What’s in a name?
That’s basically the crux of the discussion around maiden and married names, and what last names the kids get.
I had a discussion with a friend recently about this, and it got me thinking a bit more about names and what they mean and what names get passed on. I also had this idea piqued from reading Pride and Prejudice.
For the sake of argument here, I’m sticking with heterosexual couples, because that is the quote-upquote “norm” and the situation I am most familiar with.
For years, centuries, millennia (maybe?) the convention was the woman took her husband’s name. As an example, because I don’t want to use my own family, you have Martha Smith marries Juan Sanchez. Not only would Martha become Martha Sanchez, she would become Mrs. Juan Sanchez. Historically speaking.
I think the idea of Martha giving up her identity completely to become Mrs. Juan Sanchez is entirely stupid. Unless of course she is all for it, then who am I to judge?
You know, I’m not entirely sure in what direction I was going with the above, so I’m going to change tacks and hopefully this will make sense.
I like to think of myself as an equalist, or feminist – in that both men and women are equal and should be treated as such and given the same opportunities, etc. etc. etc.
With that in mind, I have mulled over and been prodded into mulling over the situation that may one day ensnare me of determining my name, my wife’s name and the names of our children – specifically our last, or family, names.
Convention has it she would take my name, and our kids would also have my name. That is what my family did, and that is what most families do. It’s the way it is because it’s the way it was.
But does it have to be that way?
Nowadays, it is more common for the woman to keep her own name, even after she’s married. Pretty much no one bats an eye at that. [Full disclosure, none of my female friends who have got married have kept their maiden names; at least none of which I am aware.]
What I am less familiar with is what happens to the kids whose parents kept their pre-marriage names. Whose name do they take? Mom’s? Dad’s? Hyphenate the both of them?
I have been bandying about several ideas on this topic for years, actually.
I am fairly attached to my name (it is, after all, the name I’ve had all my life), but as I’ve grown and seen what the genes I have are doing to my body, I am seeing how I truly am half of my mom and her family’s genes, and half of my dad and his family’s genes.
So, I have seriously debated taking my wife’s name when (if?) I get married. I think it makes a lot of sense. It upends the status quo, and if there’s one thing I love doing it’s messing with people’s expectations.
We could also both hyphenate our names.
We could also merge our names into one word.
Of course, all those are well and good when you’re childless. When kids come into the picture, that opens a whole other can of worms.
Easiest solution? The status quo where we all take my name.
Second simplest solution is actually where we hyphenate our names. Both of us would get to pass on our names into future generations. A potential hiccup here, and it’s one I never thought of until recently, is hyphenating names does kind of lead us down a slippery slope. So my kid marries someone with a hyphenated name. What do they do? Quadruple hyphenation? Take first name in each and hyphenate? Only use one of the names (hyphenated or split)? Invent their own name? So many options.
Third easiest would be if we made up a name – just give the kids that one.
The toughest one out there is if I took her name. Yes, give the kids that name. But I would also want to pass my name along. Which, admittedly, does go a bit counter to my willingness to take the missus’ name to begin with.
Among many options out there would be to give the kids different names. Maybe the boys get my name, and the girls get their mom’s. Or we alternate mom/dad as the kids are born, regardless of sex.
Or in a true case of fuck the patriarchy, the girls get my name and the boys get their mom’s. The only issue there is both our name lines would die when our kids get married and they choose to follow “convention.”
So. Many. Options. And. Things. To. Think. About.
Maybe I’ll just get snipped and the missus will get her tubes tied, and we’ll have countless hours of raunchy, kinky, dirty, childfree, unprotected sex!
I have no idea.