Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hyphen Nation

In our family, we all three carry the same hyphenated last name. This came about because when we were thinking about getting married, I told Jeff that I didn't want to change my name to his, but that I'd be willing to hyphenate. He decided that since it was important to him for us to have the same last name, he would also change his name to that hyphenated name. Of course once Vinny came along it made sense for him to share our family name too.

We are very unusual in our choice of last name. I know a few women who hyphenated their names, but I don't believe that I know any other men who changed their names upon marriage.

I decided to write about this here for two reasons. First, I saw this blog entry (and comments) and I thought it was interesting. Second, because when Jeff took Vinny to the dentist on Monday, the women at the dentist's office were amazed by his choice and lamenting their own husbands' lack of flexibility on the issue.

There are no perfect choices regarding the last name game. Everyone keeping their own names can feel fragmented, and what do you name the children? Changing to one party's original name can feel identity-erasing for the person who changes. Hyphenation is not scalable -- it works well right now, but what happens when Vinny meets someone by the name of Smith-Jones and falls in love?

Ultimately, it's up to the happy couple to choose the right option for themselves.

5 comments:

Pete said...

I'm anti hyphen, just expunge the worse name. Which I would say is based on
1. Less generic
2. Easy to pronounce
3. Not a first name
There are just too many bad names, its time for natural selection to be applied

hypoglycemiagirl said...

That's very cool. I already have a double last name (without hyphen) - one from each parent. If I ever get married I won't change it, it's too much a part of ME.

EcoGeoFemme said...

I know another couple who made the same choice as you. I think it's pretty cool.

Sally said...

My brother did the same thing when he got married last year. Of course I still have their address under his original last name in my address book, but I do manage to remember to use their new hyphenated name when I send them letters. I think it's really nice that they both got to keep their names AND take the other's name simultaneously.

Laura said...

I know a couple who each kept their names and gave their daughter a third name, just a random name they liked and thought had some meaning ("Walker"). Boy is that gonna mess with the genealogists in the future!