What's happening to nicknames and twins' names?
The practice of naming your children sure has gone to hell, hasn't it? Girl names like Morgan and Jordan sound like a throwback to the matronly days of Edna and Gladys, while boys have never had dorkier names than Grayson (the other kids at school: "more like GAY-son!") and Jayden (sounds like a porn chick who died on-set of a cocaine overdose).
In poking around the Social Security Administration's list of popular baby names over the years, these patterns that are clear to anyone with eyes to see really jump out. I'll put up something visual later, but here are two disturbing impressions.
First, why is every mother of twins giving them such similar-sounding names? At least I hope it's only the mothers, given how pussy-whipped fathers have been for a couple decades (if they're in on it too, it's another sign of the shamelessness of guys these days who don't stand up for themselves and others). My younger brothers are twins and neither's name resembles the other's, and none of the twins I've known or even known about growing up in real life had alliterative names. I did know a couple of girls whose names were figuratively similar, like Crystal and Jewel, but not so meta-aware as alliteration -- get it, they're twins, so it's only fitting that their first initials should be twins! Yeah, we get it. Browsing Wikipedia's list of famous twins, I don't see much to disconfirm this hunch, except for Millennials. In fact, the only pair of girl twins I've known who had alliterative names were born in 1990.
It's like the kids' names are just part of the overall display that the parents use to show off their taste to their fellow insecure parents. Look, even my twins' names are consonant-coordinated -- jealous? Sure, we all wish our own kids were named Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Jayden and Jordan is just one step away from Faggin and Fogan.
And look at #18 in female twin names -- Heaven and Nevaeh. Girl, ain't I so clever -- it's the same name spelled forwards and backwards! Since Nevaeh is especially popular among black mothers, and since they also have higher rates of bearing twins, they must be over-represented in this trend. Whether you interpret this as a form of Satanic back-masking of the sacred, or as just a nerdy gimmick like giving the Crimson Twins the names Tomax and Xamot, it's a sign of the times that even blacks -- formerly famous for having soul and keepin' it real -- have been pulled under the tide of secularization and geekiness.
The other weird turn that names have taken is the greater difficulty or impossibility of deriving a nickname from them. This typically takes the form of truncation (Mal from Mallory) or using the diminutive suffix "-y" / "-ie" (Nicky from Nick / Nicholas). In looking over the years from 1950 to 2010, it's not hard to see the greater ease of forming nicknames for those born between the mid-1950s and the mid-1980s, and a good deal of given names were already in the informal style -- Larry, Danny, Vicki, Susie, etc.
Once the Millennials are born, though, forget about it. I spent many years tutoring these kids before I began graduate school, and here I've made friends with some of them and interacted with others as a TA. It's no exaggeration to say that hardly any of them go by nicknames. Whether that's a shift toward greater formality in their own minds, or whether their parents chose names that would be particularly difficult to make casual, I don't know. The return to formality among young people is evident all throughout the culture, so I don't dismiss that, but I think the parents shied away from the nicknameable (consciously or not) because they want to impress a higher level of formality on their kids whether they wanted it or not.
I have known girls who shortened Isabella to Izzy, Gabriela to Gabby, and some variant of Madison to Maddy (and then Mad), but that's about it. The boys with older names, I believe, did go by Alex instead of Alexander, Matt instead of Matthew, and so on, but not for the new wave of boys' names. Is Ethan going to be called Ethe, and Hunter Hunty? And what about Makayla, Jordan, and Hannah -- Kay, Jordy, and Han or Hannie sound like a bit of a stretch. The most vivid example is the nickname used by girls with some variant of Rebecca -- it used to be Becky, with the informal suffix. Now it is Becca, which sounds less casual.
With such bizarre trends going on among young people, both from their own preference for greater social distance and from the meddling of their helicopter parents, perhaps it's no wonder that so few songs have had a person's name in the title since a peak in the mid-'80s.