Whenever a unisex first name is used, I noticed that it seems to work best if the middle name clarifys the gender (and vice-versa if the MN is unisex). For example, take two celebrities who like them (but for opposite genders): [name]Holly[/name] [name]Marie[/name] Combs’s sons Finely [name]Arthur[/name], [name]Riley[/name] [name]Edward[/name], and [name]Kelley[/name] [name]James[/name]; [name]Angie[/name] [name]Harmon[/name]'s daughters [name]Finley[/name] [name]Faith[/name], [name]Avery[/name] [name]Grace[/name], and [name]Emery[/name] [name]Hope[/name]. In all of those cases, although the first name is gender-ambiguous the middle name makes it clear whether it’s a boy or a girl. Contrast that to [name]Brooke[/name] Shields’s daughters [name]Rowan[/name] [name]Francis[/name] and [name]Grier[/name] [name]Hammond[/name], who have names that don’t give much clue as to the gender of the person. My own name follows this suggested pattern; although I have a unisex-leaning-feminine first name, my middle name is unambiguously masculine (fyi, if you haven’t seen me post before I’m male).
This advice is also useful in that if your child is unhappy with his/her gender-neutral name or wants to clarify his/her gender; in those cases your child has the option of using the middle name in addition to or instead of the gender-neutral first name (whereas someone with no names that clarify the gender has no options).
For example, a name that I like both ways (but prefer for a boy right now) is [name]Riley[/name]. I would consider a combo like [name]Riley[/name] [name]Michael[/name] or [name]Riley[/name] [name]Melissa[/name] for a boy or girl respectively, but probably not [name]Riley[/name] [name]Morgan[/name].
Does anyone else agree with this? (If you don’t like unisex names, then answer how you would if a unisex name must be used.)
P.S. Here’s my opinion on the unisex issue in general: Back when a name that picked up steam for girls meant that it was probably doomed for boys, I would’ve said no (for using such names on girls, mainly because I didn’t like seeing the boy’s name pool being depleted). These days since people are getting more conifdent using “softer” names for boys, I think that it’s okay within reason (e.g. I’d say no to naming a boy [name]Elizabeth[/name] or a girl [name]Edward[/name], but names like [name]Avery[/name] and [name]Bailey[/name], [name]Jordan[/name] and [name]Rowan[/name] I think are suitable either way).