Men usually complain that it is impossible to understand the way the female brain works, and lending more credence to this stance is the new trend that is emerging among women and the specifications they look for in a prospective suitor.
The ‘attractive’ a man’s name is, the more likely his marriage proposal would be accepted. ‘Weightier’ names are the quiet disqualifying factor for most men in Ghana now.
A small research conducted by Weekend Finder indicates that aside a man’s wealth, physique and character, surnames have now become a very important and decisive factor women consider in accepting or rejecting marriage proposals.
If you have ever wondered why the ladies are not interested in settling down with you, even when you have a feeling they are attracted to you, check your surname.
One of the big debates in feminist circles across the world is whether it is really any better for women to keep their maiden names after marriage, but in Ghana, assuming your husband’s name is an old-known tradition.
Findings by this paper reveal that one of the most important considerations for many young ladies in Ghana in accepting a marriage proposal is by first conducting what has been termed as the ‘name match’; they pair their suitor’s name with their first name to assess how attractive they would sound when they assume them as a Mrs.
Most of the women the paper spoke to placed premium on what name they will inherit after marriage as an important criteria for accepting a marriage proposal or not.
When Weekend Finder spoke to its first lady respondent on whether the surname of their would-be husbands is of any significance to them, she giggled her answer bluntly:
“It would be very unfair for any woman to trade a very beautiful name for some mouthful name.”
‘Weightier names’, irrespective of the beautiful meaning, are the most disadvantaged in this new criterion.
But just how much premium do our ladies place on the name they would inherit from their would-be husbands? Weekend Finder went out and about, and these are what our ladies say:
Jane, 30, told Weekend Finder she would prefer to keep her identity by keeping her last name even after marriage. “No, I can’t imagine myself bearing just any name at all after marriage. I won’t date a man with a funny name in the first place but I think I will keep my name.”
Ruth, 33, said although ordinarily a man’s name should not matter much in marriage, “some names are someway and I would love to keep my maiden name after marriage in that instance.”
Anne, 25, told Weekend Finder that she had refused to date a man once just because of his name.
“He was a nice guy, but when he mentioned his surname, I said, ‘Huh?’ Seriously, I didn’t see myself bearing that name. In fact at first, I thought I could just call him by his ‘day-born’ name, but I realised all his friends called him by his surname, and that ended it.”
Another narrated that while they were at the university, a roommate was constantly ridiculed by her peers because of the surname of her fiancée. They would call her Mrs (plus the fiancée’s name) — a situation which ended the relationship.
Pat, 35, married, said “true love knows no mouthful surnames, so I won’t reject the proposal on that basis.”
Another lady also narrated how her elder sister nearly missed out on a good marriage because of the gentleman’s name. She said, “My sister kept complaining of how uncommon the guy’s surname was, but my mum told her to just consider the good sides of the gentleman. My sister finally saw reason and agreed to marry to guy. Now, they have a very nice marriage; her husband treats her like a queen.”
A victim of this new criterion who posted his frustrations online wrote:
“We are both university graduates and have been dating for a year now. She told me that she broke up with her ex because she doesn’t like his surname. My problem is that this lady wants me to change my surname before we marry. I’m not ready to do that so she is not happy. Should surnames matter in a relationship and is it advisable to change in the name of love?”
And below are some of the responses he got:
Eben wrote: “Even your family name (surname) is a problem for her. Are you sure she wouldn’t ask you to change your family members in case she doesn’t like them? Remind her that marriage is for better, for worse. It all boils down to maturity. Be advised!”
Eric wrote: “This is madness and I think it is better u [sic] let her go away now.”
A recent Google survey conducted by the New York Times, however, indicated that the incidence of women keeping their names after marriage is on the rise, with nearly 20% of women deciding to keep their maiden names after getting married and 10% opting for hyphenated names.
But while some believe taking your husband’s last name is now a sexist and retro tradition, that doesn’t mean women have stopped doing it. According to a 2013 study of 14 million married women on Facebook, 20 to 79 years of age, 65% of women in their 20s and 30s changed their name after they got married.
Again, according to a 2009 longitudinal study in Social Behaviour & Personality, more women have been opting to keep their last names after getting married, a trend that started in the 1990s.