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.