Monday, September 27, 2010

What's Up With That?

In my never ending question to be the most popular non-famous person on Facebook (562 friends! woot! woot!), I was sending friend requests out to old high school acquaintances the other day. During this befriending frenzy, I noticed that one of the guys I went to high school with no longer went by the same last name. In fact, I only knew it was him because he put his old last name in parenthesis.  It wasn't until he had accepted my friend request that I went to his page and found out why his name had changed...he had taken his wife's last name.

This was not the first time I had seen this. One of my former students has done the same thing. To me, this is very odd. It is like this weird feminist, downward spiral.

First, women started hyphenating their names. Okay, whatever. I always wonder what happens when a kid who is born with a hyphenated name marries someone with a hyphenated they become Britney Jones-Brown-Smith-Henderson? Where does the hyphenating end? What about their children? I would hate to see what the last names looked like after a few generations...

Then there are the women who keep their last names. You love someone enough to say you will spend the rest of your life with them, but you won't take their last name? Odd. What happens to when they have children? Whose last name do they take? Is this the beginning of the hyphenation?

Now we have men who are taking their wife's last name. I am currently chalking this one up to the fact that these men didn't like their families or something. Maybe they've always hated their last name. Maybe their wife's family name is going to die out, so they decide to take it on and pass it on to their children.

Whatever the reason is, I'm not into it. I'm a traditionalist.


Vito and Gina said...

If you're talking about who I think you are talking about, I don't think he took his wife's last name. I think that is really his last name - I remember it being that maybe on our graduation program or somewhere else. I think it was a situation of his name that we knew him by was the name of the man who raised him but didn't ever officially adopt him (there were several of those at our school) and he had to go legally back to the name he has now when he turned 18.

I've known several men who have hyphenated their last name but never one who took their wife's last name entirely. And a woman not taking his name at all is fairly commonplace here.

And gosh, I plan to hyphenate (one of these days!), who knew you had such a strong opinion on the matter! ;)

Smalltown Girl said...

Gina - yes that is who I was talking about, and now that you mention it, I sort of remember that. Although I do have a former student who took his wife's name.

You should know by now I have strong opinions, but mostly I think it is just a slippery slope of confusion...

Godsadventureroad said...

There are also more reasons to keep your last name and or hyphen. Hispanic culture, strong identity with your birth family, being the last one with the family name, among others. I personally want to keep my last name when I get married and probably add my husbands. Our kids will have both as in the hispanic tradition. their names ought to reflect a part of who they are and where they've come from.

p.s. saw your blog from SCL

Smalltown Girl said...

I understand the need to hyphenate (especially when it is a cultural thing - I have had some hispanics in my classes and I know they use last names differently than traditional Europeans do).