In playing with Facebook, looking up oldtime friends and acquaintances, I have come across two men and former classmates who now have hyphenated last names. And I will have to admit it is a bit disconcerting.

As I remember, in College these two guys were extremely bright and also rather progressive in their thinking. So, I guess it is proper they would challenge for me the conventionality of this matter of the female spouse accepting the last name of her husband. There is no law against it. Although, I understand many states make it a difficult legal process, likely because it is still unconventional. And I must quickly admit this to be strictly the personal business of the couple themselves. If they want to combine their two last names with a hyphen, it is the right of no one else to deny the matter or persecute the decision. Actually it is a selfless gesture on the part of the husband, a clear statement of partnership and equality.

So, why does it bother me?

In this day and age, it seems to be fashionable to push boundaries, to ask why, to dare to do things differently. But I am convinced that different is not necessarily better. Conventionalities and traditions that have served us well for centuries deserve respect. Most often, it is a mistake to set them aside for the sake of what seems new, different, and better. Traditional family, which includes traditional marriage, I believe to be of bedrock importance for a healthy society. But it seems to be under relentless attack from so many directions. Especially has the nuclear family taken a hit in popular culture. Still, I would like to think there are lots of old fashioned families out there, working hard at being healthy and happy. I respect the man who takes seriously the role of provider and protector of his family. It is not an insult to his wife to love her in this way. And I also think it is healthy for a woman to be comfortable enough with her identity and femininity to encourage her husband and equal partner in this role. To me, it seems appropriate.

So, back to the hyphenated last name. The world will not come to an end because of this matter. Likely I will grow accustomed to it. And if things go according to cue, one of my kids or grandkids will probably take up the tradition. Alas!

Right now, it seems to me yet another chink in the armor.


posted by: fractalmom (reply)
post date: 05.16.09 (6:55 am)

oddly enough, i recently made two new friends. they emigrated from Spain. They are a lovely couple, married, own their own business, she is a teacher.

they find it quite amusing that in the US the woman takes the man's name. He asks, How does the child know their heritage, their ancestors?

And even funnier, most of us come from Europe, or did when the US was first settled. Why did WE change the custom?

I guess in spain, every childs middle name is their fathers surname, every childs last name is their mothers surname. so a childs geneology is in their very name....

and, the wives do not take the surname of their husband when married. they retain their own names, as does the husband.

I found the whole story fascinating.

He found it hilarious that we take our name ancestry away from our children, and then they spend the rest of their lives trying to trace it LOL.



posted by: inkspector (reply)
post date: 05.16.09 (8:18 am)

FractalMom is correct about the Spanish surnames.
The Spanish teacher at my high school did this, and we also had neighbors that followed this tradition.

I would also like to point out historically in colonial times up till about the Victorian times, hyphenated surnames were very common and used mostly as a social (including political and economical) status.

On a sidenote --> hyphenated (ethnic)-Americans --is considered offensive in this day and age.



posted by: surrogate (reply)
post date: 05.16.09 (9:15 am)

Imagine a day when you no longer wear armor in which to get chinks... Hey, believe it or not, I used to be bugged by such things; the idea of Gay marriage, for instance. Thankfully, reason took hold and I realized these prejudices were MY problem and I finally stopped pretending I knew best how others should live their lives. -And I thank God for it.



posted by: bawdy (reply)
post date: 05.16.09 (1:19 pm)

It does make it easier for people to track down long lost friends.



posted by: darksaber (reply)
post date: 06.06.09 (8:14 am)

Hey pastordave, it's been a while since I've been on tblog.

This subject came up in my recent 14-month relationship (now over). My ex didn't want to take my name if we ever got married, because it would confuse scientists to suddenly have a different name on research papers. This bothered me a lot at the time, but I got over it eventually. However in retrospect this was just another sign I wasn't that high a priority in her life.

-Revan



posted by: Christine (reply)
post date: 06.29.09 (10:59 pm)

@Revan -

Perhaps your unwillingness to take on *her* name simply showed that she wasn't that high priority in your life.

Weird how this is only supposed to have this meaning in a single direction.



posted by: Kristan (reply)
post date: 08.27.10 (8:13 pm)

Ok feminista, I mean Christine, tone down the hostility



posted by: @Kristan (reply)
post date: 02.13.11 (6:01 pm)

I only detect hostility in your comment. "feminista"? how about misogynist?

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