Relationships and experiences are a big part of what defines who we are. For many, names become guideposts or signifiers of those relationships or experiences. For a long time, I couldn’t accept my dad and so the allure of casting of the McDonell name felt like it might relieve me of some burden. Of having him in my life, of dealing with the ways I am like him, of seeing him for the fully complex person that he was. I understand the desire to change one’s last name as a marker of starting over, especially when there’s something in your past you want to close the door on.
For a while, my plan was to drop the McDonell from my name, and just be Amelia Parry. It would stay that way when I got married and then, when I had kids, my husband and I could … well, we’d cross that bridge when we came to it. Ideally, we would hyphenate our kid’s name just as my parents had done with my name, until our child grew up and made their own decision about what to do.
But so much has not gone as planned. Keep reading »
Earlier this year, a guy wrote to Dear Wendy upset that his girlfriend wouldn’t take his last name if they got married. Wendy’s response? “You’re not a hard-line traditionalist or a domineering macho type? Good! Then you shouldn’t have a problem with taking your wife’s name if you feel so strong in your convictions that a family unit should share the same surname.” It’s still not common, per se, but more and more men are taking their wives’ names for a variety of reasons—because their wife is an only child, because they like the sound of her name better, or because they don’t have a great relationship with their own father. Interestingly, there are lots of barriers up for guys thinking of doing this; it’s only an option in eight states. And in California, a dude had to sue to get the right to make the change. “I had a rough childhood with my father,” says Michael Buday, explaining why he wanted to take his fiancee Diana Bijon’s last name. “We never really got along. Diana’s father stepped up, gave me career advice. He’s family.” [USA Today]
Earlier, I brought you female celebrities who took their husbands’ names. It got me thinking, are there any male stars who’ve taken their wives’ names? The answer is yes. Find out who after the jump. Keep reading »
Lauren Bush, niece of George W., debuted her fashion line at Barney’s this week under the name Lauren Pierce. Explaining the name change to W, Lauren denied it had anything to do with her name being mud in much of the world, saying:
“It wasn’t a conscious decision…. Obviously my last name is associated with politics. But Pierce is my grandmother’s maiden name and my younger brother’s name. It’s not about downplaying my last name as much as it is about loving Pierce. And my brother is very flattered.”
Lauren also happens to be dating son of fashion legend Ralph Lauren, and one can’t help but wonder if he’s the one who gave her the career advice to ditch the Bush. Just the kind of thing every young woman wants to hear from her boyfriend’s dad. [via Huffington Post] Keep reading »
Since I got engaged early last month and began planning a wedding for this summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be hitched. As someone who already lives with her husband-to-be, I wonder just how much marriage will actually change things, whether I’ll wake up the morning after the wedding feeling any different. I’ve also been thinking a lot about what kind of wife I want to be, what it means to be a “good” wife, and how — if at all — being a “good wife” could compromise my identity or personal needs and interests.
I don’t feel a pressing desire to “prove” to myself or anyone else that I won’t change, that I won’t compromise anything, because at some point I’m sure I will. (Isn’t compromise a big part marriage, after all?) But I’m also certain that while bits of my identity are bound to shift, just as I would expect them to with any big life change and new perspective, the core of who I am will remain the same. No new name, white dress, ring on my finger or any other traditional convention is going to change that. For better or worse, I am who I am and I’m pretty solid in my identity. So when I read a column in the Guardian recently by Abigail Gliddon, a woman who claims “when a woman takes her husband’s name, she surrenders her former identity and adopts his,” I wondered how she came to have such low expectations for other women. Keep reading »
My sister practically clutched her heart when I first told her. “But what about the children?” she demanded. I shook my head, completely speechless. Now, I have an answer: What’s going to happen to our — at this stage — hypothetical children if I don’t change my name? They’ll survive. Keep reading »
By now you’ve probably heard about Michael Buday, the guy who wanted to take the last name of his wife, Diana Bijon, when they married in California. It took two years, a sexual discrimination suit, and a change in California law before he was able to do so. While women have an easy time taking their husband’s last name, there is no place on the marriage license application, and driver’s license, for the groom to choose the bride’s surname. Clearly, this is ridiculous and there’s not much more to say about that, except good for Mr. and Mrs. Bijon for taking their fight all the way. But it got me thinking about the notion of changing your last name in marriage anyway — is this something guys would actually consider? I posed the question to the guys on my IM and, needless to say, they probably won’t be taking your last name anytime soon. Check their responses, after the jump. Keep reading »
For the record, I am not engaged. I suspect I will be engaged, however, anywhere between one month to slightly less than two years from now. Being that this impending engagement is pretty much around the corner, I’ve been doing alot of hemming and hawing about what to do should that joyous occasion arrive and I need to decide what to do about my last name. For many, if not most, women, taking their husband’s last name is a no-brainer, which is perhaps the aspect of this debate that bothers me the most. It’s not that I don’t acknowledge the convenience, the ease, even the, gag, romance of sharing the same last name as the hubs, but it seems to me that spending 28 years on Earth with one name and then just throwing it out like yesterday’s garbabe is a decision that should be weighed with a little bit of levity. I am weighing it with an extraordinary amount of levity and have found that there is a bit of a dialogue going on between two sides of my brain on the subject. Right and left battle it out, after the jump.
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