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06 October 2010


My mother always received heat for giving me a male version of my name, which she did knowing full-well what it was but liking the way the "a" looked as she like round, squatty designs ((I like angular ones, myself). I'd get things addressed to "female version" from family, which I don't remember caring about one way or another. I just mention this because otherwise someone will say, "But your name..." and I want to cut them off at the pass :-D

I was just thinking, "Why are there certain names for males and certain for females?" I mean, why does that concept exist at all? Some (nick)names are sexless, like Chris, Pat, Alex - others sound the same, such as Joe/Jo or Billy/Billie, so it isn't necessarily so. It perhaps came about because of the attributes the parents wanted the babe to develop - mighty warrior versus fragrant blossom, I suppose. So names are like time machines that go back to society's first attempts to form us into something they want but that we have no clue about, and point to a general belief in magic.

We weren't allowed to have nicknames as my mother deemed it undignified. She hated her name, Joan ("Bah - just the female version of John."*) and Mummy Barbara hated her name - I didn't like mine but became used to it.

* John's my fave name, actually; I have a brother of that name but we've never met (I'm sure he doesn't even know/care that I exist).


posted by - 6:28 PM

In the good lady wife's culture, names can be either male or female and I can tell you it's confuserating.

"Baljinder's ill."

"Is she?"




"Not the girl in Birmingham we met last year?"

"No, her cousin from Stoke. Came to our wedding."

"And he's a bloke?"


"But he's got a girl's name."

"Sigh... let me explain. Again."

See. It's just not a good system, especially for male brains that like to do away with as much thinking as possible by having stuff organised into to piles in advance.

Mind you, I'm not much better with single gender names. Now my lad's started school I'm hearing lots of new names and the conversation always goes like this...

"He walked home with Becky today."

"Becky? Who's that? The girl from down there?"

"No, that's Caitlin."

"Didn't she move?"

"No, that was Leo. two years ago."

"Leo? That's a boy. Who am I thinking of?"

"I don't know. His mother?"

"Who was she? That one with the huge boobs or the one with the weird hair?"

"Hanna, and she didn't have huge boobs just a low cut top."

*grunt* "So is Leanne his new friend?"

"Becky. Leanne is Caitlin's older sister. She's seven."

"Caitlin has a sister? Which one is Caitlin again?"

HBA, did you and G****n go to the same school of facial non-recognition? When we watch movies he will think he recognizes an actress or actor because they have the same build and hair color. Biometrics, man! I know, I am really visual. G****n did not even remember my face until we had been dating for about a month!
It's a bloke thing :-D
in my world, the a ending is for girls, the o for boys. but not so elsewhere! i have a friend karuna who is a guy and also a friend karuna who is a girl. it wouldn't be a problem except we haven't got a gender neutral pronoun for person. the cat can be IT, but my friends can't be IT. as in "i got an email from karuna" "oh, nice, what is it up to?"
as for males and face recognition, sounds like maybe boob recognition would work better.
I knew someone in the late 70s whose gender was a mystery to me. I really couldn't tell, and I saw this person almost every day. It was a tightrope walk avoiding gender-specific speech.

Oliver Sacks had a recent article in the New Yorker about face blindness; I have it to a mild cdegree I think. That is, I just never recognise some people and seeing people I don't really know as friends away from their accustomed lairs is a sure-fire way for them to not be recognised. My mother spoke of the same thing. There's always the "I grew up moving around and don't bother to commit people to memory unless they mean something to me" thing even though I'm immobile now, too, I think.
Whilst I doubt boob recognition would ever work, I wish to offer my services to any and all clinical trials you may know about.
i think you missed your chance - Steelhead had a boobie thon which included a late night ball during which much was apparently revealed in the name of charity. (like you i slept thru this event)

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