A Boy Named Kelsey


Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,

–       Johnny Cash, “A Boy Named Sue”

My name is Kelsey and I’m a dude.

I watch football.

I have more than my share of chest hair — a result of always obliging when someone told me, “Here son, eat this. It’ll put hair on your chest.”

I think someone should invent cologne that smells like campfire or salty sea air.

I cry once every few years. But if you saw me crying, I would imagine whooping you on the spot, but wouldn’t because what kinda of sissy fights while he’s crying.

I drink beer (usually not much more than one or two at a time because it gives me a stomachache).

I spit (if I have something in my mouth).

I’ve won every fight that I’ve ever been in (with a 3rd grade girl when I was 8).

People often say that I sounds like Matthew McConaughey and he, my friends, was named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine in 2005. It might have had more to do with his abs than his voice, but still.

Then why is that I’m constantly referred to as “Mam” by customer service people on the phone. “Mam, can you hold.” “Mam, that’ll be one second.” “Mam, why are you so upset.” “Mam, no, I don’t know what rhymes with ‘you’re a fupid sothermucker.”  These people have my SS#, the name of my first childhood pet, the name of the street I grew up on, and they don’t know that I’m a dude!

I’ve been blogging for five years now, and I’m starting to get quite an archive of  “A boy named Kelsey” rants.  Today, I thought I would share my favorite…

(from May 7th, 2006)

For the first 15 years of my life my name was a guy’s name. Now that every other girl born is given the name Kelsey, my gender is often misidentified. When I was receiving info from colleges trying to woo me into attending, I received one letter from St. Mary’s all-girl school located in South Bend, Indiana. I’ve always been a fan of Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies and it humored me to no end thinking about four-years of cross-gendered hijinx.

Over the years I have received some interesting mail addressed to Ms. Kelsey Timmerman, including one letter asking me to join AARP. Still trying to figure that one out. Not only did they think I was female, they also thought I was over 50-years-old. Yesterday I received one of my more memorable pieces of mail, a postcard from the American Greetings Card Company looking for freelance writers to write cards. It was addressed to….

Countess Kelsey Timmerman

Holy hell! I’m a countess!

I think I know what happened here. A few months ago I attended the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and while filling out the online registration form, I chose “Count” as the prefix to my name. It was late at night and I was feeling punchy and I was cracking-up at the amount of prefixes to choose from. I could have been a Commandant, Commander, General, Duke. You name it. I chose “Count” because I am a huge Dracula fan, plus, it kind of goes well with Kelsey.

Count Kelsey… Wah-ha-ha-ha!

I was bummed when I saw my name tag at the conference – no “Count Kelsey” just plain ol’, boring, “Kelsey Timmerman.” The thing that gets me is that someone sitting at American Greetings company looked at my name on the list of conference attendees, saw “COUNT Kelsey Timmerman” from OHIO, and thought, “Geeze that can’t be right. They must have meant Countess. Kelsey is a woman’s name.”

Which is more unbelievable, that there is a guy with the name of Kelsey or that there is someone in OHIO – land of no castles and or royalty – that is either a Count or a Countess?!?


There’s another Terry Petersen, too, a male, also a musician and one who has been around for a while. I think there’s been a person or two who has stumbled on my web page and wondered who this red-headed grandmother was. Don’t worry, Kels, I think you are fine exactly as you are. Keep being honest, and keep writing fine blogs.

Kelsey says:

I’m not going to go and change my name or anything. But is it too much to ask for someone talking to me on the phone to recognize they’re talking with a dude?

James says:

One time, as an icebreaker to a church group activity, we paired people up and told them they had to come up with something they had in common. The result: The guy (Kerry) said “I have a girl’s name.” The gal (Rae) said “I have a boy’s name.”

hahah — j/k KT…I know it was probably rough growing up. Maybe that’s the another book idea?

Gracelin says:

And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me sritgaht.

Kelsey Norden says:

Hey, my name is Kelsey. And I am a guy as well. I think it’s awesome that i finally found another guy named Kelsey out there. This blog is awesome. keep it up!!

Kelsey says:

Kelsey, great to hear from you MAN. Keep representin’ the manliness that is our name!

Kelsey Harms says:

Hello Kelsey. I have also grown up with the name Kelsey, as a guy. I’ve gotten my @ss kicked for having a “girls” name, but I don’t care. Listen to A boy named Sue by Johnny Cash. It was very inspirational.

Kelsey H says:

ALSO Kelsey here, stumbled in here somehow.. I know this is old, but thought I would share as I have a simliar experience.. everything was fine until a bunch of dimwit American soccer moms just DECIDED that it was a girl’s name. Until about 20 years ago, when confronted with the gender of my name, I could just open up one of those baby name books that are by the register of every damn store and flip to the boy’s section and find Kelsey, then flip to the girl’s section and lo and behold, it usualy was NOT there.. I remember the first time I ran into a girl named Kelsey in line at an amusement park. I heard her friend call her, she was right in front of me in line.. I said, “you know that’s a boy’s name, right?” and she said “yes.” But not anymore. The worst is that I play in a band in the bar scene and these girls are becoming drinking age.. the worst! Also, My wife’s name is Ryan.. We got accused of switching name tags at some stupid something or other once, and someone almost got punched.. twice. (my wife is realpunchy) We made appointments to see the eye doctor once together and they almost got our prescriptions reversed. They kept on switching the files, because someone must have gotten them wrong.. more punchings almost happened, but you never hit a man with glasses.. or at least that’s what I told my wife.. When I was a kid, it was just a unique name that no one else had.. sort of the male version of chelsea. I never got in fights, people were scared of me for some reason.. one kid told me once that I have the eYe of the Tiger… OOOOoooh.. maybe that’s why. When I was a teenager I got invited to join the miss teen america pageant.. I really wanted to enter, but my Dad wouldn’t let me because he would have had to drive me somewhere.. dick. anyway rant off.. HA!

Kelsey Mattson says:

Hey I’m with you guys. I have gotten used to all the innuendos about my name which by the way was a very strong masculine name when I was born in 1988. There was even a famous Kelsey’s Bar & Grill owned by a tough guy named Kelsey a long time before I came along. In this big politically correct machine we live in, I am fed up with trying to get business done over the phone & because of my name get called “mam” & then accused of trying to fraudulently access a female’s account when I claim my gender. My right to be whom I am by name is being overruled by the identity the culture has changed it to mean. This sucks

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Jewels says:

Growing up I always thought of Kelsey as a manly mans name. My father’s name was Kelsey. I didn’t know any females named Kelsey!

Kelsey MacIntyre says:

What the Fuck is this!? I’m a girl named Kelsey and this is bullshit. Kelsey is a woman’s name. This blog is a disgrace. Why are you so sensitive. Suck it up. Maybe you should get beaten up it will be good for your character. By complaining about your name you are acting like a girl so in a way y’all are living up to your names.

Let your voice be heard!