Michael.

@all In my neighborhood a woman named her kids neutral names, that are traditionally male so their resumes when they are adults at first glance will be assumed male applicant. I don’t remember the names she picked.

seazen's avatar

@aprilsimnel I was thinking of Archie Bunker when I asked the q. :-)

vladdd's avatar

female michael? :D wow i have never heard that before

pinksnowflake's avatar

Michael, James, Taylor, Morgan, Thomas, Sidney, John, and the like are men’s names. Women’s names are Victoria, Katherine, Debra, Lisa, Karen, and so on. Why a parent would want to give his or her daughter a male name is completely beyond me.

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takaboom's avatar

@noelleptc doesn’t mean its necessary.
——————-
no one seems to mind having manly girls, but no one wants a girly man.
The main excuses I have heard:
— Strong name (bollocks)
— Expected a boy but girl came and decided to keep the name (which I don’t hear a lot now)
— Just trying to be cool (oh, we thought it would be “unique” and “cool sounding”—more bollocks)

leave these names for the boys please.

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takaboom's avatar

@noelleptc who said it was? I was simply replying as “doesn’t mean its necessary.”

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takaboom's avatar

@noelleptc I didn’t bring in anything. I was simply replying as “doesn’t mean its necessary.”
I will not get into this anymore than what I have already. You have to take what I responded that way, fine. whatever. I understand. You can have a good day.

6rant6's avatar

Amazing how people can seem so emotionally invested in this.

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