Jezebel posted an article yesterday about husbands who demand their wives take their last name. It literally made me laugh out loud; some of the comments that men made were laughable. Because if a man said that to me, he would be more concerned for his testicle health after I kicked him than our last names.
When you read this article, you might think, my husband wanted me to change my name, and it wasn’t a big deal. And that might be true, but the guys in this article say things like:
“One family, one name. If she didn’t take my name, I’d seriously question her faith in us lasting as a couple. And I don’t want hyphenated kids.” —Brandon Robert Joseph Peyton, via Facebook
“I believe the purpose of marriage is raising children, and children take their father’s name (as a way of identifying paternity). Mothers always have a special bond, carrying their young. Fathers don’t, so [passing on our name] is our compensation.” —Matthew Bratcher, via Facebook
“My name is part of who I am.” —Anonymous respondent, via a SurveyMonkey poll
“Call it pride or ego, whatever. It’s not happening.” —Anonymous respondent, via a SurveyMonkey poll
“It sounds like she’s trying to hang onto her “single person” identity and not identify with the fact that she’s married now.” —Anonymous respondent, via a SurveyMonkey poll
Seriously, dudes? Your name is part of who you are, but her name is not part of her? I can’t raise a child because I don’t have the same last name as my husband? And you don’t want hyphenated kids. OK, I don’t want a douchebag husband. These comments seriously irked me. (But I did note that most of these comments came from single men. I wonder why?)
Let me tell you something, I have a very unusual last name for America. So does my husband. But I grew up with mine. I lived with mine. I suffered for mine. (Try having a last name 15 letters long in 4th grade. I was made fun of incessantly because none of those kids could say it! Not that I can say it right either with my American accent.) He would say the same thing about his name, too. Kids made fun of his name, too. But mine is Basque and his is German, and we all know that Basques are way better than everyone else in the world. Just ask my dad. Sailed around the world first: A BASQUE! Oldest language on the planet: BASQUE! Best soccer players: BASQUES! Best food: BASQUE! Best architecture: BASQUE! (Seriously, they modeled the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding after my dad, but instead of Basque, they just inserted Greek.)
Before I met Biff, I was certain I was going to be alone for the rest of my live, doomed to living as a spinster, taking in hordes of cats and recycling, thinking there would be purpose for it all later. The ONE consolation was that at least I wouldn’t have to give up my awesome last name. Because now in my older age I do think it is awesome.
I cannot tell you how many times I get stopped when I am buying something and people ask about my name. And it never gets old for me. Never. Then I get to talk about myself and my heritage. I love it. Seriously.
So when it came time to discuss last names, I really didn’t want to change mine. I don’t mean any disrespect to his family, or to him, but I just like my last name. And it is part of WHO I AM. Just because we are married doesn’t mean I need to give up part of my identity because that is “just the way it is.” If anyone knows me, I don’t fly by those rules.
And besides, why do people think it is an affront to his family? And not to mine? In the Basque country, women keep their names and the kids take the husbands last names, and that is the end of it. There is no confusion as to who your mom is, just because she has a different last name, and there is no disrespect to his family.
Not that his family said anything to me. They love me.
When we were talking about it, I asked Biff, “How about we both change our names to a combination of both? You can take mine on and I will take yours on.” That was not an option for him. And then he said the magic words: “Look, if I am not willing to change my name, I can’t make you change yours.”
And that was that. I fell in love with him all over again! He’s reasonable AND hot? I’ve got quite a catch!
Then we went to the Basque Country, and he was like, “NO WAY in hell am I going to ask you to give THIS up.” I think he would have been more likely to take my name at that point. Maybe not. Fifteen letters and 7 syllables is a lot to take on.