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.
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.
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.)