Friday 10 November 2017


I was trying to explain to the King the other day why women change their names when they marry; as expected, it was not as straightforward as one would think. Then again, to me, his confusion made perfect sense.

I was speaking of a friend of mine but used her married name. As he only knew her by her maiden name he asked who I was talking about. I explained and then he aptly asked, “Why does she have two names?” I told him that when some women get married they take their husband's surname. He looked at me and said, “But they already have a name?” (Exactly)… I then said, "Well... some women like to take their husband’s name after the wedding, to show… um, that they are one." (See, I have a hard time even explaining this to my son as I don’t understand the (modern day) need to do this either). The King then of course asked me if men take women’s names. And I said, no, traditionally they do not. Which of course spurred him to ask, but don’t men want to feel as one too? (Ha! Apparently their need to be 'one' is not as strong as their need to keep their name).

Yeah, see how much sense all this makes? 

I then explained that historically a woman took a man’s name when she became his (oh my gosh, my feminist bones shudder at the thought). I tried to explain the historical existence of arranged marriages, the combining of families, dowries etc. etc., but any explanation simply sounded outdated and sexist as h*ll. The King has this brilliant dead stare that usually means, 'I don’t know what you’re talking about, or what you’re saying isn’t going to stay in my brain cause it simply doesn’t sound right.'  I’m thinking his stare this time was spurred by the latter emotion.

For those of you hollering to yourselves that I lack romanticism or traditional values, my response is (thank goodness for that!) that my practical brain simply is wired the way it’s wired. I have a name and it never dawned on me to shlep down to the DMV and change that name for anyone (not to mention change them on my credit cards, bank cards etc....Yawn). Furthermore, my name is not a signifier of my commitment to my husband or my marriage. That boils down to my profound feelings for him and my son, not my name. And lastly, I am a feminist. Any historical demand for me to take my husband’s name that is steeped in me being his property, well, you’re going to lose me and QUICKLY.

Friends of mine took each other’s last names and that always seemed like a nice compromise, not to mention a true representation of being one. ["Hey honey, let's both go down to the DMV. Fun day out!"] Especially if you're buying into that whole 'one' theory... Take the King, he has both our names, despite my husband’s protestations. In fact, the day my husband and I got married, which was after my son was born, he looked at me and asked if I was going to change my name now. He knew well enough that I was taking his statement as a hysterical joke. 'Ha ha ha, you’re so funny new husband, hence why I love you so much! Now go fetch me a drink.' 

So, for those of you still thinking I’m a jaded skeptic, feminist humbug, I ask you this… why did you take your husband’s name? Why did you drop yours?  Come on, really... 

 I totally get that some people simply have bad last names or they have counted down the days to get rid of their fathers' name… but my name, it simply fits. It rolls off the tongue, has a rhythmic quality to it and unless my husband’s last name was “I am a bad ass warrior of the earth, here to dazzle you,” it is very unlikely I will ever be referred to by any other moniker. Although, 'Anthea Black Coffee Please' has a nice ring to it. 

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