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Men Named Richard Who Really Shouldn’t Go By Dick

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There’s only one name more phallic than Peter, and that name is Dick. 

With the news that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are postponing, the name Dick Pound has been trending on Twitter. He’s a member of the International Olympic Committee and former swimming champion who’s long been an anti-doping advocate in sports — and whose given name is also one of those names that, like Armand Hammer, Dr. Gay Hitler, or Barbaralee DiamonsteinSpielvogel that seem like they cannot possibly be real. But they are.

Except Dick Pound isn’t really his given name; Richard Pound is. Dick Pound chose to call himself Dick Pound, a gesture that is either bafflingly clueless or punk as shit. (He’s basically the Olympics’ narc, so we can probably guess which.)

By itself, “Dick” is one of those names, like Henry, that sounds common until you realize you don’t actually know anyone who goes by it, just as nobody wears a fedora while smoking in a hospital anymore, because this isn’t Mad Men. It’s so unfashionable that not even parents who name their other son Atticus would dare choose Dick. (Don Draper’s real name, by the way, was Dick Whitman.) 

Like Dick Pound, there’s a whole bunch of dicks in this world who are blessed or cursed with challenging last names yet who made the choice not to go by Richard or Richie or Rick. In honor of the Olympics cancelling along with literally everything else, we present the following list of Dicks.

Dick Pole
A pitcher for the Boston Red Sox briefly in the 1970s, you just know his baseball card is on a men’s room door in a sports bar somewhere.

Dick Trickle
This championship race car driver won lots of tournaments in the early 1980s but sadly took his life in 2013. There’s apparently a Dick Trickle Pavilion at a racecourse in Wisconsin.

Dick Butkus
Remember the good old days when men were men and they all had manly names like Rosey, Lynn, and Fran? That would be Rosey Grier, Lynn Swann, and Fran Tarkenton, who were NFL players right along with Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus. I don’t understand how any of this is possible, but it all relates to Barbara Kruger somehow.

Dick Powers
This one’s a gimme, and there are actually several people by this name, including a noted sci-fi author, an electric-utilities consultant in Florida, and an actor with a barebones IMDb profile who almost certainly works in adult film.

Dick Tuck
Not a drag king, but a 1960s political consultant and prankster credited with coining the phrase “The people have spoken, the bastards.” Dick Tuck frequently tormented Richard Nixon’s campaign team with stunts like having a the candidate angrily tear up a Chinese sign at a photo op based on a mistranslation, which sounds a little too obscure and Pynchonesque to be a gaffe.

Dick Armey
If you ever thought Speaker Newt Gingrich’s henchmen during the 1994 Republican Revolution were a veritable army of dicks, it’s because the House Majority Leader under Gingrich was this eight-term Texas Congressman who once called openly gay Rep. Barney Frank “Barney Fag.”

Dick Swett
Surely not, you must be thinking. But oh, yes, there’s a Dick Swett in real life, and he used to be a Representative from New Hampshire and the Ambassador to Denmark. His wife Katrina is the daughter of former Congressman Tom Lantos, who represented the Peninsula for many years (and whose name you may recognize from the tunnels on Highway 1 in Pacifica).

Dick’s Sporting Goods
Say it like a faux-surprised exclamation, and you’ll realize this synonym for “Hot stuff comin’ through!” was hiding in plain sight all along.

Dick Hunter
I’ll be honest, I had never heard of him until I Googled his name hoping there was in fact such a person, and turns out there was. According to his Wikipedia bio, Dick Hunter is a former college football player and coach at Miami University in Ohio who worked with someone with the equally redoubtable name Bo Schembechler. You just know some Ohio paper once ran the headline “Dick Hunter Scores Big!”

Honorable mentions

Dick Diver, the alcoholic protagonist in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night. Tricky Dick, born Richard Milhous Nixon, for whom everything was coming up Milhous until Dick Tuck started messing with him. Dick Wolf, the creator of the Law and Order mothership and all its many spinoffs, clearly made a boss move.

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Peter-Astrid Kane

Peter-Astrid Kane

Peter-Astrid Kane (they/them) is the Communications Manager for San Francisco Pride and a former editor of SF Weekly.