gay men and their names

Page Stephens hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Mar 15 18:37:35 UTC 2006

Apparently everyone if they ever read it has forgotten about what I wrote
on this subject some time ago.

In it I said:

By the way one of the things which I have noticed among my friends of my
generation -- I am 62 -- is that many of my friends from my childhood whom
we used to call Bob and Dick now tell me to call them Robert and Richard.

Is this a general trend or just peculiar to the people from southern
Illinois of my generation?

I do know that my friends in my hometown from the generation before us
still call themselves Bob or Dick and not Robert or Richard but I do not
know if this is peculiar to this area of the US or not.

OK :-) There it is again.

Page Stephens

> [Original Message]
> From: Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Date: 3/15/2006 11:11:10 AM
> Subject: Re: gay men and their names
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: gay men and their names
> On Mar 15, 2006, at 6:57 AM, Ron Butters wrote:
> > In a message dated 3/14/06 12:41:48 PM, stevekl at PANIX.COM writes:
> >
> >
> >> On Wed, 8 Mar 2006, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
> >>
> >>> for several decades now, many gay men in their 20s and 30s have
> >>> moved
> >>> from (childhood) nicknames to full names -- Bob to Robert, Steve to
> >>> Steven, etc.  this continues to happen, as far as i can see.
> >>
> >> Even though my birth certificate says Steven, I have never
> >> responded to
> >> that name; I don't like it. Very much a Steve. (My mom calls me by
> >> the
> >> Czech equivalent or one of its scores of diminutives.)
> >>
> > I don't know if Arnold has any empirical basis for his observation
> > other than
> > anecdotal evidence.
> i was merely reporting that many gay men i know have done this.  it
> was notable because they started correcting people.  i don't pretend
> to know how general the phenomenon is.  certainly, many gay men i
> know *always* used their full first name (a gregory, a steven, a
> michael) and others *always* used a nickname (a greg, a steve, a
> mike!).  i was merely observing that a number changed their practice,
> always (in my experience, which is of course limited) in the same
> direction.
> arnold
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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