Bizarre Battle of the Sexes- Women with “Guy” Names

James King, looking more rag-tag than usual

It happened again. I was on the phone with someone– a man from some distant land– and I was asked the question that has become the bane of my existence: “Michael? Michael! Haha! Not Michelle? You must get that question a lot.”

Yes. I’m SURE it’s not Michelle. P-O-S-I-T-I-V-E. And yes, I get that question a lot.

Along with the slightly more offensive, “Michael? Really? But that’s a man’s name!” Oh I’m sorry! Which man copyrighted that name for all of mankind forever and ever, amen? For some reason it’s always guys– often professional middle age white guys, in particular– who tell me I have a man’s name. My new tactic has been to say, “actually, maybe all of those men are walking around with a woman’s name, you know, since it’s my name.” I own that shit. MINE.

Kind of like how middle age professional white guys own EVERYTHING else. Except the Presidency right now, but we all know how many of them feel about THAT. “The President? Really? Are you sure you’re not lying about being a citizen?”

I’ve done minor research into the phenomenon of telling someone their name is incorrect and in the process stumbled upon a bizarre corner of internet assertion entitled, “Women are Gradually Stealing all Male Names.”  According to this, the problem lies with the fact that men feel slighted because they are NEVER stealing women’s names, so if this unjust, reverse sexist trend continues, men won’t have any names of their own left! They’ll all be named “John.” The other enlightening thing gleaned from this half-assed article is that men with girl’s names would be stigmatized, but women with guy’s names are seen as “hip and cutting edge.”

There’s something really appealing about the notion of a covert and gradual conspiracy to dominate names. I’m not sure what the point would be exactly. Maybe we’d get paid more? There does seem to be a certain je ne sais quoi about women who boast male names, though. Maybe it’s that we somehow tap into a male entitlement and that sense of entitlement on someone female-identified, creates a perfect storm of superiority and confidence. Maybe that mixture then creates killer style.

And so, in the interest of supporting my community of women who are gradually stealing power from the patriarchy by having men’s names, here are some of my favorite stylish women with guy’s names.


Michael Michele


Michael Michele has both the masculine and feminine versions as her name. Likely to stave off the question “are you sure it’s not Michelle?” Why would her name be “Michele Michele?” What I especially like about Michael Michele, apart from her BRILLIANT name, is the fact that she always looks relaxed, confident, and like she’s ready for anything you can throw at her. Probably because she spent her life answering stupid questions about her name.



Cyd Charisse


Ok, Cyd wasn’t her given name, but there’s something distinctly brassy about giving YOURSELF a man’s name. Particularly in the 40s and 50s. Her character in Singin in the Rain was really into eye contact and haughty expressions, the perfect contrast to the movie’s “good girl”–  Debbie Reynolds‘ “Kathy.” For good measure, here’s a picture of her from Singin in the Rain, looking very Louise Brooks.



Cyd Charisse, managing the "French Inhale" technique


Speaking of smoking, remember BLADE RUNNER?? Lead actress, Sean Young also managed to pull off the French Inhale. Is it because having a guy’s name makes you feel really bad-ass and above it all? I’ll leave that question to you, readers. Either way, her bangs could cut glass.



Sean Young, also pulling off smoking, in Blade Runner


And there’s always Glenn Close— top bitch.



Glenn Close, as Cruella Deville


Of course, the highly selective secret society of women stealing men’s names doesn’t stop with actresses. One of my favorite super models just happens to be named Alek Wek. She’s bald, which exponentially increases one’s awesomeness quotient.



Alek Wek, bald and beautiful


Smoking again.



Alek Wek also smokes well


There’s also Alex Sandor, who’s a little on the young end and frankly needs to age into her man name superiority look a little bit. She’s got all the makings for a great haughty man name look, though. See? All black! Leather jacket! Expression that says “I was over this, like, 20 minutes ago.”



Alex Sandor needs to get to the airport, like, yesterday


Finally, there’s Jourdan Dunn, who spells her name with that weird “u,” but who am I to judge? Hey Jourdan! Are you sure it’s not “JORDAN?” Yeah, you’re sure.

Anyway, Jourdan lied about her age when she told everyone she was pregnant– something models are not supposed to be (pregnant, that is). She’s really something like five-years-old, but she told everyone she was 19. That’s pretty bad-ass in my book! Unlike Alex, she has her haughty man name look pretty well down.



Jourdan Dunn lied about her age- BAD-ASS


And so, my thesis is pretty straight-forward and not entirely supported by hard data, so much as my own opinion– women with “guy” names rule. That and that there IS something to a name when it comes to influencing personal style. The Fatal Attraction lead just COULDN’T have gone to an actress named Tiffany. A Tiffany wouldn’t have had the same sense of brassy male entitlement that was needed to play the part of a psychotic obsessive.


About Michael von Braithwaite

Does it look like I'd wear it on a boat, at an eccentric person's estate or accompanied by a peacock on a chain? Yeah, I'll probably buy that.


  1. Leo Plass

    It was so weird yesterday I read this then headed off to the DMV. Then this lady called this guy next to me Mitchell, then he corrected her and I didn’t hear him. Then she said Meee!shell?, really loud. And he said, Yes Yes Meshell, angered. Art imitates DMV or DMV imitates art?

  2. but what about dudes named “leslie?” they are stealing the ladynames! they are!

  3. What about famous literary contrarian Anne (of Green Gables), who named one of her sons Shirley? And Shirley ended up being kind of a badass?

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