Brad and Angelina. Romeo and Juliet. John, Yoko. See a pattern? We may have come a long way baby, but our female names still typically follow the man’s name.
Researchers searched the Web for 10 pairs of popular names and found that in 79 percent of the pairs the male name came first. Only 21 percent put the female name first. The research is published in the British Journal of Social Psychology.
Then the researchers asked 121 people to write down the names of imaginary traditional couples, like one where the woman cooks most of the meals, as well as the names of non-traditional couples, where the male might be a stay-at-home dad. For traditional couples the men’s names came first significantly more often. But the effect was not there for the atypical couples.
Similarly they had subjects write down the names of imagined gay couples and found that the partner listed first tended to be more butch than femme. And those named second tended to be more femme than butch.
But note this from the main author: “When people address greeting cards to couples…they often put the person that they know best first, whether female or male.” And if they know both people, they typically start with the name that matches their gender.