mardi, avril 10, 2007

et tu, new yorker?

My friend Nancy is part Scottish and her older sister is named Lesley. (Not Leslie, which is the correct masculine spelling of the same Scottish name.)

Anyhow, my name is gender-neutral and there are no clues (arcane or otherwise) about my gender in how it is spelled. Most people who haven't seen or spoken with me assume I'm a man.

Despite my odd name, I used to think that I'd give my kids gender-neutral names, like Dylan. Nowadays, I'm more interested in names that are language-neutral (i.e., spelled the same in English and Spanish). And there are several that are both language- and gender-neutral, like Ariel and Tristan/Tristán. (Neither one really grabs me.)

But back to Leslie ... this letter to the editor pretty much sums up why I include "Ms." in my professional e-mail footer:
Lauren Collins and the fact-checkers at The New Yorker do not have to feel too bad about mistaking my gender (The Talk of the Town, March 5th). When I was born, Leslie Howard was all the rage, hence the name of my parents' little boy. Then along came Leslie Caron, and everything went to pot. With my own experience as a guide, I strongly advise all new parents to give thier children utterly unambiguous names. Like Caligula.
-Leslie Epstein, American novelist

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…



martin, laura, leo (weren't my parents prescient?)

i still think "happy aston" sounds like a wealthy, ne'er-do-well playboy out of an f. scott fitzgerald novel.