double take

Have you ever considered how many women’s names have taken on double meanings in the English language?

If you’re scratching your head, take it from a gal who knows …

A Mary Jane, after all, isn’t a far cry from a MaryJane.

(I prefer the Butters version.)

See what I mean?

If you’re a Nellie or a Patsy, you’re nodding emphatically right now.

Unfortunately, girls named Nellie and Patsy are harder to come by these days,

thanks to popular expressions that have put a damper on their demand.

“Whoa Nellie! It just ain’t so,” said Nervous Nellie. “Don’t blame me. I refuse to be your Patsy.”

Let’s take a gander at several handles that have become noteworthy

(or even a tad notorious)

by their starring roles in our ever-evolving vernacular …

Mary Jane

My name, with a space between, doubles as the name of a …

perfectly legal …


I must say I’m pleased as punch—who doesn’t love a Mary Jane? It’s a shoe-in.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Plain Jane

Some Janes have it harder than others. Jane paired with plain is a term used to describe a woman of “unremarkable appearance.” With a play on words, I named my milk chocolate “Playin’ Jane.”  I quite prefer her lack of fanfare over the more complicated Janes. Divulge your favorite type of chocolate in the comments section below and this Playin’ Jane (along with her friends, Almond Daze and Mintsummer’s Day) will get mailed to you when our very own StellaJane picks your name out of our giveaway hat.gleaming_word-chocollect-milk_8959

Lazy Susan

The term isn’t exactly flattering, but the device it describes is a dandy. While the origins of the term are unknown, the term “Lazy Susan” made its first written appearance in a Good Housekeeping article in 1906.


Chatty Cathy

Cathy became synonymous with “blabbermouth” and “chatterbox,” thanks to a doll in the early ’60s that gabbled random phrases, driving many a patient parent bonkers. Remember her? Interestingly, a woman named Ann Ryan was the original voice of Chatty Cathy.


Nervous Nellie

Nobody wants to be “Nellied” for being nervous. The same goes for Noisy Nora.

Was Nellie Bly nervous? She looks like the picture of calm to me.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


As a verb, mollycoddle means to be overprotective and indulgent toward someone. To pamper. It’s a little less cute as a noun used to describe a person, especially a man, who is pampered and overprotected.


The Mollycoddle. A 1920 film; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Nesnad


The popularity of Patsy as a girl’s name waned in the early 20th century when male vaudeville character Patsy Bolivar, a frequent victim of unscrupulous schemes, gave the name a …

bad name.

What about Patsy Cline? She should make any Patsy proud!


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sally Ann

Did you know? The Salvation Army, renowned for its network of charity-based thrift stores, is nicknamed the “Sally Ann” in Canada and “Sally’s” here in the states.


“Oh, Boy! That’s the Girl! The Salvation Army Lassie. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Mu


No explanation “mae” be needed on this one!


Can you think of other double takes? If so, add ’em to my list … right after you tell me your choice of chocolate. Have you tried the new dark chocolate infused with real bits of bacon? I haven’t dared try it yet. Although …

how could I go wrong. Bacon? Chocolate?


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    A friend sent me some of your Playin Jane chocolates and they were amazingly delicious. My favorite was the dark . Yum. Here are some fun double names of people I know. Billie Bob, Katie Marie, Mary Anna, but none of them had the double takes like you described. I remember when Chatty Cathy came out because my friend got her for Christmas and we were all amazed!!

  2. As for names, this is a bit funny. A couple of years ago when I first bought MaryJanesFarm magazine my husband was appalled! When he glanced at the cover he told me to please turn the magazine over so our friends would not see the cover name. He was worried the church folk would think I had a special crop at the back of the farm. hahahaha!! I opened the pages and he was very impressed with the magazine embracing a natural and fun way of modern farm life.
    Mary Jane Butters ROCKS!

    (Love milk chocolate…yummm)

  3. Laurie Dimino says:

    Oh Mary Jane, I bet you will get ALOT of response to this post. You know…women and their chocolate- dont mess with us! LOL. For me its all about DARK CHOCOLATE! I just LOVE dark chcocolate. My obsession for the past few years has been for the “Dove” brand of dark chocolates. I am not a fan of milk chocolate at all really. Seems a waste to bother with it when you can go right to the good stuff of dark chocolates! I guess the debate will rage on about chococlate in general- milk, dark, sweet, semi sweet, with our without nuts.
    Well, I better go…I need a piece of chocolate!

  4. Cathy R says:

    I can still hear my Mother calling me ‘Chatty Cathy’ in a sweet tone to remind me to zip it for a while! C:
    And dark Chocolate calls my name most everyday! Thanks for your generosity! Blessings to all of you! Cathy in Orofino

  5. CJ Armstrong says:

    Oh, Mary Jane . . . I CRAVE your chocolate! Absolutely CRAVE IT! And, I really like just about all of the flavors.
    HOWEVER, my favorites are: Caramel Latte, Chai, Lavendar and the dark varieties. I also like, which I don’t think is available any longer, the Flamin’ Mocha Zest and Jitterbug Ginger.
    When I daughter and I go “glamping” or on any adventure together it is a REQUIREMENT to have your chocolate for our traveling chocolate needs AND it is just wrong to use anything else with our S’Mores!
    Yummmmmmmmm . . . . looking forward to our upcoming Glamping and S’mores season!
    Thank you!

  6. drMolly says:

    I still cannot even imagine eating chocolate with bacon!
    And did you know too that Molly was a name for Irish “hardcases” shall we call them?
    And I can not count the number of times that a “Molly Moo Cow” or “my dog is named Molly” was heard around me!
    Anyway I would like to say that dark chocolate “sans bacon” would be my favorite

  7. Paula Boyea says:

    Though not known in the younger generation: “Hey, hey Paula, I wanna marry you…” Not and unpleasant conotation! And of course there is that ubiquitous Pam (my sister’s name) for spraying your baking dishes.
    Since I recently made a birthday cake with bacon liberally sprinkled all over the surface, and everyone who tried it thought it was wonderful…I would definitely try the dark chocolate with bacon. 🙂

  8. Ace says:

    “Positive Peggy” or “Negative Nancy” are great too. Funny you should mention that MJ! I was gifted a piece of chocolate with bacon over the weekend, can’t wait to try it. I think it sounds deeee-lish. 🙂 -ace

  9. Gail springman says:

    Chocolate Bordeaux from Sees candies. My once a year treat I usually buy two pieces. Yum!

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