Name Dropping: What A Drag genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek

It's common knowledge that a drag queens name may be as important as the rhinestone regalia he/she wears. The conventional approach (although I would say that it's more urban legend than actual fact) is to take the name of your first pet and add it to your mother's maiden name and voila...you have your drag name. Chances are you won't like the name if you try it...of course that's only if you were inclined to have a drag name. As with Seinfeld speak...not that there's anything wrong with that.

I ran across an interesting article that indicates that there is an art to name selection and to become an actual namer is no easy task. The study of names is an adjunct to the study of linguistics and dialects and given the attached humor it seems to get the lion's share of the attention. The article is from the San Francisco Chronicle (duh!) and I've included some interesting excerpts below. Following the article segments (full article here) I decided I would do a fun little exercise in naming. I chose food as the theme, meaning all the names had to be about food. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

"My drag queen name, for the record," said Professor Ronald C. Butters of Duke University, speaking between academic paper presentations in a beige room on the second floor of the Oakland Marriott, "is Coco Butters."

The room tittered appreciatively. If any crowd of buttoned-up academics could enjoy a good drag queen name, this was it. Butters was presiding over a recent panel on "Queer Names of Stage, Screen and Fiction" at the American Names Society conference, held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society and three other groups. The conference, held in early January, drew people from all over the country and the world, and, in addition to official business (the Linguistic Society's vote on "Word of the Year," for instance), there were three days of overlapping panels and paper presentations.

The subjects covered by American Name Society, though, stood out in a sea of obscure papers on obscure topics. Perhaps the broader appeal of its work has to do with the universal nature of its mission statement; the society, founded in 1951, "seeks to find out what really is in a name."

Who knew that although drag queens usually employ sexual innuendo or humor in their stage names, it is strikingly uncommon for male gay porn stars to do so? Apparently, bland names are perceived to be more attractive.

Unsurprisingly, many drag queens chose honorifics such as Lady and Miss and upwardly mobile names like Xaviar Onassis Bloomingdale or, less frequently, overtly lower-class monikers such as Winnie Baygo or Mary K. Mart. Ethnic stereotypes got some play too, with China Silk and Bang Bang Ledesh.

How does one become a namer? Members of the American Name Society enter the world of naming from many directions.

Ed Lawson, a professor emeritus at SUNY Fredonia and former president of the American Name Society, was a psychologist who studied stereotypes before focusing on names. In one study, he selected a group of young women with "ethnically nonspecific faces" and gave them three ethnically distinctive names for three groups of subjects. Sure enough, Lawson found that people's impressions were colored by the perceived culture of the names. "The Jewish girls were labeled smart, the Italian girls were seen as passionate, and so on, " Lawson said.

When asked about the persistent Internet meme about how to choose a porn star name (some combination of first pet's name or mother's maiden name or your middle name with the street name of your first address), Zwicky laughed. "No, I didn't see any evidence of those games at play in my study. I, for one, couldn't get a good porn name from that. My first dog's name was Spot."

But as Zwicky noted in his presentation, he has no data on what, if any, impact a name has on a porn career.

A name isn't a porn star's most salient feature.

So here's my list of food related drag names...some I found online and some came to me as I was laughing my ass off. Remember, don't be afraid to add your own in the comments section.

Hedda Lettuce (everyone worth their weight in drag queen sparkle salts has heard this one)

Holly de Seuss (that's hollandaise sauce for the linguistically challenged)

Condi Mentz (can't help you here...if you don't get this one...well its time for remedial drag queen naming school)

Sue Flay (see they get easier)

Brie Cheese (it works but would any respectable drag queen use it...I think not)

Marsha Mallow (Marsha Brady with a few extra pounds)

Eda Bagel (I actually found this one online...and it's in use)

Reese Aroni (Yep, the San Francisco treat)

Virginia Hamm (I found this one also...too obvious for my "taste")

OK, your turn...I've gotta get something to eat.

Daniel DiRito | April 27, 2006 | 7:16 AM
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Comments

1 On April 28, 2006 at 3:36 PM, Jeremy wrote —

I don't have any food additions, but using the traditional methods I think I might have a future should I, um, ever choose that route. (I don't think one Halloween really counts)

If we go with the first family pet, I'd be Kahlua Studley. But I think I'll go with the first pet that felt like it was mine, Sunset.

Sunset Studley, kinda has a ring to it...

2 On April 28, 2006 at 6:51 PM, Seandski wrote —

Candi Kayne, Lorna Doone, Cheri Jubilee of course...

But some of the funniest ones are non-foody. For example:

Berna Down, Ida Slapter, Farah Moanz, Betty Ford-Galaxy, Tara Nahymen, Sharon Needles, Sybil Unrest, Mae C. Stars, Pia Mess... and on and on...

3 On April 29, 2006 at 1:17 PM, Daniel wrote —

Jeremy,

I have to agree with you...Sunset Studley sounds better...although the "Studley" part seems contrary to the objective of most drag queens...but hey, it's your show!

Thanks for commenting and I hope to hear more.

Daniel

4 On April 29, 2006 at 1:22 PM, Daniel wrote —

Sean,

I've heard some of the ones you listed...I think I like the Betty Ford-Galaxy best. I hadn't thought about the "Hillary Rodham-Clinton" approach to naming. I'll have to play with that idea.

Thanks for commenting and I hope to hear from you again soon.

Daniel

5 On May 20, 2006 at 9:59 AM, Jeffrey (a.k.a. Ms. Eda Bagel) wrote —

I've actually got a friend up in Wisconsin who used the very edible name of "Miss Della Catessen."

Had a friend whom I'd christened "Tequila Mockingbird," after a band in NYC that my Mum used to follow back in the late 60's.

I still think that "Wendy Cowzkumhome" will always be my favourite, though.

6 On January 11, 2007 at 5:21 AM, Bob wrote —

Hey there! LOL...was I shocked to see my name in that article! I AM Winnie Baygo and my roommate is Mary K Mart. We perform in Raleigh, NC at FLEX nightclub (www.flex-club.com). I actually have a drag name I came up with that I've been dying for someone to adopt as their own...any aspiring DQs out there? Here you go...Robin DeKradell.

7 On February 14, 2007 at 2:56 PM, Betty wrote —

Um, a lot of those names are ROLLER DERBY NAMES. I myself am BETTY FORD GALAXY of the Rat City Rollergirls. www.ratcityrollergirls.com

several of those names listed by Seandski are from our league.

Personally I am flattered. I spent a long time trying to find a name that best suited my personality and my team (the Throttle Rockets)

I don't drink anymore - get it...

also, I was thinking, wouldn't a better drag name be Hillary Rod-Him Clinton ???

just wondering...

8 On November 18, 2007 at 1:50 PM, Steven wrote —

Haha I've been trying to think of a new drag name and not succeding at all these all gave me great ideals I really like the one that bob wrote, "Robin DeKradell"

Thought Theater at Blogged

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