When I started assigning drag queen names to the different seedlings, I didn't know how many names I was going to need, or how many drag queens were even out there in the first place. So I told myself that I was going to accept as many possible names as I could, without passing judgment on the possible offensiveness of the name (e.g. "Pat McCooter," hence this preamble), the performer as a person (e.g. Phi Phi O'Hara, who was memorably awful in RuPaul's Drag Race's 4th season), their act (e.g. Sharon Needles, who has occasionally tried so hard to shock or provoke that she's crossed the line into being blatantly racist, which, ugh), or whatever. And mostly I've done that.1 I've also tried not to investigate any of the real-life queens whose names I'm using, for fear of losing a name option, so you must never, ever, ever assume that getting a seedling named for some real-life queen automatically means that I know or approve of them or their act. As with most large groups of people, some of them are sure to be awful, and a few of them will be saintly, many of them will just be Not Your Kind Of Thing, and most of them will be all three to some degree or another.
This is all my way of noting that yeah, "Pat McCooter" is likely to be offensive or objectionable to some people who read this blog,2 and while I'm not necessarily happy if someone is given offense, I made a decision some time ago not to care too much about name offensiveness because I didn't think I could afford to get too picky.
As time's gone on, I've wound up with four separate lists of names. One, the "acceptable" ones which are currently being used, or in the queue to use for future seedlings, is very long (currently: 756 used, 636 queued). Two, a short list of names which would be acceptable except that part of the name names or implies a color, which only works if the plant agrees to bloom in that color, and since I don't know when I assign names what colors seedlings are going to bloom in, color-based names wind up being unusable.3, 4 Three, a short list of names which are so distasteful that even though I had previously decided that it was okay to use offensive names, I hesitate to use them anyway.5 Four, a long list of names awaiting judgment, most of which will wind up being discarded.6
This is all potentially overkill. At the moment, I only have enough room for about 800 seedlings, max, so in theory if I had a list of 800 acceptable names, I could just recycle those over and over. The trouble is that every time I think I've hit maximum capacity, I find ways to squeeze even more plants into the same space. There are no guarantees that I'm going to stay at 800, and odds are good that I'll find ways to keep expanding.
So that is my explanation for why this one is named "Pat McCooter." There is at least one real person who performs under that name, as well.7
Which I guess brings us, finally, to the seedling itself.
Pat is one of the seedlings in the mid-300s who have produced pink blooms. Seedling group AW8 is about 50-50 red and pink spathes so far, though Pat is the only AW sibling with a slightly orange spadix. Pat reminds me of no. 0276 "Zach Religious" more than any of the other AWs, but then Zach was also a 'White Gemini' seedling. They could easily be full siblings, just sown five months apart.
Pat's bloom photographed well, but the leaves are a little rough,
and the plant as a whole seems to have been struggling with some problem or another. Thrips, probably.
Is Pat a keeper? If forced to guess right now, I'd say probably not, but I'm reserving judgment. Once I've seen how this bloom ages, and seen how long Pat takes to produce a second bloom, I'll be better equipped to make a decision.
2 If it isn't, rest assured that there's probably one somewhere in the list that is. Unless you're just really hard to offend.
3 Examples: "Billy Black," "Violet Chachki," "Mr. Green Teal."
4 I'm toying with the idea of assigning color-based names retroactively for seedlings where I don't like the current name, or where the current name was assigned before I started worrying about color-based names. Like if 0084 "Chocolate Sunrise" blooms in some color other than brown, as it almost surely will, I might assign it a new, more color-appropriate name. I haven't done it so far partly for fear of what this would do to the Anthurium-seedling paperwork, all the spreadsheets and stuff that would need to be changed. The paperwork fear has also kept me from swapping out a few names that strike me as less clever now than they did when they first went on the list. Probably I'll do at least a few name changes, sooner or later. Spreadsheets be damned.
5 A surprisingly large number of these are drag king names, for reasons which would probably become clear if I stopped and thought about it for a while. Examples: "Dixon Cider," "Sarahbelle Palsy," "Tatiana Rexia," "Hunter Downe," "Pussy Tourette."
6 Some of them are names that I came up with but think may not be clever enough, or drag-queenish enough, to use: "Blanche D'Almonz," "Angel-Bert Humperdink," "Ayleen Versus-Predator," etc.
Some are names that I haven't been able to decide whether they belong in the offensive-names list or not: "Glennda Orgasm," "Amanda Sue Punchfuk." (Though looking at it now, I'm inclined to say Glennda, at least, is okay.)
Some are names used by actual performers that I think may not be clever or memorable enough (a lot of these are also drag king names): "Jackson," "Mick Swagger," "Billy King."
Some are names I'm working on creating but only have half of, i.e., names in progress: "_________ Von Trapp," "Sprinkles _________."
7 I have been assuming, maybe incorrectly, that drag queen names tended to be punny in the past because it was dangerous enough to cross-dress without using your actual name, too. As long as you're a performer, and you're going to have to change your name anyway, why not change it to something that gets you a laugh in your introduction? As drag has gotten more popular and accepted, it seems that the names based in wordplay have been dying out in favor of names which advertise a personal relationship (like, it's not unusual for a performer to take the surname of a mentor; Roxxxy Andrews' name honors her drag mother Erica Andrews, for example), or which project a certain over-the-top glamour ("Trinity Kardashian Bonet"). Plus, it's now useful to have a unique name to perform under, for social media, Google searches, personal (ugh) branding, and so forth. But at one time, there were some drag names that, as far as I can tell, didn't belong to anyone in particular. "Anita Mann," "Ida Slapter," that sort of thing. "Pat McCooter" may or may not be one of those. There's definitely a performer in and around Memphis, Tennessee who performs under that name, but it's a common enough joke name that several of the sites that come up in a search don't appear to be related to that particular performer. Clearly, more research is needed.
8 (Seed parent: 'White Gemini;' sow date: 16 October 2012)