delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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A stinkweed by any other name...
delirium happy
I can't remember if I've mentioned it before here or only in my other journal, communties, irc, IM and such like, but I've been thinking about changing my name. It's not that I don't like the name rachel, because I do. It's served me really quite well for the past three and a half years or so, considering that I chose it on a whim with approximately zero thought.

The problem is that there are times when I'm just not comfortable with it. Times when I just don't want to tell people my name at all. See, my appearance is pretty gender ambiguous. People frequently can't tell whether I'm male or female. And I like this. It means that they can't pigeon hole me into some preconceived pattern of behaviour, but instead have to take me as they find me. All I have ever wanted is to be me, and this is one of the best ways to be just that. But if I give out my name then it ruins all that. People think "oh, girl" and act accordingly.

So I want a gender-ambiguous name.

Various people have suggested various names, but I've either not liked them, or they're too associated with other people in my mind (I've always really liked the name Sam, for example...) or they work when spoken but not written (Jo, for instance, but that's one that I really like a lot and might consider using anyway) or are far too American (Adrian is just not a girl's name. Nor is Bob). I quite liked the idea of using Rowan for a bit until I got told it would make me sound like a backstabbing goth-wannabe horse Mr Bean, so that's out too.

I was talking to 36 about this the other day, and was given the suggestion of single letter names. Now, there's a lot to be said for calling myself R. For starters, I'm comfortable with it, and I answer to it already, and it definitely isn't at all gendered. The problem is that it also isn't a name. It doesn't even sound vaguely like a name. Of the single letters that do vaguely resemble names, J and M are out by association, and K and D just don't feel like me. So there goes that idea as well.

Or maybe not. I mentioned all of this to sath who suggested using a Greek letter. So , a quick google later I had the Greek alphabet sitting in front of me and was looking at which letters were potentially usable. Four possibilities presented themselves:

rho -- which is essentially just R which is a nice tie with my past (well, my present, but it would be my past if I decided to use it. It also has quite a nice ring to it, and while it may not actually be a name, it certainly sounds like one. Lesser advantages include the fact that I really like writing stylised rhos and that I get to make geeky jokes about being dense. A slight drawback is that it makes me sound like a Bajoran who used to serve on the Enterprise D.

tau -- I'm not really sure why I liked this one. Geeky jokes about periods are probably even funnier and deeper than ones about density, but other than that I can't see a great deal going for it.

zeta -- sounds even more like a name than rho does. It might even be a name. Then there's the fact that the letter z is just inherently cool. Drawbacks include the lower case zeta looking vaguely like Prince's name.

beta -- pretty similar to zeta really, except with a rather nicer letter and slightly less nice otherwise.

So what do people think

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just some thoughts

Rho is a girl's name here. At least I went to college with several girls with different names who went by the nickname Rho.

beta and zeta both sound vaguely star-trekish for some reason to me, and having spent some time in the BDSM community, I know that some use beta to refer to 'unders' or 'bottoms'. not sure if that's a potentional connitational you're going to be happy with presenting for yourself. Also, I'm pretty sure that zeta has been used as a girl's name here.

and for the record, I know several Rowans, all of whom are transgendered, and are a mix of MtF and FtM, however are all bi and rather sexually and gender ambiguous

Any name ending with 'a' will be considered female IMO.

I agree (at least where people from North European cultures are concerned - there are some Italian and Asian male names ending in a.)

Jamie works for me as gender-neutral, but that may be under the influence of Mad About You and hence too American.

Jaime (I prefer that spelling for some reason, but Jamie works as well) feels quite gender-neutral to me.
A friend of mine once took to calling me Jaime for no reason, but then she found out I knew another Jaime, so I became the fake Jaime... then she met the real one (female) and much confusion ensued.

I'd tend to read Jaime as a feminine name. *re-adjusts assumptions*

You could have a play with the Name Gender Calculator over at

Rho definitely a girl's name. Short for Rosanne or Rowena etc. Not short for Robert or any other male name.
Re Zeta - Catherine Zeta Jones.
Tau - weird, vaguely Asian and not you.
Beta - I second comments re BDSM
Rowan - mainly female to my mind, with the obvious undesirable exception of Rowan Atkinson.
What about Max? Maximillian would be cool as a male variant, Maxine slightly less so as a female option. Also the name of the very fit main character in Dark Angel.

But isn't "Rowan" the male version, and "Rowena" the female version?

Cheers - Piers

Perhaps. I just can't get the rather female association of Rowan being a common name for the hawthorn tree out of my head - often associated with white magic, wicca etc., and by popular association witchcraft = female. But perhaps I'm just weird.


It all depends what you want. Some of those names will make life harder for you in the so-called "Real" world... For instance, "Zeta" and "Beta". Plus there's the pronunciation problem - is that ZAY-ta or ZEE-ta?

Tau... well, naming yourself after a school of phlosophy has its merits... but may garner a lot of misunderstanding. Especially if you don't follow said school :-)

Rho has promise. It sounds like a nickname, not a name, but lots of people use nicknames every day. Besides, you can make up a new name to match it every time someone asks what it's short for...

Still... have yout thought of looking further afield? If I were to use a single letter name, I'd start looking at heirogloyphs and cuneiform, and the pronunciations used. A heiroglyphic name might be fun, since you can express each syllable in so many ways - longer or shorter as you need.


nicked from abth

a few to think over
A is for Alice, Al, Andy/Andi, Alva/Ailbhe, Alex, Audrey
B is for Bob and Bobby, Beverley, Bertie, Bernie
C is for Chris, Charlie, Carol, Con
D is for Danny and Dee, Davy/Davie[*], Dale, Dewi (Welsh is male, Indonesian is
E is for Evelyn, Ellie, Em
F is for Frankie, (short for Frances/Francis)
G is for Georgie or even George, Gerry/Geri, Ginger, Gale. Gil(l), Gabriel, Gay
H is for Harry, Henry, Holly, Harper[*] or Hanley[*] Hil(l)ary
I is for Ira
J is for Julian, who started the whole thing off, Jan, Jackie, Jo, Jay,
Jess(i)e, Jamie/Jaime, Jer, Jean
K is for Kim, Kay, Karol, Kelly
L is for Lou, Lee, Lesley/Leslie, Lindsay/Lynsey, Lin
M is for Marty, Mel, Marion, Mo, Mich or Mitch, Mick(e)y
N is for Nick/Nicky/Nik, Nicola/Nikola
O is for Ollie, Omega
P is for Paulie, Pat, Pete, Pip
Q is for Queenie[*], Quincey[*]
R is for Ronnie, Ray, Rowan, Robin, Ricky
S is for Sam, Sandy, Sasha, Si, Shannon, Shirley, Shelley, Savannah, Sidney
T is for Terry/Terri, Tracey, Toni/Tony
U is for Uli/Ulli
V is for Vivian/Vyvian, Val
W is for Wills, Wiggy, Winnie
X is for Xan, Xeno
Y is for Yve/Yves
Z is for Zera[*]


I've only met one person called Rho, and it was the guy who tried to rape my best friend. Some bad associations there. :-( Not bad apart from that I guess.

How about chi? Definitely my favourite greek letter after three months of LaTeX, but easy to mispronounce I guess. And it does sound like a name to me. The weird thing is that it also sounds like Rachel to me.

This is where the Americans tell me that Chi is a male name in America, of course. :-)

I don't like beta. Sounds too much like a kitchen implement. :-)


Zeta and Beta sound like aliens from old sci-fi. I wouldn't recommend that.

Oh, come on... go with the psycho ones. Why not be Omicron or Epsilon?

My prediction: you'll look for years, come up with a bunch o' stuff, but none of them ever feel like you, until one day something pops into your head and just sticks. That's my life story... Most people know me as Ary now, but I was born Evelyn (which I hate)

Good luck!

I think you should go with rho. it suits you.

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