Tyler Cowen exposes the fact that girls are more likely to recieve creative names than boys. He then wonders:
[I]t remains a mystery why parents take more chances with the names of their baby girls.
He also remembers when his own name was not so common (I swear every little rug monkey in the local beastiary–er, coffeehouse–has that name now):
I can remember a time when the only other “Tyler” in my mental universe was Henry Kissinger’s dog.
Lemme guess–he got teased about it. Or maybe worse. Anyway, there inlies the answer to his quandry: boys with silly names will be beaten mercilessly by their peers. The pressure to conform starts earlier and is more physically enforced than with girls. When women around the office start pondering names, the guys there always start shooting down names for boys. “Nope, that’s a playground beating name for sure.”
Girls are more cooperative at first, and are expected to show some individuality (within carefully restricted rules) of dress later–that is, such things can be an asset if they’re popular enough, and the name is not likely to be the source of initial unpopularity. Boys, on the other hand, are much more likely to pounce on such a difference, often literally. Trust me, as the only male Sandy south of the Mason-Dixon line, I know this. This can affect your popularity and hence your reproductive chances. So naturally, you would expect the type of people to give boys odd names to be selected out, at least in modern suburban American culture.
Obviously this isn’t a 100% thing; otherwise I would not be one of the few non-Alexander Sandys. Probably just enough sacrifice their sons’ popularity that the cycle of names continues on (with the addition of last names of popular figures, I’m guessing). But a testable prediction of my wild speculation would be if boys’ names’ popularity rises and falls as quickly as girls. My guess would be “no.”
Update: I’ve corrected the sex difference to be between girls and boys as opposed to girls and women–though it’s true that women recieve far fewer creative new names than girls, since they just tend to take existing last names, if any.