« Music coincidence | Main | Two upcoming readings (Seattle, London) »

What would your name have been?

| 33 Comments

Naomi just asked what my name would've been if I'd been born a girl. Not only did I know the answer for me (as I understand it, my parents were going to name me Elizabeth, but I turned out to be a boy so they turned that into my middle name, Elysdir), but Kam and Naomi knew what their parents would've named them if they'd been born boys.

So now I'm wondering: Is this a common thing for people to know? Do y'all know what your parents would've named you if you'd been a different biological sex at birth? If so, and if you don't mind saying it publicly, post a comment telling me what your name would've been.

(Obviously the transfolk among you know one answer to that question; anyone who can interpret the question in more than one way, feel free to interpret it however you like.)

33 Comments

Yep. If I had been born a girl my name would have been Eve. My parents weren't very original.


hm. i don't remember what my parents were going to name me if i had been a boy, but i remember what they were going to name my sister-- she would have been matthew. there is actually a family story involving how hard it is to explain things to two year olds. my parents came home from the hospital with my sister, and i demanded to know where matthew was because i'd been expecting one of each.


I would have been Monique.


My sister's name was gonna be Batman. Seriously. My parents asked me what I wanted to name my new baby sister and I answered without hesitation. They told me that wouldn't be a very good name for a girl... and after some capitulation I agreed and went with my second choice, and they liked it.

Which is why my baby sister is named Robin.

~j


Stephen Andrew. Despite my mother being a nurse and knowing better, they were convinced that that because they'd already had a girl, this one would be a boy, so they didn't have a female name picked out for me. The doctor suggested Stephanie Andrea, which I am glad they didn't go for (I actually like both of those names separately, but somehow together they sound very pretentious).


Sarah.


My parents were so convinced I was a girl they hadn't thought of a boy's name. My Dad was so convinced his second child would be a girl, they didn't have a name ready for my brother.

This is the triumph of hope over experience. My Dad ended up with two of the three girls in a generation of seven (in the next generation there are two girls in nine). The girls are spread along the following ages: 62, 40, 19. The 62 year old had five boys, and the girl is the youngest. Yet still they plan girls' names.


Angela Carol Rowe.


I was named after my father's mother, may she rest in peace, so if I had been a girl, I would have had her name. So. Easy, right?

Except that if my older brother had been a girl, he would have gotten her name. By the time I was born, they were pretty much done having children (my mother was thirty-cough) so they gave me a name that started with the same letter as my grandmother's name, and were done with it. So if my brother had been a sister, my own name would have been something entirely different. Possibly the name he wound up with, maybe not.

Thanks,
-V.


My name was going to be Stephen.


If I'd been born female, my parents would have named me Michelle. A few months after I was born, my cousin was born and was named Michelle. I think my family only had so many names that they could use.


I would have been Benjamin instead of Naomi. Three syllables, no R, a meaning my parents found inoffensive, no nicknames my parents disliked. Rather complicated!


I would've been William Spenser. My sister would have been Andrew Dickson.

In my family, old family surnames get recycled as middle names. Mine is Hamilton, not Spenser, but my sister's is still Dickson. I assume that was an aesthetic choice. I'm not sure why William Spenser wasn't recycled as a potential boy's name for my sister. Maybe it was a first born thing (my dad's first name is William) or maybe my parents just wanted to have a fresh set of choices.

I was consulted on the matter, but my choice for a boy's name was vetoed. I thought Eyeglass made perfect sense for a little brother, because like my dad all boys wore glasses.


I believe I would have been Sarah.

Nowadays ultrasound is more common, if not 100% accurate for predicting sex. We expected both of our children to be the sex that they, in fact, were, so while I think we did in fact come up with a couple of names for the other gender just in case, I thought of those names so totally as unnecessary that I don't even remember what they were. We did have alternate names for the correct gender, though -- Henry came within an inch of being Milo.


David. My "girl name" was almost Davida, but they decided on Deborah at the last minute. Probably, I would have been David Samuel (my brother's name), but that was never discussed.


I would have been Gilbert Kennedy, which they named my brother when he was born. When it came time to sign the birth certificate though, they renamed him Stephen because he "just didn't look like a Gilbert."


Yeah, I should add that the would-have-beens wouldn't necessarily have been. We had decided on a name for the Youngest Member, and then changed it when he was born and the name was somehow obviously wrong. That happens a fair amount (by anecdote), and could have happened to you, too!

Thanks,
-V.


I've always sort of assumed that I'd've been James Melvin IV. (Which is actually sort of funny: my dad was James Melvin III, but then later everybody found out that his grand-dad actually didn't have Melvin as a middle name. So everybody was one off, and dad ought to have been James Melvin Jr. Which would've made me James Melvin III, except that I was a girl; all us kids are girls, so the issue never came up.) But I don't know for sure; I'm just guessing based on family history.

As an aside about naming: I was born on my grandmother's birthday, and SHE assumed they were going to name me after her. They named me after the other grandma instead, but she called me Susan for something like a year after I was born. Including at my christening, according to family legend. Reason #847 why mom had a touchy relationship with her MIL. :)


According to family legend, I was expected to be a Diane.


I've always assumed I would have been Jesse. But now that I think about it, I'm not sure.


Apparently I would have been Adam. It is a good thing I came out with girlparts, because I am so not an Adam.


I would have been a Natasha or Tanya, a strong nod to my Russian ancestors. While I can imagine myself growing up a girl, I find it hard to think of myself as either of those names. I guess I feel more tied to being 'Stephen' than I do to being male!


I have always been somewhat disappointed that had I been a boy, I would have been Francis instead of Frances. But perhaps that's because I don't really like my full name... It just always seemed more interesting to know that if you had been someone else you might have been named Rufus or Hesione.


I would have been Clair, which can technically be a boy's name (and I did go to school with a boy named Clair), but I don't think that would have been much fun. (My name is Clarissa.)


My parents didn't know my gender (at least, I don't believe they did). The maid of honor and best man at my parents' wedding were James and Joyce. I am pretty sure if I had been born male I would have been named "James" (with some leanings towards "Michael"). But my Mom does not really care for the name "Joyce". So that was the compromise of sorts: just stick a "J" in between my first name and last name, and I was good to go. Ironically, the James I would have been named after goes by his middle name, his first name is Cecil (because it is his dad's name). But he really doesn't care for that much, so he goes by C.J., which is what my name has eventually de-evolved to. Probably in another decade I will eliminate the "J" and just go by "C".


I'm not really sure. I know that my younger sister, Stephanie, would have been Stephen if she'd been a boy, because it was a name that both my parents had liked for a long time. So it's probable that if I'd been a boy, I'd have gotten first dibs on Stephen.


Thanks, all -- I'm enjoying reading these. And pleased to see comments from people who don't normally comment here.

joemorf: hee! Nice story. ...I don't think anyone asked me for my opinion about what my brother should be named.

V.: For a moment I thought you were saying that your grandmother was named Vardibidienne.

Nao: Why no R? (No L, I could understand--that's what the angels did say.)

Megan: hee! Now I want to always ask kids what they want their sibs to be named.

Jacob: Obliquely reminds me that some kids eventually decide what to name themselves. ...Wow, I was sure I had posted the "boy has no name" anecdote at some point, but apparently not. I'll have to do that someday.

Mary and V.: I'm always fascinated by the "the baby didn't look like a [name], so we changed their name" thing--I agree that it seems to be fairly common, but it always surprises me. I don't think I would have any intuitive sense of what name matched a baby's appearance. (Or an adult's, though I was once told "You look like a Jed.")

Elaine: wow -- at what age did your father find out about the missing Melvin? And yikes re your grandmother calling you by her name; that does sound like an awkward family situation.

Leah: :)

Steve: Fascinating. Names are an integral part of identity for some people (me, too, I think), but not for others; wonder how that does or doesn't happen.

Fran: Alas! ...I encountered a guy named Fran online a while back; it kept surprising me that he was male.

Claris: Huh -- I'll have to add "Clair" to my list of gender-ambiguous names.

...Occurs to me that I didn't ask one of the obvious followup questions: those of you who have gender-neutral first names, would you have been given the same name regardless of what sex you were at birth?

CJ: So, wait, does the J in your name stand for anything? ...They could've named you James Joyce. Or Joyce James. ...Funny that you ended up named after James/CJ after all.


I used to know my oldest brother's back-up girl name. My second (still older) brother was to have my name, if he was a girl. Yes, I got a hamd-me-down name, since my mom was unwilling to give it up unused. Then when it was my turn, my mom, having two sons and doctors telling her she could NOT have a fourth pregnancy, only had my name in store, because having a third boy was NOT an option. Turned out fortunate (though still disappointing; she wanted two of each, so I was supposed to help out by being twins).

(Speaking of hand-me-downs -- anyone have feelings/traditions around the unused names? My mom's first pregnancy was a miscarriage, so she thought it would be bad to reuse that name. So then she didn't reuse the girl's name from her first son, either, but then changed that rule after the second boy, since my name was a strong link to her mom.)

Jazz was Jazz since the earliest planning stages, and we had an ultrasound tell us he was a boy before we picked the legal name (Elijah Zachary, and we were glad to avoid the inevitable Jasmine for a girl -- it was too soon after Alladin to not look like we were taking naming advice from Disney). Wolf was easy -- either Alexander Faolan or Alexandra Faolan (the Anna was added last minute). And for those who read SWAPA back in the late 80's, yes, the name came from the vampire I talked about in SWAPA.


I would have been Luana if i was a girl, which i'm thankful not to be, since it is a typical porno actress name in Italy


I've been told the alternate names, but I don't actually remember for sure. I think Jeffrey and Nathaniel were top of Mom's list, possibly Caleb.


I would have been David Andrew. My first child would have been David Joseph but she was a Rose. I had no trouble giving the name to the second child. I've always loved the name David and disliked the name Andrew.


LOL God only knows with my mom I would have been named after one of her lovers on the side (If I were born a male). But Marilyn Lynn, Dear lord HELP ME. lol.... After Marilyn Monroe and Loretta Lynn. I just say she had a stuttering problem. After all you do get Lynn out of Marilyn. Am I right?


I would have been Ben Peter, my next sister down Robert Douglas, and the youngest William James. None of which are particuarly exciting. But then neither are the girls names we ended up with.


Post a comment