Peeves


First, let me talk about St. Patrick’s Day; you know, my general thoughts on it, since I love to give my opinion on everything. 😉 I really dislike this holiday. I like the idea of a day to celebrate Irish heritage, since so many Americans have it. What I don’t like is people running around getting drunk and screaming “I’M SO OIRISH GUIZE! ERIN GO BRAUGH! SHAMROCKS!” It’s too much.

This is where my great great grandfather and great great grandmother likely got married

Conwal Parish Church: This is where my great great grandfather and great great grandmother likely got married

First, you aren’t Irish. I’m sure you don’t even know where in Ireland your family came from. (Putting my money where my mouth is: My Irish ancestry, through my grandmother, is from Carrickatimpan, Gartan, Donegal, Ireland. They came over a little later than most others; 1893, through Glasgow port to New York on the SS Anchoria. I can’t get any farther back than 1817 on one branch and 1839 on another; McLaughlins and Dohertys are a dime a dozen over there.) Anyway, I have a great distaste for drinking to the point of drunkeness (or drinking in general, really), so this isn’t exactly my holiday. However, it might be a nice idea to look at some decidedly Irish names I like. Since I am proud of my heritage, and don’t need green beer to show it.

Yeah, I didn’t feel like saying much, so I think I’m just going to list. I know I’m being lazy.

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Consider Morgan. A Welsh masculine name for centuries, it was rudely plucked from the masculine side by masses of parents claiming they needed a “strong name” for their daughter. Sure, there’s Morgan le Fay, but how many of these parents knew about this predecessor when they chose this name for their daughter? Unfortunately, this trend of using masculine names for girls seems to be in full force, and not likely to leave anytime soon. Good, masculine names are being stolen from the boys and unceremoniously dumped on oblivious baby girls. Recently, we’ve seen the aforementioned Morgan, Avery, Aidan, Elliott, and even super-masculine James on girls! Of course, this list is only of commonly used forenames that have switched genders. Now, I have nothing against using surnames, but only if they are on the family tree, and in the middle, please! Madison, Mackenzie, Kennedy, and McKenna are all commonly bestowed on girls, the parents wantonly tossing aside convention and etymology. Usually, Mackenzie is listed in baby name books as an “Irish” name meaning “child of the wise leader.” Unfortunately for trendy parents, these books are wrong. Mackenzie is a Scottish surname that means son of a wise leader, more or less.

See, I have a few problems with this absolutely abhorrent trend. The first is the sexism inherent in the most common explanation, “we wanted a strong name.” The implication is that to be strong, one has to be masculine. Because, as we all know, there have never been strong women named Margaret, Elizabeth, Eleanor, or Catherine. As well, it only goes one way; you hardly see boys with girl’s names. Why is that? The simple answer is that these parents think that a boy with a feminine name will be seen as “weak” or a “pansy.” Most parents think they are being open-minded and equal opportunity; they are really perpetuating sexist stereotypes of what strength is.

My second problem with this fad is the one that I have with all fads: the name will date horribly. Everyone will look at a girl named Kamryn and know her age. Some of these names might stand well due to an utter neutralization of the name’s gender affiliation; however, I believe, for my own sanity, that this craze will die down and the only thing left will be scads of middle aged women with men’s names.

Of course, we’re here to talk names, not listen to me rant. So I’ll tell you guys which of these names I happen to like on boys:

  • Morgan
  • Avery
  • Elliott
  • Alexis

Generally, they’re too popular for my tastes. I do, however, like a lot of names that once were masculine, and are now unambiguously feminine in the States:

  • Leslie
  • Ashley
  • Meredith
  • Shannon
  • Vivian
  • Tracy
  • Jocelyn

I don’t mind most of these on girls, but I think they’re a lot more handsome on boys. I also love Sasha on a boy, but I don’t think it was ever considered masculine here, and is pretty generally unisex in Russia. So I prefer it on a boy, but have no problem with it on girls.

So, in conclusion, consider Morgan. For a boy.