Dear Mrs. NotYourOriginalLastName

This was something that I got to wondering about going over my MySpace page and looking over my friends list. I’ve talked elsewhere about the fact that it seems like everyone I knew in high school in college is moving out/getting married/etc. and I’m…well, not, at the moment. That’s fine, as I honestly think the path I picked for myself, while making me a “loser” in American society in the short term, will work out far better for me in the long term, and those close to me seem to agree. That’s not really my point. My point is that, as mentioned, a lot of my friends are getting married. And as a result of this, a lot of my female friends have changed their last name to that of their husband’s. Okay. But from looking at their display names, it seems many of them are downright enthusiastic about this specific aspect of marriage.


Now, maybe it’s because I was born with, and last I knew, still had *Checks…yep, still do*, the male genitalia and the balance of hormones that come with it, and so I can never know why this is. I do understand that there is this pressure on females in general to run off as it were and get married–my girlfriend once told me that this desire was drilled into her from the age of approximately 4–perhaps deriving from a history where traditionally, the only way for a female to be able to survive once she became an adult was essentially to get married and have her husband care for her, so to speak. And indeed, from a functional perspective I understand to a degree why someone’s last name has to go upon marriage–otherwise, your child’s full name will be something like “Firstname DadLastName-MomLastName”, their child’s name would be “FirstName LastNameOne-LastNameTwo-LastNameThree-LastNameFour”, and after that…well, it’s a huge mess.

But to me–and again, my views on this may be influenced by the fact that I’m male and so don’t really have to deal with losing my last name upon marriage–your name is really a part of your identity. Is part of the legacy of the pressure to marry a pressure to give up part of your identity…and worse, to present this as though it’s a good thing?

Any female readers (Or male, for that matter) out there, please comment on this, as I’m clearly missing something.


1 comment

    • cynthia on December 3, 2007 at 2:34 am

    i’m not so sure it’s the actual name but more proof that you’re married that thrills girls so much.
    i know a few girls who are just totally pumped to have someone else’s last name and i think it’s kind of absurd. (along with insisting on calling their husbands HUBBY)

    i am not excited to have joey’s last name, in fact we’re changing it to something i will be excited to have, sheerly to save our kids the embarrassment of having the last name “dykes”
    i think it would have been important to keep one of our names had either of us had anyone notable in our past that i know our kids would care about.
    it’s going to be a bit awkward when/if our kids ask about our family history and we tell them that we just picked a last name instead of using either of ours.

    but yeah, if family history still mattered to people i would think the last name thing would be significant. but now it’s just so cool to be married you’ve gotta flaunt it.

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