I’ve always found that names which can be applied to either gender are a bit troubling. Maybe I like the reassurance that when someone mentions a John or a Mary I can form a simple picture of said person based simply on the name. With non gender specific names this becomes impossible. That, said, some androgynous names are certainly better than others. I should mention that I won’t be rating names that have alternate spellings for male and female, such as Aaron/Erin or Rene/Renee. If I happen to rate your name badly, that doesn’t mean I don’t like you, so don’t email me complaining about it.
Robin: I feel bad for anyone who shares this name with both an overrated songbird and a tights-wearing superhero sidekick, probably mostly due to the aforementioned bird and sidekick. While I don’t in particular dislike robins or the Robin half of Batman and Robin, I wouldn’t want to share their name. Does it work better for a guy or girl? I have to say it doesn’t work terribly well for anyone. Bad.
Dana: This name is one that perplexes me. It’s an understated and simple name that I don’t particularly dislike, or like, for that matter. It’s not a great name, but by default any name that makes you ask “Is that a guy or a girl?” can’t be great. Dana is an acceptable name, which in this category is enough for me to call it Good.
Leslie: A terrible, terrible name unfit for anyone, If you have the misfortune to be named Leslie, I’m truly sorry. Don’t think I have anything against you personally, I’ve known some very nice people named Leslie. When I say some, I mean two, and when I say very nice, I mean not violent and maladjusted. But I’m getting way off topic here. Leslie isn’t a name I’d ever give to anyone. If your name is Leslie, I’m sorry, but your name is Ugly.
Cameron: While this is more of a last name than a first name, I think it works as a name for either gender. There are lots of famous Camerons out there, like Cameron Diaz and Cameron Crowe. Okay, so maybe just two, that’s all the famous Camerons I can think of, but as far as androgynous names go, it’s one of the best. That naturally makes it Good.
Blair: A rather bland name, and one that tends to be appended with the words “Witch Project” these days. While I don’t have a particular problem with the name, it’s certainly not great. Basically, you can skip back up to Leslie and read the second half of what I said there, starting at “I’ve known some very nice people” and substitute in Blair for Leslie. I guess this makes Blair an Ugly name.
Shannon: This is a feminine name, plain and simple. Sure, there are guys named Shannon, but there are also guys named Kim, and you don’t see that on my list of androgynous names, do you? I happen to like the name Shannon, it’s a good Irish name, and I happen to be mostly Irish on one side of the family (I’d say half Irish, but that’s not really true, there’s some English and German in the mix, and probably other nationalities if I ever bothered to trace the genealogy back far enough). I also had a crush on a girl named Shannon back in junior high. As a female name it’s fine, but for a guy it’s one step away from that Johnny Cash song “Boy Named Sue.” So on the condition that no one reading this will ever name their son Shannon, I’m going to go with Good.