Wednesday, February 01, 2006

You're Dr. Who?

Given that we're not living in the fourteenth century anymore, you wouldn't think this would be a problem, but yikes is it.

http://sciencewoman.blogspot.com/2006/01/proper-name-for-woman-part-1.html

(Via green gabbro, my hero: http://greengabbro.net/index.php)

I got married to mr. delagar nine years ago.

(Or wait -- is it ten? I don't know. He keeps track of shit like that. Anyway.)

I did not take this last name. We had a minor, not very interested conversation about whether I would, some years before we ever even decided to marry, in which I said something like I'll flip you for it and if you lose you have to take my last name instead and he chortled and that was it.

When we had the kid, we have her both our last names, in a row, mine first and then his -- my one nod to the fucking patriarchy.

Ever since then? Endless shit, at airports, at checkouts, at banks, at the MONTESSORI SCHOOL, for heaven's sake, where I would EXPECT better, but no, I got a call from the MONTESSORI school not two months ago over this issue (though they at least were abject in their apologies about it).

My own parents give me shit about it, may I add? My father addresses letters to me under mr. delagar's name. Dr. Him, he calls me. I don't know if he thinks this is funny or if he thinks this is actually my name. Might be either, with my father.

But seriously.

Why is this even an issue anymore?

Some women don't take their husband's last names when they marry. (Some women do, of course: that's that whole choice thing. See how that works. Cool, huh?) That's been happening, folks, not for two years, or ten, or thirty, or fifty, but for a few hundred years.

Not like it's new, in other words. Or, you know, rocket science.

So what's the deal?

5 comments:

Mouse said...

I'm not changing my name. I decided that when I was like 10. Actually, I have always said that I would not get married and would not have kids, so it really wouldn't matter. But in the event that something catastrophic happens and I do (get married, children are absolutely out of the question), I made the personal decision before I was teen to not have a wedding ceremony and to not change my name or even my living quarters if I could help it. Alas, I will be troubled in the future--maybe. My mom doesn't think I'm nuts, but my grandparents do.

zelda1 said...

I wanted to keep my maiden name. Mr. Zelda was offended. So, I took his name. It's not that I don't like his name, I just wanted to keep or go back to my maiden name. It was, after all, who I was born. I think someday, I will go back to my maiden name, not because I want to piss off Mr. Zelda, but because I want the who-I-was-born person back.

Cynthia said...

This was the only major disagreement that my husband and I had before we married. I asked him if he would change his name to mine. He said, "No!" I then asked him why he would expect me to do something that he would refuse to do. He thought about it overnight and realized that he agreed with me. So we got married (25 years ago). We were hassled about having different names for the first few years, but then it tapered off.

When we had our son, people were curious again. "What will your son's name be?" In my family there is a tradition of using family surnames as first and middle names, so my name is our son's middle name and my husband's name is his last name. It's similar to what is done in Spanish as well. Really, there are so many people who are divorced and remarried, that our son is not the only kid with mismatched parents names. We haven't even fielded questions in years. We're not in AR, although we're on the downward crawl...

Diane said...

I get so tired of answering the phone and saying "No, this is "My Name" instead of responding to "Mrs. His Name." Not even, most of the time, "Ms. His Name." And it's not this part of the country; it comes from calls all over the country.

People are oh, so surprised that my husband and I have different names, like they've never heard of such a thing. For a long time, my in-laws kept addressing things to me using my husband's name. I finally asked my husband to do something about it. He must have, because the last thing I got from them actually had my name on it.

Laura said...

Try having different, but similar last names. My last name--Blankenship. My husband's--Blank. People are seriously confused. They think someone's made a mistake, either leaving letters off my husband's name or adding too many to mine. I, too, decided to keep my name at a very early age. I just didn't think I'd marry someone whose name was contained in mine. And my inlaws were good for a while about addressing mail to me, but they've either gotten lazy or think that by now I might come around to the idea that I should just give up on the whole name thing. We often get mail addressed Doug Blank and family. None of us exist. Gah!