Remarkable names

(Warning: Some plain talk about man-man sex.)

In a comment on my “Name notes” posting (on royal names, unisex names, and fashionable names), javava2012 wrote:

Then there’s that whole (surprisingly large) class of inappropriate names — so, most often, because of what their diminutives are. I’ve personally known two Candice (ne Candy) Kanes and one Mary Christmas. I’ve also known one Michael (NEVER Mike) Hunt. (The latter’s brother was nicknamed York.) (Their sister, fortunately for her, was named Lynette.)

Another category of notable names: names that are remarkable because they’re ambiguous, with an interpretation other than as a simple name — in particular, as a fixed expression of some kind (Mary Christmas, Candy Kane), or as risqué or even obscene phrase (Mike Hunt, York Hunt).

I’m suspicious of the brothers Mike and York Hunt; the ghits suggest an urban legend. But Mike Hunt I can vouch for; this is the name that Scottish pornstar Michael Hunt usually works under.

Some physical description of the man, plus two X-rated photos of him with Robin Fanteria, can be found on AZBlogX. Here’s a steamy, but non-X, shot of him:

Despite his vaginal nom de porn, Hunt seems to be a solid top (with a notably long and fat dick).

The AZBlog posting has shots of Hunt and Fanteria in the UK Naked Men video Strictly Cum (2010); from UKNM’s description:

It’s the UK version of Dancing with Stars, and UKNM [UK Naked Men] star Robin Fanteria ends up being trained by the studly Michael Hunt. Neither has danced with another man and it’s all a bit awkward at first, but they soon figure out how to relax the stiffness and release the tension so they can concentrate on the dancing. Their method’s unorthodox, quite messy, and wouldn’t be shown on tv, but here we have exclusive behind-the scenes footage. 30 minutes of sharing their fat, uncut cocks, muscled bodies & hairy arses and huge loads of cum from their heavy balls leaves them feeling much more relaxed and bonded.

(UKNM is given to parodic titles. Strictly Cum is a play on Strictly Ballroom. Then there’s Twelve Fucks and a Funeral.)

But back to remarkable names. Some of these are birth names (see John Train’s Remarkable Names of Real People (1977)), given by parents playfully or cluelessly or in an attempt to honor both sides of the baby’s heritage (which results in things like Ming-Toy Rabinowitz, or not so extremely, Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky and Opal Eleanor Armstrong Zwicky).

Other remarkable names are the result of joining family names in marriage, as when the marriage of Corky Sherwood to Will Forrest in the tv sitcom Murphy Brown resulted in Corky Sherwood Forrest.

There’s also a big world of names that are chosen. Authors of fiction choose their characters’ names, often intentionally choosing remarkable ones. Charles Dickens, famously so: Harold Skimpole, Mr. Sloppy, Mr. Wopsle, Polly Toodle, the Squeers family (including Wackford Squeers), and all the rest. And Joseph Heller in Catch-22: Milo Minderbinder, Lieutenant Scheisskopf, Captain Aardvark, General Dreedle, Captain Flume, Corporal Popinjay, and of course Major Major Major Major.

But names are also chosen for real people. As pseudonyms or pen names, for example. Or stage names (Benjamin “Benny” Kubelsky becomes Jack Benny, etc.). Or, more playfully, as drag names, DJ names, roller derby names, or stripper names (all treated briefly here). That brings me to porn names, which I’ve talked about on other occasions (notably, in a conference handout, “Name That Pornstar”).

Many pornstars choose (or have chosen for them) what I call “whitebread names”: Lee West, Dean Flynn, Jon King, Jeff Quinn, Mark Jennings, David Anthony, Eric Carter, Rick Conrad, Tom Steele, Chris Tyler, Ryan Fox, Brian Kidd — names that are so ordinary they are hard to distinguish and hard to remember, even if you like enjoy a particular man’s performances.

At the other end of the scale are names chosen to be memorable. For instance, playful rip-offs of familiar non-porn names: Mike Nichols, Jimmy Dean, Clark Kent, Thom Cruz, Tom Sawyer, even Dred Scott (folding the aggressive dread into the name), Girth Brooks (folding a sexual reference, to penis girth, into an allusion to Garth Brooks), and Rock Hardon (folding a sexual reference — rock hard — into an allusion to Rock Hudson). Finally, there are flat-out images of aggressiveness, masculinity, and sex, as in Rik Jammer, Brandon Bangs, Cody Cummings, Whack Simmons, and the amazingly named Australian pornstar Oz Dick. [Addendum 7/19/13: Just found, a porn actor who works under the names Jack Manhole and Jake Manhole. Yes, he’s a bottom.]

In between these extremes, there are porn names that achieve (relative) memorability by using a unique (in the porn business) first name (FN) or last name (LN) or both or offering a mixed-nationality combination, as in the names Wagner Vittoria (German plus Italian) and Tiziano Fuentes (Italian plus Spanish/Latino) discussed here. As far as I can tell, Vittoria is a unique LN in gay porn (and is also a feminine FN in Italian, which is in itself remarkable), and Tiziano a unique FN there; there’s at least one other FN Wagner in gay porn (Wagner Touro), plus of course a whole lot of guys with LN Wagner (Paul as the most famous, but also Anthony, Kurt, Ryan, and more).

Getting back to Mike Hunt. There’s a choice, in porn as well as in real life, between full names (like Michael) and nicknames (like Mike). Roughly speaking, the choice is between a name of power (with gravitas, often connoting distance) and a name of solidarity (connoting closeness) — to adapt the terminology of Roger Brown and Albert Gilman in their famous (and influential) “Pronouns of Power and Solidarity” (1960).

Pornstar names lean heavily towards nicknames — Rick, Rich, Dick, Ricky, or Richie, rather than Richard; T(h)om or Tommy rather than Thomas, etc. — for obvious reasons. That takes Michael Hunt to Mike Hunt.

4 Responses to “Remarkable names”

  1. AJ Says:

    Strictly Cum seems to be a play on Strictly Come Dancing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strictly_Come_Dancing).

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Ah, thanks for this. The name Strictly Come Dancing seems to be an allusion to Strictlly Ballroom, so the latter is still involved, but at one remove. But the former is clearly the immediate model.

  2. Baseball days | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] also occurred to me that Hunter Pence wouldn’t be a bad name for a pornstar. It doesn’t seem to have been taken, but a search did pull up a rich vein of steamy RPF (real […]

  3. Lavender and dill | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] For the Uke Hunt joke, compare Mike Hunt and York Hunt in this posting. […]

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