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Monday, April 27, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Unisex Names

Gina writes:
My friend Liz is expecting her third and this time, she's not finding out the sex until the little one shows up. She's due in early May and NOTHING she suggests suits her husband. Her two children are Melayna and Gavin. She tends to like things that are a little less usual, but not hard to spell or pronounce. Since she doesn't know the sex, she's been trying to fall in love with non-gender specific names, but hasn't had any luck. Being a stay at home mother out in the boonies of a four year old and a two year old, she has a hard time getting time to get on her dial up connection, hence me crying out for help on her behalf. Any suggestions for good siblings for Melayna and Gavin? Any good choices for unisex names?

A name I think is cute for both boys and girls is Casey. It helps that in my high school, there was a nice-popular cute boy named Casey and a nice-popular pretty girl named Casey. Melayna, Gavin, and Casey.

My friend Mairzy will wince (this was on her boy name list until girls started using it), but another good one is Avery. Melayna, Gavin, and Avery.

My own wince name is Riley, which I prefer for boys but have to admit is pretty cute on a little girl. Melayna, Gavin, and Riley.

She could choose Sam, and then use Samantha/Samara if the baby is a girl or Samuel/Samson if the baby is a boy. Melayna, Gavin, and Sam.

I first heard Parker for a boy (Parker Lewis Can't Lose!), but I think it's just as good for a girl. Melayna, Gavin, and Parker.

I think of Rowan as feminine because the first time I heard it was when Brooke Shields used it for her daughter, but it's just as good for boys, maybe better since it sounds like Roman and Ryan and so forth. Melayna, Gavin, and Rowan.

Larkin is another one that seems feminine to me and yet is just as good for boys. I think I would spell it Larkin for a girl, Larken for a boy. Hm, or maybe the other way around, now that I see it typed out. Hard to say. Melayna, Gavin, and Larkin.

Lee is a name I consider underused. I'd probably spell it Lee for a boy or Leigh for a girl, but I'm not sure---I might go with Lee either way. Or, as with Sam, they could decide on Lee as the nickname, and go with Liane or Leeanne if the baby is a girl, and Leo or Leon if the baby is a boy. Melayna, Gavin, and Lee.

Or she could choose the nickname Jo/Joe, and go for Josie/Josephine for a girl, Joseph for a boy. Melayna, Gavin, and Jo/Joe.

Reece works for both boys and girls. I would spell it the Reese Witherspoon way for a girl, and Rhys for a boy. Melayna, Gavin, and Reece.

Let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results (227 votes total):
Casey: 37 votes, roughly 16%
Avery: 29 votes, roughly 13%
Riley: 33 votes, roughly 15%
Sam: 14 votes, roughly 6%
Parker: 23 votes, roughly 10%
Rowan: 35 votes, roughly 15%
Larkin: 9 votes, roughly 4%
Lee: 4 votes, roughly 2%
Jo/Joe: 6 votes, roughly 3%
Reece: 37 votes, roughly 16%

Name update 05-05-2009! Gina writes:
Well, after hearing your comments about how the other names are really gender specific, she decided to go ahead and come up with different names for a boy and a girl. We now have a little Ava Madison!


Anonymous said...

Hmm. Why not just make two lists? Isn't that what most people do?

I think Avery and Rowan fit best with this mom's naming style. But I'm especially skeptical given that her two other children very much do NOT have unisex names. A unisex name for this child, then, is going to make him look less masculine than his brother or less feminine than her sister. Awkward all around.

Anonymous said...

Payton/Peyton, Tatum, and Bailey are some cool unisex names.

I love Alex as well. Especially because the full name (Alexandra for a girl, Alexander for a boy) sounds so good with Melayna and Gavin. Plus, Alex has totally retained it's masculine sound, but sounds spunky and cute on a girl.

Diane said...

I tend to agree with the first commenter. A unisex name does not go with the other children's names at all. I too wonder why they don't just make two lists.

Frazzled Mom said...

I agree that a completely unisex name would not work with the siblings. If the Mom is not up to making two lists, then I would go the nickname route like Swistle suggested and use Sam for Samuel or Samantha; Alex for Alexander or Alexandra, Joe for Joseph or Josephine...etc. Or I know someone named Theresa who uses Reese as a nickname. Maybe Reese as a nickname for Theresa for a girl or Rhys for a boy.

FYI - I really like Tatum, but don't think it is acutally a unisex name. I consider Tatum a girl's name that sounds unisex, but has never been used on boys as far as I know.

tracynicole22 said...

How about Cameron? I tend to view most unisex names as leaning towards the feminine side, but that's just me! I definitely like Cameron for a boy & a girl though. I also think it goes well with Melayna & Gavin.

Rachel said...

Another one chiming in to say that I don't think a unisex name will go with the sibling names in this family. To me names like Riley, Avery, and Rowan will sound very girly paired with Gavin. Gavin is very BOY and Melayna is very GIRL...why not make 2 lists? One with very masculine names, one with very feminine names? Or go with Alex or Sam as nicknames and Alexander/Alexandra or Samantha/Samuel as full names.

Catherine said...

I'm personally not crazy about unisex names - but I love the unisex nn / gendered full name suggestion. Esp. Joseph / Josephine and Alexander / Alexandra. But I don't think those really work with the sibling names except Josephine. I don't really see the need for unisex names - I would probably stick to two lists in this case.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I like Tatum/Tate, Reece/Reese and Riley!

Anonymous said...

I love the name Alexa for a girl and Alexander for a boy (but call him Xander.)

I think Melayna, Gavin and Alexa


Melayna, Gavin and Xander sould great together.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm partial to Reese, but then again, it is my younger daughter's name! I don't like Rhys for boys though b/c I think there are people who wouldn't know how to pronounce it spelled the European way. I'd probably use the Reese spelling for a boy too.

Anonymous said...

I am piping in as well to say that I think you should go with two lists. I think it is more fair for the baby to have a unique girl or unique boy name rather than a 'you are going to be named THIS whatever you are'... if that makes any sense:S
Plus your other two babes names are amazingly awesome and the third should be equal!!!
Good luck!

Carolyn said...

Upon rereading the post, the question is: "any suggestions for good sibling names" AND "any good choices for unisex names". So, I thought I'd suggest my favorites that go along with Melayna and Gavin:


Declan said...

I'm with Carolyn and didn't interpret the question as exclusively looking for unisex names. Doesn't really seem the way to go after the first two. This baby will turn out to be a boy or a girl after all!


Love Declan and Callum too

The only unisex names that I would suggest are Morgan and Rowan

Gina said...

She's not looking for only unisex names, but does like the option. I'll let her know your concerns about the unisex names and all of your fantastic suggestions. Thanks ladies! We'll let you know what is decided!

Tracy H said...

Here are some names I like as siblings for Melayna & Gavin.

Bronson (Not sure why I like so many "B" names, but I do!)


Good Luck, can't wait to hear the pick!

Tracy H said...

BTW, Swistle, LOVED the Parker Lewis Can't Lose reference! I loved that show and at 17 yrs. old totally planned on naming a future son Parker!

Anonymous said...

What about Jamie. I'm not big on unisex names, but Jamie is one that I really like.

Anonymous said...

I love Reece for a girl and Rhys for a boy.

Joanne said...

Parker is my favorite of Swistle's. My 17 year old nephew is a Parker and at first I was like "WHO?" but now, of course, it's perfect. Parker Posey is a girl and I think the name seems appropriately boy-y for my newphew and girl-y for her.

StephLove said...

I like Taylor for both boys and girls, though you mainly hear it for girls these days. I actually like it better for boys and was considering it as a boy's middle name during my second pregnancy. We had a girl, though, so it was moot.

Mama Cass said...

My daughter's name is Keelyn, and though I think of it for girls, it definitely could go either way, especially if you play with spelling. I also like Baker for either sex.

Anonymous said...

Another option for a unisex name could be Desi. Desiree for a girl and Desmond for a boy.

Jay and Amie said...

I was showing my husband your blogs (that I love by the way) and he immediately thought of Jordan as a great unisex name! Melayna, Gavin, Jordan. We think it works!

Melissa Haworth said...

What about Lane? I have a nephew, Lane, but have always loved Lane/Laine for a girl.

Gina said...

Well, after hearing your comments about how the other names are really gender specific, she decided to go ahead and come up with different names for a boy and a girl. We now have a little Ava Madison!

Anonymous said...

I think Cooper is a very cute name! i was going to name my fisrt Cooper but for some reason she didnt suite Cooper.. Im having another girl in a few onths and her name is either Cooper or Reese. Good luck deciding!!!