Michael, show the boat a roar

It began, apparently, with Stacy McCain’s evocation of what he called “Art Hembree’s Law”, which stated in no uncertain terms: “All Girls Named Tonya Are Sluts.” The question of whether we should buy into a metalaw created by someone named Art is not, of course, addressed.

Melissa Clouthier picked up this particular ball and ground out a second down:

If all girls named Tonya are sluts, then all girls named Amy are mean gossips. Now, I’ve lived long enough that the rules have had too many exceptions to be valid, but I’m still suspicious when I meet an Amy. She has a threshold of niceness that she must scale that Anns (they’re smart) just don’t have to.

Don’t forget Susans. To a person, they’ve all been smug, self-righteous smarty-pants. Is there a Susan who is a C-student? I don’t think so. Is there a Susan who isn’t a competitive-better-than-you ball of high achievement? Haven’t met her yet.

This could go on indefinitely. And guys aren’t exempt either:

Have to be careful with Michael’s. They can go either way — mean or nice. They are usually smart.

Do names determine behavior? I wonder.

Well, maybe:

Two researchers in my own home state of Pennsylvania have found that there is more to a baby name than you might think. The two researchers, David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee conducted a study at Shippensburg University that took a look at common and uncommon boys names and found a link between uncommon names and breaking the law.

First, they compiled a list of names of boys that they called juvenile delinquents as well as boys in the standard population. They then ranked these names based on popularity. So a name such as Michael, for example, would have a high rank, while a name like Ernest would score a low ranking.

Their findings show that regardless of race, the boys with the least popular names are the most likely to engage in criminal activity. They believe that these unpopular names may be associated with other factors that increase the likelihood of criminal activity, such as a disadvantaged home environment. They also sited [sic] low socio-economic status and single parent households.

This doesn’t explain girls, of course — except Heathers, and that was years ago.

In my own experience, there’s only one name-related phenomenon that’s even slightly reliable: a woman named Deborah is likely to be taller than a woman named Debra. (Use of the familiar “Debbie” does not change the facts of the matter, if facts they be.)


  1. Lynn »

    22 August 2009 · 9:29 pm

    And bloggers named Charles invariably get more comments than I do on the same topics. ;-)

    My son swears that women named Michelle are all crazy. I have known several girls named Amy and they’ve all been nice. One used to be a really annoying kid but she grew out of it.

  2. CGHill »

    22 August 2009 · 9:35 pm

    In my experience, one-L Micheles are decidedly less crazy than two-L Michelles. (I don’t know any three-L Michellles.)

    We’ll see about that comments thing. Right now, it’s 2-1 in your favor, since I’m not counting my own.

    (Here’s Lynn’s take on a similar subject.)

  3. Lynn »

    22 August 2009 · 9:41 pm

    I won’t count mine either so I guess so far this post has no comments.

  4. hatless in hattiesburg »

    22 August 2009 · 9:43 pm

    Though this pattern has long since been disproven, all of the “Jeff”s I knew before high school were the weird paste-eating kids. Most of the “Brad”s I’ve known are smug”, and all but one of the “Tim”s I know are skinny. I’ve also heard that boys with “Wayne” as a middle name are much more likely to commit crimes, but I’ve never met any personally.

  5. CGHill »

    22 August 2009 · 9:56 pm

    Chuck Shepherd (News of the Weird) has perhaps the definitive list of criminals with the middle name Wayne.

  6. Suzette (whose real name is Susan) »

    22 August 2009 · 11:05 pm

    I resemble that remark.

  7. McGehee »

    23 August 2009 · 7:52 am

    I have a cousin who is known as “Sue” but whose full name is Suzanne. I think she might have managed to be a C student.

    Gotta be the “-zanne.”

  8. unimpressed »

    23 August 2009 · 3:10 pm

    I have only known one Michel(l)e in my life and if your statement has any validity whatsoever, she was the LESSER of two-evils. If ever I meet the two L variety, I’ll run–not walk–to the nearest exit. I know that a single sample is meaningless statiscitally, however, I don’t think I’ll take the chance. Too many bad memories there.

  9. Cary »

    23 August 2009 · 7:40 pm

    Does anybody know what happened to Dwayne the Canoe Guy?

  10. CGHill »

    23 August 2009 · 8:07 pm

    Still out there. Last time he weighed in with a comment was around the end of July.

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