Hampshire girls set to become the butt of bad jokes

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The Independent Online
HAMPSHIRE MAY be taking over from Essex as the county of "fast women". Doctors say women called Louise, Kelly and Clare (not Claire), whom they collectively label Hampshire girls, are more likely to be ladies of easy virtue than Essex girls Sharon, Tracey and Sandra.

Dr Elizabeth Foley and colleagues from the Royal South Hants Hospital in Southampton recorded the names of women at the sexually transmitted diseases clinic and compared them with their frequency in the population. They wanted to see if Sharon and Tracey, the butt of so many Essex girls jokes, cropped up in disproportionate numbers among their patients.

They checked 1,462 young women 16 to 24 who attended between April 1998 and March 1999, and found Sharon, Tracey and Sandra - another name often associated with promiscuity - did not appear in the clinic's top 10 list.

Sarah was the most common name, followed by Emma, Kelly, Louise, Claire, Lisa, Rachel, Clare, Michelle and Nicola.

The researchers, reporting in the British Medical Journal, said a new study should be done with participating volunteers on an "intention to name" basis, adding: "This may have recruitment difficulties."