The ever fabulous Francesca sent me a link to a NY Times article concerning post-nuptial bridal monikers. I’ve written here about the practical aspects of changing one’s name, but I can’t recall if I’ve addressed the alternative considerations. To take the name of another (or not) can be an intensely personal process and, as you’ve no doubt noticed in the comments section, one that many people find rather off-putting.
Said article opens with a anecdote about a family vs. family softball game intended to determine whether Jill Van Camp would take Darren Bloch’s name or vice versa…an idea that may have been invented by New Yorkers Sam Shaffer and Kathryn Neale.
Thanks to hyphens, a vogue toward creative morphing of names, and legislation in some states that has eased the process for a man to take his wife’s surname, there have never been more surname options…But brides, and bridegrooms as well, are learning that with choice comes complication. They are turning what was once an intimate conversation into an interactive dialogue with relatives, friends and even professional consultants.
The number of newlywed ladies opting not to become Mrs. So-and-So is rising, at least among those who are college educated. And more duders are deciding to take the name change plunge, leading some states to put legislation into play that makes it easier for guys to become Mr. So-and-So. The Governator even signed a bill that will allow domestic partners in California to easily swap monikers in 2009.
If you’ve gotten flack for your choice to keep or change your name, you have an advocate in the Lucy Stone League, an organization dedicated to “equal rights for women and men to retain, modify and create their names, because a person’s name is fundamental to her/his existence.” The league also pushes for the equal frequency of male and female name changes and equality of patrilineal/matrilineal name distribution for children, though I really don’t see either of those things happening any time soon. The site is worth a visit if you’re on the fence about changing your name–it discusses the history of name choice freedom, the importance of identity, and the many options brides AND grooms have.
Who won the softball match? You’ll have to read the article to find out! But before you scamper off to the Times, weigh on the name change issue via comment if, like many, you have strong feelings on the topic.