Boys Named Sue

Boyleing Points

Johnny Cash would’ve never had a hit song. These days, you can name a boy Sue and never have to worry about him getting in a brawl in Gatlinburg in mid-July.

Now, if you heard a boy was named Sue, you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t!) bat an eye.  Though you might ask if that was spelled S-U-E or was it S-I-O-U-X, like the Native American tribe.

Dana Andrews was a tough guy actor with a girl’s name. Michael Learned had a guy’s name though that didn’t stop her from being a lead actress on The Waltons. That was it, way back. There were just a handful of such name switcheroos.

You couldn’t say the names were unisex if there were a thousand boys named Rory and then one girl. It was still a boy’s name. If they call the girl Rory, like a nickname, because it’s short for Aurora, fine. But it’s a boy’s name. I don’t care if Ethel Kennedy named her daughter, Rory.

But now, names really are unisex. And as they say, not that there’s anything wrong with it!           

But that doesn’t make it any easier for us who grew up with guys named Kelly. That name was basically stolen by adorable baby girls. Others are a toss-up. Jaime is a tough one. I’d say the battle is still underway. But girls tend to win.

Morgan Freeman is a great actor and a man’s man but that first name is on the feminine side of the aisle now. If I’m wearing a blindfold and somebody says Taylor, Riley, or Cassidy, I’m thinking girl. Cassidy can be tricky. If the kid is named after David Cassidy, it’s a girl. But if the kid is named after Butch Cassidy, that’s something else.

Jordan, Casey, Hayden. Those are tough. I’m leaning girl but I can think of a guy or two for each of those. If you’re not sure, it’s a losing battle. Girls do a nice job commandeering boys’ names. I mean, how about Hunter? That sounds kinda macho but I’m thinking Hunter green which makes me think it’s mostly for girls now.

Jackie and Pat are interchangeable, always have been. And that’s ok. You’re not gonna have an inner dialogue in your head saying, “That’s a boy’s name.” Or vice versa.

Sean is a boy. And so is Shane, though girls are coming up on the outside. Yes, I’ve noticed we have a Shane, a female who writes a column for us. I’m keeping an eye out on this trend. But girls, c’mon, can you leave this one with the guys? As the name drifts away, I’m just gonna say through tears, “Shane, come back!”  

If the name is a season, a month, a mood, or a time of day, I’m thinking girl. Summer Smith. April Smith. Dreamy Smith. Dawn Smith. Time of day might be an exception. Dawn, Twilight, Morning, all girls. But if I heard Three O’Clock Smith, I’d think it was a guy. Probably a gunfighter or something.

I think John and Mohammad are staying in the boy’s column, but things change. If I meet a girl named Kevin, I’m gonna find myself saying, “Really?” knowing it’s over.

Maybe we should give boys dogs’ names. “Hey Spot, can you say Dad?” “Come on Rover, I’m driving you to school.”

I’m thinking adorable little girls won’t be stealing those names.

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