Sign of the Times: The Two Names in One Phenomenon

Katie Rose. Dylan Zane. Sarah Faye. Anthony Ray. Taylor Jane. John Paul. Jamie Lynn. Hailey Marie. Shit, any name + Marie. The two names in one phenomenon has never seemed to run more rampantly than the here and now. And while some might chalk it up to being a mere name trend, it’s about so much more than that: the grandiosity enabled by a now congenital sense of entitlement.

In the days of baby boomers and Generation Xers–and even in the now of millennials–it was not only perfectly acceptable but preferable to have just one name. The expediency of calling out a moniker like Susan to a baby boomer or Carrie to a Gen Xer was glorious, and now, a thing of the past. With the ascension of Generation Z (a.k.a. boomlets–a more fitting term to describe these little assholes), the privilege that comes with being born into an era where an existence without computers, smartphones and the internet was never known has contributed to a heightened sense of selfishness.

And while, sure, essentially every generation has been delivered the blow of being called self-absorbed–from baby boomers being dubbed the “Me” generation to Gen Xers being labeled and then claiming for themselves the insult of “slacker” to the countless think pieces about millennial egoism (primarily at the hands of The New York Times)–there is a new art to the narcissism of Generation Z. And it starts at birth with two names. While, sure, it’s their millennial parents bequeathing them with these appellations, it’s ultimately the kids’ decisions to keep the two name formula in place.

The origins of packing as many names into one first name as possible traces back to all sources of pain and pretension: the U.K. Initially for the religious reason of honoring the saints, Scottish, Irish and the separatists called the British would infuse a middle name to show spiritual reverence. Later, it became less about God and more about showing off wealth and status. Any pretentious parent who was any pretentious parent had a child with two names.

Later, in the U.S., the more Southern trend of the two name spectacle was a result of the immigration of the Anglo-Saxons to this part of the country. In the mire of self-obsession that is 2017, there are neither religious nor socioeconomic reasons for having two names. It’s simply your birthright to be difficult. That’s right, such a luxury is not even reserved for gay icons like Tammy Faye anymore.

What’s in name? Just about every indication of whether or not a person is going to be a complete dickhead.