Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Completely Off Topic

Last spring we met a lovely couple at the bridal shower for Z’s sister and our now sister-in-law.  In less than three weeks the ladies we met are tying the knot themselves.  One of them has been blogging about the impending nuptials both on the weddingbee website and on her personal blog.  So although Friday is our 10th wedding anniversary I have been reading wedding blogs, both hers and ones I have found through her site. 

Sometimes it is hard for me to read wedding blogs without thinking, “Oh Jeeze, these ladies think this stuff is so life and death, but it isn’t!  The wedding is one day, it doesn’t matter if everything is just so.  The marriage is what matters!”  I know, I know, I’m an ass.  When I think that I remember two things.  First, I am sure the moms of older kids who read new mommy blogs think a very similar thing.  And second, I felt the exact same way as these brides ten years ago.  And to their credit, many of these women are incredibly thoughtful about the whole process including life beyond the big day. 

Today I was reading a blog from a recent bride in which she discussed her choice to take her husband’s name and asked readers to explain why they made their choices.  Though it was my first trip to this particular blog I actually commented, which is unusual.  I’m much more of a lurker than a commenter.  But I explained that I kept my name because I love it and it is a big part of my identity.  I also wrote that I’m glad women have to opportunity to make the choice and everyone needs to do what is right for them.  Directly after me a new bride commented that taking her husband’s name made her feel fully committed to him.

At first I was all riled up about that.  You have to take your husband’s name to prove you are fully committed?  Are you fucking kidding me?  No one expects a man to prove his commitment by changing his name, yet there is still an expectation that the woman will take the subservient role and trade her father’s name for her husband’s. 

And then I thought perhaps I should calm the fuck down.  First of all, my last name is my father’s last name and I received it in the traditional paternalistic way.  My mother took my father’s name and I respect her decision.  And who is to say someone didn’t read my comment and think, “What?  Is she saying I’m shedding a part of my identity by taking my husband’s name?  How offensive and wrong!” 

The great thing about this blogging and commenting situation is we are able to express how we feel.  And it would be super boring if we all felt exactly the same.  It is legitimate that I felt I was keeping my identity by keeping my name; it is legitimate that the new bride feels she is fully committing to her husband by taking his name.  I love when the wise internet teaches me a lesson!  And I would like to ask the same question here.  Married or almost married friends-what last name choice did you make?  Why did you make it?  Does it even matter that much to you?  If you are a parent do you have the same last name as your kids? 

For the record, T has Z’s last name.  I have male Cordano cousins who have procreated, so the name lives on.  Z is the last male in his part of the family, and it didn’t bug me in the least that he wanted T to have his last name.  Z recently said if we have another kid it should have my last name to keep things fair, but I shot that down. It really doesn’t matter to me that much and I think it would be weird for the two siblings to have different last names. 

I’m glad I’m reading wedding blogs right now.  Strangely I’m also reading a bunch of divorce blogs, and they are also instructive.  I don't know about you guys, but for me it is really useful to read about places you and been in your life, as well as places you haven’t been.  On second read, this might just be the most obvious, duh inducing post ever.  With all the mommy blog reading I'm doing I think I'm losing perspective.  There is so much one-upmanship, so much meanness, and judgement, and hurt feelings that it took a wedding blog to remind me we can have constructive conversations here on the old internet.

My sweet boys swinging in the back yard.


  1. the photo of you and your boys is so fucking cute! i'm dying.

    also, i'd want to keep my name... and wouldn't expect my husby to change his... unless he wanted to!

    i love your writing my dear! keep up the good work.

  2. I totally love that by the magic of chance I happen to know one of your male cousins who has procreated. And I took Alex's name, although for a while there I thought I had him convinced to take mine because it was more interesting. I totally understand both choices and among my friends it is fairly evenly divided. Interestingly, I even took my maiden name off of my Facebook profile when I went on the job market, to "hide" behind my super-common married name. It is a crazy new feeling to realize that I can't automatically have the login names I want because there are other people with the same first and last names as me out there somewhere. In a way it is freeing...but now that I will be trying to publish it is also annoying and I may go for adding the middle initial.

  3. wife-to-be in t minus 17 days here! miranda and i are combining her hyphenated last name (which she's had her whole life) with my last name (which isn't my birth name, but is my legal last name since i changed it 10+ years ago). it took some getting used to on my end - but since we're not planning on having kids (only the furry kind) it seems extra-important to have the world recognize us with our matchy-matchy last names. also t and z are RIDICULOUS. seriously, how do you not just kiss on them all. the. time?

  4. I'm personally hoping that my Emma will be all riled up and insist on being a McFarland forever.

    But I'm also not convinced I'm ever going to let her date... so maybe a moot point.

  5. J-Thanks for reading!
    J-Isn't the world awesome and tiny? I also love that you randomly know my cousin. Especially because he and his wife are straight up good people. I hadn't noticed you'd taken your maiden name off FB. The job market thing is scary. I dig the anonymity of having a fairly common name, though.
    D-I'm so happy for you ladies. And the new last name thing seems like a really great choice for you. Also, I do spend a lot of my time kissing my boys.
    S-I wish I could see you being a dad first hand. I am sure you are amazing. McFarland is a sweet last name, I have my fingers crossed she will keep it. And that you will let her date...

  6. I kept my last name because I couldn't imagine being someone else, especially after working so hard for 33 years to build my reputation. I also joke that "Gross" is not exactly an upgrade. Hyphenation -- you've got to be kidding.

    Though Steven and I agreed that any theoretical children would have Wacknov as a second middle name and Gross as surname, I'm of two minds on that. I have distant boy cousins who have passed on Wacknov to their kids, but no one in the immediate line. Corey's our last hope, but who knows. I suppose we'd re-discuss if it ever became something to discuss, which it may not.

  7. I kept my name when I was wed.

  8. S-I've been thinking about you a lot lately. And it sounds like you and I are similar in that keeping our names was an easy decision, while the kid name thing is more complicated.

    D-Very witty. You know, as I consider you one of the smartest guys I've ever met I would be really interested to hear what your thoughts are on this matter. On the original blog another commenter sited this piece http://www.salon.com/life/since_you_asked/2007/11/16/whose_name_to_take/
    (you might have to cut and paste, I am not computer savvy) as a reason she kept her name. As an unabashed feminist and someone who thinks a lot about how far women have come in the last 100 years while still being concerned with how far we have to go it really resonated with me.

  9. I loved my last name, and was sad to trade it in for something nobody can spell or pronounce without help (sorry babe). However, I actually like to keep things simple as much as possible, and separate names for me, my husband, potentially my kids, was too much work and too many questions. So I never honestly considered not taking my husbands last name. I did keep my maiden name as my middle name, I didn't want to entirely lose it and I didn't have a middle name previously.

  10. I deflect your praise and it's attendant pressures by pointing out that this is a matter of opinion where intellect is not a useful tool. I know a man who, when he married, chose a new last name with his wife-to-be, and they both took it (that name was Griffen, in case you care to know). After I was engaged to M, it was some weeks later when I asked her what name she would have afterwards. She chose to share mine, in part because her view is that everything in marriage should be shared, and in part to make things simpler I suppose, and I am happy to share it with her. She doesn't have much in the way of conflicting feelings about patriarchy or feminism, but if she had and wanted to keep her original name, that would've been fine too.

    Oh whoops, I see she already responded. Seems a shame to waste all that typing so I'm posting anyway.

  11. Oh boy, I just wrote a comment and accidentally deleted it.

    Anyway, Dan and I are planning our wedding for next September! I have decided I am going to take his last name. To be honest I'm not sure why this is important to me, but it is for some reason. Also, our son has Dan's last name as well. Again, I can't really explain why we decided this. I suppose it just felt like the right thing for us. We are planning for a very small and intimate wedding, much to the dismay of my soon-to-be in-laws. "But if you invite EVERYONE you'll get more stuff!" Big eyeroll there. I want to be able to remember everyone who was there and I want to know that we shared it with only the people who were were closest to.