What are some nice feminine sounding gender neutral names?
September 6, 2013 4:43 AM   Subscribe

To be more clear, what do you think are some names that, while you would first assume someone with that name is a woman, if it was a man you wouldn't be all like "Why is this guy called Jennifer?"

Now a bit of background for the question if you're curious or feel you need to know it to answer properly.

I just got a job at a contact center, and I have a few days to choose the name I will go by when on the phone. I don't have to change it, but with a name like mine (it's the same as my username, I'm that original) you can imagine people asking me what the heck I said, how it's spelled, how it's pronounced (add the rolled R), and while I'm fine with all of that in my daily life, I don't want to go through it on every call.

The thing is that I'm intergendered (check the wikipedia article on Genderqueer if you've never heard the term), and while I don't want that to be a point during the call either, it's true that a lot of the time I don't sound like a man (my voice has been changing pitch recently, I'm biologically male but my whole body has been changing since I've accepted myself, as if I was taking hormones, which I'm not. My voice pitch is so high that I am in a choir and sing the alto voice). Depending on the day, mood, etc. I sound more like a woman, more like a man, or something in between.

Of course most people think of gender in binary, so their brain will want to put me in either one or the other box. And I would like to go by a name that will let callers do just that. And to be honest I prefer to be placed in the female box (yeah, I still don't discard the possibility of being transgendered, there's a lot of soul searching going on).

Could you help me with names that would fit that? Names that if you were in doubt if the person on the phone was a man or a woman you would assume it's a woman, but if you thought the voice was masculine you wouldn't think twice about it?

I don't really like those names that are starting to be a trend now, that sound like last names (like McKinley).

Thanks, everybody!
posted by Fermin to Human Relations (137 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sandy.
posted by fikri at 4:46 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sam.
posted by girlmightlive at 4:48 AM on September 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


I've known a few male Ashleys, and I had a (male) ex whose middle name was Whitney.
posted by mykescipark at 4:48 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jamie
Jules
posted by vacapinta at 4:48 AM on September 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


Stacy
posted by jon1270 at 4:48 AM on September 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


What about Jesse or Jordan?
posted by dysh at 4:49 AM on September 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Lyn or Lin.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 4:49 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Leslie.

Or perhaps a nickname that's used for both female and male names: Alex, Andy, Chris.
posted by snorkmaiden at 4:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Lesley?
posted by dogmom at 4:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pat, or Sascha
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:50 AM on September 6, 2013


Glen
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:51 AM on September 6, 2013


Kerry or Terry
posted by lakersfan1222 at 4:51 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I like Jesse/Jessie or Jamie.

Most of the gender-ambiguous names I know seem kind of... dated? Sam, Pat, Lou, Sandy, etc. I know Lindsay, Leslie, Stacy, Tracy, and Ashley can be male names but are more commonly female.
posted by elizeh at 4:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Skyler
Morgan
posted by lovelygirl at 4:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seconding also Whitney
posted by lakersfan1222 at 4:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shawn
posted by third rail at 4:53 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know a couple of girls named Ryan
Renee (or Rene for a boy spelling)
Pat
Jamie (or Jaime)
Harper
Lee
Quinn
Rory
Riley
Alex
Sam
posted by bilabial at 4:53 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Morgan.
posted by sweetkid at 4:54 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dana.
posted by Melismata at 4:54 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Kim
posted by kandinski at 4:54 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Courtney
posted by empath at 4:56 AM on September 6, 2013


Hm, like elizeh, I'm finding many of the suggestions fairly implausible as a male name. Yes, some men have those names (more so in the UK than the US), but not many.

Fermín -- are you still in Uruguay (per your profile info)?Will the callers be from the same country, or somewhere else? I think that would be useful to know.

[But if we're going to go with a US-appropriate name, I'd vote for Sam, as if it were short for Samantha. It is cute, casual, somewhat flirty, but an equally plausible dude's name.]
posted by Halo in reverse at 5:01 AM on September 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


Francis.
posted by alms at 5:02 AM on September 6, 2013


Chase
Casey
posted by nooneyouknow at 5:05 AM on September 6, 2013


Robin-Robbie
posted by Namlit at 5:06 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gail.
posted by Gungho at 5:07 AM on September 6, 2013


Avery.
posted by greasy_skillet at 5:08 AM on September 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


Reese
Leslie is less common but I've been surprised before ...
Danny
Ollie
posted by tilde at 5:09 AM on September 6, 2013


Kelly
Robin
Reese
posted by valeries at 5:09 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lee/Leigh
posted by vespabelle at 5:10 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Devon
Sam
Frankie
Tristan (my female childhood bestie spells it Tristyn)
Robin
Cary/Carrie (as in Grant or Bradshaw)
posted by Mizu at 5:12 AM on September 6, 2013


If this is phone contact only I think you have an even wider scope, as some spellings vary but pronunciations stay fairly similar:

Ali/Allie
Ash
Gabriel/Gabrielle
Kim
Cameron
Paris
Chris
Sid/Sydney/Cyd
Daryl/Darryl
Glen
Jude* (I know women named Judy who use 'Jude' as a shortened version)
Wallace (although I haven't heard of a man named Wallace for some time)

Bear in mind John Wayne's name was Marion... call yourself whatever you want and people will deal :)
posted by Trivia Newton John at 5:14 AM on September 6, 2013


Jay
Kay
Hilary
posted by crocomancer at 5:16 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Erin/Aaron
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 5:17 AM on September 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


Shannon
posted by backwards guitar at 5:18 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shannon
Bryn
Quin
Morgan
Sasha
posted by Salamander at 5:19 AM on September 6, 2013


Two old fashioned men's names are Evelyn (Eevlin as in Evelyn Waugh) and Hilary. Seconding Jude. Frankie.

Surprised by Wallace as a woman's name, but then I'm writing from Wallace & Gromit country.

Gabriel, with the continental pronounciation ie pronounced as Gabrielle.
posted by glasseyes at 5:20 AM on September 6, 2013


Michele (considered feminine in NA but can be a French male name)
Bernie (this leans masculine for though)
Jordan
Geri/Jerry
What about place names like Paris or London or Brooklyn? They are nominally gender neutral but the trend has been to give them mostly to girls.
posted by saucysault at 5:22 AM on September 6, 2013


Jo/Joe. JoJo. Jan.
Frances/Francis.
posted by mareli at 5:25 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Harper
Fergie
posted by saucysault at 5:30 AM on September 6, 2013


Nthing Robin and Dana. They're the most common feminine-leaning unisex names I've encountered in real life (i.e. I've met guys and know of multiple male celebrities with those names).
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:34 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nthing Leslie. When my high-school boyfriend started dating his current partner, I actually had no idea it was a guy because Facebook just told me, "Friend is in a relationship with Leslie Lastname." I thought, "Oh, that's nice!" and then a week later got curious to see what this Leslie looked like and discovered it was a guy Leslie - a bit late to share the "Congratulations, you came out!" news.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:34 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cameron
posted by Rock Steady at 5:36 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mandy!
posted by thirdletter at 5:44 AM on September 6, 2013


Taylor.
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:46 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stevie
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:51 AM on September 6, 2013


Shane
Kelly/Kelley
posted by jbickers at 5:54 AM on September 6, 2013


I saw a news crawl yesterday (so, it was short and uninformative!) that said the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers was rumored to be dating US soccer player Sydney somethingorther. And I was like wait, the QB is gay and nobody told me??!

US *women's* soccer team. Has a player who is a woman named Sydney.

If that's too male, though, I've known men and women named Kai (the one I know currently is a trans dude).
posted by rtha at 5:59 AM on September 6, 2013


I knew a guy named Brooke. Everyone thought he was a she until they met him!
posted by yaymukund at 5:59 AM on September 6, 2013


I know both men and women named Kerry. I knew three brothers named Stacey, Tracey and Kim. And I have known two straight couples named Kelly and Stacey, but one with a male Kelly and a female Stacey and the other reversed.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:02 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Riley. Lee. Pat. Arie.
posted by Debaser626 at 6:05 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've known a roughly equal number of men and women named Blair.
posted by Coatlicue at 6:06 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Surprised by Wallace as a woman's name, but then I'm writing from Wallace & Gromit country.

You mean the country where King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson?


A lot of these names are just too old fashioned to work well. If this is phone contact only you're probably better off with one of the homophones like Erin/Aaron or Jessie/Jesse.

I think Erin/Aaron is best because it's not a nickname for an obviously gendered name. Then you don't get questions like "Chris/Sam/Jess? Is that short for something?"

Of course you can just respond to that with a chipper "Nope, just Chris!" and move the call along.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:06 AM on September 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


Surprised by Wallace as a woman's name, but then I'm writing from Wallace & Gromit country.
posted by glasseyes at 7:20 PM

Of course! Wallis is the usual spelling for women. There was one that made the papers over your way. Perhaps Wallace is purely an animation name now? Footrot Flats anyone?

Also Dale.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:08 AM on September 6, 2013


Kai, Carrie, Robin, Erin
posted by Nothing at 6:08 AM on September 6, 2013


My coworker happens to be pregnant with a girl. She's picked a gender-neutral name (last half of the alphabet) and I've been guessing for months. So here's my list of past guesses!

Peyton
Rene/Renee
Reese/Rhys
Riley
Rory
Ryan
Reagan/Regan
Robin
Rowan
Sascha
Sidney
Spencer
Sage
Shawn
Sloan
Toby
posted by kimberussell at 6:12 AM on September 6, 2013


Jamie
Dallas
Terry
Rain
posted by windykites at 6:14 AM on September 6, 2013


This definitely depends on where you are and who will be calling you. I'm about to turn 27 in the US and I think Sam is the obvious answer. It seems Samuel was out of fashion as a name around when I was born, so the Sams I know are overwhelmingly women, with the occasional man. I gender Ashley/Hilary/Leslie/etc based on nationality--I assume Americans are women and British people are men. You do encounter Americans who have no idea that these are also masculine names.

Loren and Lauren are homophones in some accents, but they're both strongly gendered. (Same with Aaron and Erin, though I met a woman called Aaron once.)
posted by hoyland at 6:23 AM on September 6, 2013


Parker
posted by barnoley at 6:25 AM on September 6, 2013


Nthing Erin/Aaron, for your purposes. It's possibly the most common ubiquitous (sounding) name.

However, if customers will see/ask for the spelling, that probably won't work. In that case, I would go with Casey or Jamie. So many of the names have a primary female/male context that people are surprised when they learn their assumption isn't true -- you want something that is commonly either gender.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:25 AM on September 6, 2013


Rae/Ray.

There's also a world of initials, though a chatty caller may ask what the initials stand for. I go by TJ a lot of the time, and I consider one advantage as being neutralizing a very feminine first and middle name when I'm in the mood to do that.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:26 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jo
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:28 AM on September 6, 2013


I also thought Lauren was strongly gendered. When I sent a job application to Lauren (Lastname), and followed up with an email to "Ms. (Lastname)", I found out it was not quite so strongly gendered as I'd thought. I didn't get the job.
posted by jeffjon at 6:29 AM on September 6, 2013


Marion
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:30 AM on September 6, 2013


My cousin's middle name is Jordan. Is it my boy cousin or my girl cousin? The world may never know.
posted by phunniemee at 6:33 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alex seems like your safest bet, followed by "just Alex!" if they ask what it's short for. Erin / Aaron is a close second, but the spelling (if it comes up) is a dead giveaway.

Loren / Lauren, Michele / Michelle, and Rene / Renee are all pronounced slightly differently in my accent. If I called in I would assume your gender based on your pronunciation.
posted by AmandaA at 6:35 AM on September 6, 2013


Erin/Aaron, Robin, Dana, Sydney. I'm really surprised that people here are saying that Sam is more feminine than masculine!
posted by Jpfed at 6:36 AM on September 6, 2013


I just met a man called Erin. So the spelling isn't always a giveaway. Though I assumed he was a woman until someone told me.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:37 AM on September 6, 2013


Vivian
Cecil
posted by doodledeedee at 6:37 AM on September 6, 2013


Oh, and for over the phone, I would strongly suggest a two-syllable name. One syllable (especially Lee, my last name) is hard to enunciate over the phone, especially since it's easy for a single syllable to drop and not be heard.
posted by phunniemee at 6:38 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think being dated would matter more if you were naming a baby, but you're naming an adult here so names that are trendy right now don't really make sense.

FWIW, I work with two male Dana's and my boss is Stacey (male); his work partner is Stacy (female). I love Sam but don't think it meets your criteria of leaning female.

Friends have a male D'arcy.
posted by purenitrous at 6:40 AM on September 6, 2013


Julie
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:42 AM on September 6, 2013


Tory, short for Victoria or Salvatore. Though I think it stands on its own, not as a nickname -- the men I've known named Tory were not shortening Salvatore.

Sam is good, as is Alex.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 6:45 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nthing Kelly/Stacy (or Erin/Aaron if you don't need the spelling to be blatantly neutral)

To add, I've known both guys and gals named Kelsey (admittedly more gals though).
posted by rideunicorns at 6:48 AM on September 6, 2013


Don / Dawn
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dated a guy named Kristin. Went by Kris.
posted by catatethebird at 6:52 AM on September 6, 2013


Julian
Tory
posted by Ham Snadwich at 6:52 AM on September 6, 2013


Peyton
Riley
Taylor
Chris
Sam
Aubrey
Avery
posted by meringue at 6:53 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've known a few boys and girls named Travis.

See also Bobby/Bobby
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:54 AM on September 6, 2013


I know both men and women named Spencer.
Alex is also a good dual-gender name. As is Sam.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:59 AM on September 6, 2013


Dale
Blair
Casey
posted by catatethebird at 7:00 AM on September 6, 2013


Jackie (which was my father's name but often assumed by strangers to be my mother's name)
posted by TedW at 7:08 AM on September 6, 2013


I should add, growing up in the deep south there were lots of kids of all genders with family last names as first names.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:11 AM on September 6, 2013


Dara
posted by TheGoodBlood at 7:12 AM on September 6, 2013


Nthing Alex or Sam.

Other ideas:
Blake
Dom (short for Dominic or Dominique)
posted by wiskunde at 7:14 AM on September 6, 2013


Bailey
posted by cali59 at 7:20 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gail
Carroll
posted by Sassyfras at 7:20 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Payton
posted by hmo at 7:43 AM on September 6, 2013


You could go the French route:

Michel / Michelle
Francois / Francoise
Dominiq / Dominique
Daniel / Danielle
Maxime
Gabriel / Gabrielle
Jose / Josee
Rene / Renee
Claude

You could go the "other language therefore could be anything route"; eg. Japanese or Indian.

and wouldn't you know it, there's a wikipedia article for everything
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:49 AM on September 6, 2013


Cory / Corey

I (and several of my co-workers) were recently the callers in the basic situation you describe. As we were debriefing after, we were split in referring to this Corey person with male or female pronouns.
posted by dancesquad at 7:56 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sacha is my favorite gender neutral name.
posted by Young Kullervo at 8:00 AM on September 6, 2013


River
posted by Burgatron at 8:01 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are a bunch of males named Courtney.
posted by Night_owl at 8:10 AM on September 6, 2013


Linden
posted by Redstart at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2013


Mischa or Dara...or, if you'd like to preserve the "F" in your name, Finn.
posted by Pomo at 8:21 AM on September 6, 2013


Mallory.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:27 AM on September 6, 2013


I immediately thought of Leigh, Ashley, Tracy, Stacy, which have already been mentioned. "Claude" is a good gender-neutral French name, but an Anglophone seeing it would presume that it was a male.

Some of the other answers don't seem to meet the OP's criterion. "Francis" is gendered male, at least in the US; the female version is "Frances," with an E. Similarly, "Michel" and "Michelle" are homophones, but not homographs. "Françoise" is not even a homophone of "François," though I did have a former colleague named Françoise who was often called "François" by people with strange folk theories of how French words are pronounced.
posted by brianogilvie at 8:28 AM on September 6, 2013


Fionn is a boys name, but sounds kind of feminine to me, because 'Fiona' is so common.

Some guys in Australia go by 'Kim' too, but I'm not sure how common that is elsewhere.

I personally like 'Ren' as a name, and think it could go both ways.

'Remy' or 'Remie' is a french boys name, but again, it sounds kinda feminine to me.

"Meredith" but it's pretty uncommon for boys now.
posted by Dimes at 8:35 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joe
Sam
Terry
Kim
Jordan
Alex

I am Australian in case that's relevant and have met men and women called those names.
posted by wwax at 8:37 AM on September 6, 2013


When I do sample databases, I like to use gender-ambivalent names. I've used: Jo, Lee, Terry, Chris, Al, Pat, Danny, Alex, Jackie, Ryan, Sandy, Jamie, and will add: Cory, Rory, Stacey, Tracey and Kim.
posted by theora55 at 8:43 AM on September 6, 2013


I just met a man called Erin. So the spelling isn't always a giveaway. Though I assumed he was a woman until someone told me.

Maybe I'm alone here, but I also think there's a discernable pronunciation difference between Erin and Aaron.

I'm voting for Jamie or Jesse.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:51 AM on September 6, 2013


Response by poster: Wow!
You are all great!

I'm on a 30 minute lunch break, on training for the job, so I can't read all the answers thouroughly yet, but to answer a couple of things I saw some of you asked:
I am still in Uruguay but the callers will be from the US.
It's not only phone, I do have to send out an e-mail after every call with the details of what was done/discussed and a customer satisfaction survey.

Now I better eat.
posted by Fermin at 8:59 AM on September 6, 2013


Tony/Toni

Nthing "Kerry," as I know a male/female couple who both have that name, spelled in that manner!
posted by telophase at 9:11 AM on September 6, 2013


What about Casey? That is sort of an 80s person name, but it's pretty gender-neutral.
posted by urbanlenny at 9:20 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dana
Jesse
posted by Dolley at 9:22 AM on September 6, 2013


I'm an American woman and like my gender-neutral name: Adrian.
posted by Specklet at 10:02 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lesley is gender neutral name. I have found that the spelling of the name can help tip you off (In my experience leslEY is usually woman, leslIE is usually man).
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:04 AM on September 6, 2013


Lesley is gender neutral name. I have found that the spelling of the name can help tip you off (In my experience leslEY is usually woman, leslIE is usually man).
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 1:04 PM on September 6 [+] [!]


To follow up on Leslie/Lesley - the two women of this name that I know are Leslies, and my exboyfriend's male partner is Leslie too! And Leslie Nielsen was male, of course, but Leslie Mann is a woman (ha, I never noticed that. A woman with a gender neutral name and the surname of Man!)

*ahem* Anyway, I don't know that spelling will necessarily give that one away like Erin/Aaron will.
posted by chainsofreedom at 10:09 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


chainsofreedom: Fair enough. My experience has been otherwise, but maybe that is the point. People go all over the place with that name and you never can tell, which is exactly what the OP is looking for!

Leslie as a NAME is ungendered, and Leslie as a spelling (vs. Lesley) is a apparently the more ungendered spelling of the name. So maybe that is a really good choice for you.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:17 AM on September 6, 2013


You'll want to be thinking about age as well as gender.

Many of these names have interpretations that change depending on age: a 60-year old Sam is almost certainly male, a 25-year-old Sam is probably female.

You should probably avoid names that make you sound younger than you are — and especially names that were trendy in the past 20 years, since they'll make you sound like you're in your teens or very early 20s, and that will get you less respect over the phone. So for instance, Rhys and Brooklyn would probably be a bad idea, because they'll tend to make US callers treat you as young and immature.

Sadly, too, you'll get more respect over the phone if you have a traditional white-person name.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 10:36 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


How about Mack?
posted by gentian at 11:13 AM on September 6, 2013


Gabe.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 11:33 AM on September 6, 2013


Toby
posted by Sassyfras at 11:33 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Erin/Aaron are the two most common spellings of the name, but there are others that are pronounced the same and even more gender confusing. Mine is spelled Aerin. I'm female, but was assigned to boy's PE in my first year of high school and had to send the US Selective Service a copy of my birth certificate to prove I was a girl when I turned 18. I also have a generally male but gender neutral-ish middle name, which made it more confusing.

In high school, I had a friend whose name was spelled Ehrin. Male, and had the same middle name as me as well. His mother thought it was funny and that he and I should date. That would have been creepy.

Also spelled Aeryn, Aron, Eron...
posted by monopas at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2013


Ricki/Ricky is another one. I've know a couple female Rickis (and everybody knows Ricki Lake). Otherwise I think the best options are Casey, Jamie, and Jesse.
posted by jabes at 11:49 AM on September 6, 2013


For clarity over the phone, I took a look at the phonetic alphabet names. Charlie fits the criteria best. Me, I might choose Echo, cute, fanciful and what if:

Client: And your name is?
You: Echo
Caller: What?
You: Echo

heh
posted by maggieb at 11:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lynn
posted by maggieb at 11:58 AM on September 6, 2013


I would cast a vote for Casey. It's a complete name, so no what is it short for questions and it is frequently spelled with the -ey for men and women. I'm in my early 30's and grew up in a rather small town, yet knew plenty of people with the name and spelling who identified as both male and female, so unless you sound incredibly elderly no one would think it strange if you sounded more female during the call.
posted by itsonreserve at 11:59 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Armand
posted by JujuB at 12:20 PM on September 6, 2013


Nikita.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:38 PM on September 6, 2013


Ashley

Dana

Dale

Ryan
posted by floweredfish at 2:01 PM on September 6, 2013


I'm jumping in on the Morgan train. Who doesn't want to be a unicorn?
posted by anya32 at 2:20 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rowan or Jude. I think Jesse/Jessie works well if you're only speaking to them. Robin is a good choice or Alex. Joe/Jo might work.
posted by plonkee at 2:35 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sydney
posted by bad grammar at 4:53 PM on September 6, 2013


Jody
posted by Empidonax at 4:55 PM on September 6, 2013


If you have to write follow-up emails, then it makes more sense to pick one that is (or can be) spelled the same way for men and women. This is what I came up with after going through my Facebook:

Ariel
Casey
Logan
Kelly
Jordan
Alex
Brooke
Jamie
Taylor
Brett
Lee
Chris
Corey
Sam
Carson
Madison
Andy
Hayden
Devon
Lane
Shawn
Quinn
Jody
Sasha
Carter
Ryan
posted by naoko at 5:03 PM on September 6, 2013


Somebody up thread wrote "Francis." No. Francis is always and only male. "Frances" is female.

Kris or Andrea.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 6:33 PM on September 6, 2013


Brett
posted by gudrun at 7:25 PM on September 6, 2013


I will tell you that my username (also my IRL nickname) came about because I was sick of people who hadn't met me yet assuming I was male - now I always go as "Alexandra" on paper, in email, etc. Alex is a great name, and kept short could go either way!
posted by girlalex at 11:51 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This week in HR;

Kendall
Winston (girl)
Derrick (girl)
Wilby (don't know yet)
Demetri (girl)
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:59 AM on September 7, 2013


Elliot
Mel
posted by Sassyfras at 7:40 AM on September 7, 2013


Alexis!
posted by speicus at 8:29 AM on September 7, 2013


Laurie is less gendered than Lauren, IME.
posted by redlines at 1:06 PM on September 7, 2013


2nding Adrian.
posted by munyeca at 1:50 PM on September 7, 2013


Response by poster: Halo in reverse: "I'd vote for Sam, as if it were short for Samantha. It is cute, casual, somewhat flirty, but an equally plausible dude's name."

Oh, that sounds a lot like me! :P



Jpfed: "Erin/Aaron, Robin, Dana, Sydney. I'm really surprised that people here are saying that Sam is more feminine than masculine!"

Me too, the first thing I picture when I think of Sam is some sweaty bald guy in a wifebeater (don´t ask me why, I´m Uruguayan), but the second is Lindsay Lohan when she was still cute, wearing jeans and an open white flannel shirt (did she play a character named Sam back then?). And I actually like the name.


St. Peepsburg: "You could go the "other language therefore could be anything route"; eg. Japanese or Indian.

Well, my real name, despite being strongly gendered in Spanish and Euskera (it´s a basque name), has already been taken as feminine by Americans I´ve worked with before (I guess it sounds like Charlene), but for reasons stated in the OP and also mentioned by Maggieb, I´d rather not go that route.

St. Peepsburg: "and wouldn't you know it, there's a wikipedia article for everything"

I actually read that article the day before I posted this question, but it didn´t help me find out if the names leaned more towards male or female, or any of the other aspects in a lot of the answers here.

Burgatron: "River"

A few days ago I found an article about gender neutral names and that one was mentioned. I love it, but I´m afraid it can be too hippie. Even for me.

urbanlenny: "What about Casey? That is sort of an 80s person name, but it's pretty gender-neutral."

80s person as in born in the 80s? That would be me, but Casey is not a name I like. Thanks, though.


maggieb: "For clarity over the phone, I took a look at the phonetic alphabet names. Charlie fits the criteria best. Me, I might choose Echo, cute, fanciful and what if:

Client: And your name is?
You: Echo
Caller: What?
You: Echo

heh
"

Hahaha! That´s a good one.
Another good name from the phonetic alphabet would be India:

"Thank you for calling Metafilter customer service. This is India. How may I help you?"

Ok, maybe not...


After all the awesome answers, some that seems like they didn´t read the question properly, and some that I can only understand as trolling attempts, I´m torn between:

- Leslie (I already used it during some roleplaying exercises. It also means "garden of hollies", and "holly" is the name given to the genus Ilex, which includes Ilex Paraguaiensis, also known as Yerba Mate, used to prepare Mate, the national drink of Uruguay)

- Sam (short, cute, casual, somewhat flirty)

- Jamie (I loved Helen Hunt´s character in "Mad about you". Well, I loved everything in that show)

I also like Sandy and Shannon, but while I know they are plausible male names (I drink a glass of Sandy Mac every now and then, and my brother in Berkeley used to be tutored by a male professor with Shannon as a first name), I think my management may lack the cultural awareness to know that and if I pick one of those names I may be forced to have a conversation with them that I´m not sure if I want to have.

Thanks, everybody!
posted by Fermin at 9:18 PM on September 7, 2013


while I know they are plausible male names [...], I think my management may lack the cultural awareness to know that

Fair enough, the same may be the case with Nikita. Even though there was a male Sovjet premier by that name, people in the West generally assume that it's a female name.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:05 AM on September 8, 2013


As hoyland says, it's location specific. A British Ashley or Whitney would almost certainly be female - the use of these as male names seems to be more of a WASP thing. Although Leslie reads male to me as a Brit, Hilary, unless the person is of a particular age or class, as female. Same with Gail and Kelly, and the opposite with Dom and Ryan. If you pick one of these names and are speaking to people from a different place, you might get a lot of comment on it - like the person in my office called Jan, which is a male name in Cornwall but reads as female outside it.

I think of Charlie as a mostly female name.Avery is lovely as well.
posted by mippy at 3:59 AM on September 11, 2013


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