Friday, 5 September 2008

ABC 123 Baby You And Me Girl - Part 4

Wedding Recap A - D
Wedding Recap E - H
Wedding Recap I - K

Last Name: I am keeping my last name. This created some tension between me and Shawn. Shawn's argument for why I should change my name was that it's "what people do." He's a "traditional guy" and thus expects his wife to have the same last name as him. He feels like getting married makes us a "family" and how can we be a family with different last names?

My response?

When do I ever do anything because it's "what people do?"
Define "traditional" - is it traditional that we lived together for over two years before getting married? You can't play the traditional card only when it's convenient to you.
If having the same last name is so important to you, why don't you take my last name? Or why don't we blend our names together? Or come up with a whole new last name (like Kickass. Hi, I'm Hillary Kickass and this is my husband, Shawn Kickass.)

Here's the thing, I don't see the point in changing my last name. It doesn't make me any more married to Shawn, it doesn't mean I love him more than if I don't change my name, it doesn't make our marriage more likely to last. I feel like it's an antiquated ritual that holds no importance in my life. This is also why I didn't have my father walk me down the aisle and "give me away" - I had both parents walk me down the aisle and there was no "who gives this woman to this man" stuff when we reached the end.

Besides all that, I actually like my name. My last name is not common - I have never met another person (not related to me) with the same name. It's unique, it goes well with my first name, and it's mine. My identity is not determined by my name but I feel (perhaps irrationally) that changing my name somehow changes my identity.

If Shawn could come up with an argument more compelling than "it's what everyone else does," I would consider it. He hasn't though, so the situation remains the same. My perception of the situation is that Shawn feels like I should have his last name because that is what society expects. Shawn's perception of the situation is that I'm not changing my last name because I'm stubborn and I feel like I shouldn't have to change my name if he's not.

We've reached a ceasefire. Shawn can't force me to take his name. I can't force him to understand my view. It's not an ongoing argument, it's just one of those "agree to disagree" scenarios. I'm not militant about my choice - people have referred to me as "Mrs. Shawn's last name" and it doesn't bother me at all. I'm just not legally changing my name.

The only argument I heard that made sense to me was from a friend. She took her husband's last name so that she would have the same last name as her children. If we ever have kids, I could see myself changing my name to match theirs. That's the beauty of it though, I don't need to decide right now. There's no rule that says that I can't change my name later if that's what I decide.

Disclaimer: I just want to clarify that when I say things like "it's an antiquated ritual that holds no importance," I'm not judging other people who choose a different path than mine. When I mock heart-shaped whisks or say that I didn't want my father to "give me away," I'm just saying that those things aren't right for me. I don't want to offend anyone with my babbling, so if I've worded something harshly or come across as a moody cow, I apologize. Variety is the spice of life and I fully support everyone's right to choose what is right for them.


  1. I too have an awesome and unique last name, so unless I marry a guy with a better last name (which is highly unlikely), I'm keeping my own.

  2. I think it's fine to keep your own last name. It's YOUR name, afterall. I could see the child argument, though. Personally, I don't mind giving mine up, however I see nothing wrong with women wanting to keep theirs.

  3. If I got married I would only marry up. Meaning a guy with a better last name than mine. I don't like my last name - it's misspelled and mispronounced all the time, oh and easily made fun of.

    If Shaun wanted a traditional girl who does traditional things he should have married someone who'd given out heart-shaped whisks as a favor. Favour, for you Canadians.

    Tell him, "Shut up, at least I wore a white wedding dress. I could have work black. Or red."

    My cousin made her maiden name her middle name and took her husband's last name as hers. When you have kids you could always do that.

  4. that is definitely a great argument for keeping your name. i don't really see what shawn could say against that, haha. i'm still torn on the idea for when i eventually marry, but your argument works quite well.

  5. I plan to keep my name too - for the reasons you mentioned, and also because I feel like it ties me to my family's history in an important way. The name is inscribed on a monument dedicated to the founders of Lunenburg, for heaven's sake. My likely future husband's last name was made up by U.S. Immigration in the 1930's. I say the additional 200 or so years of history mean I win. (Fortunately, he agrees with me.)

  6. I always planned to change my name when I got married because I see it as a sign of unity. I also want to have the same last name as my children.

    I also wanted to stop being called a "moron" ;)

    If people don't want to change their name, I do see it as a big deal. You do what works for you.

    As for changing it later? I had a work friend who did just that after they had kids. It doesn't have to be done now. Or ever. Whatever works, yo.

  7. And *this* is why I love reading your blog. Although I plan to take Sweets last name, he has thankfully given me plenty of room to do what's best for me. He really doesn't care if we have the last name or not.

  8. Go you! It's your name, it should be your decision what to do with it (if anything).

    We are a "new last name" couple; we made up a new last name that combined letters from our original last names. It's a real last name and it's one we like, and you can tell it comes from both of our original last names. We both wanted the same name, but neither one liked the other's name enough to switch to that one, so we compromised. And it was his idea!

  9. My Dad only has sisters, I only have sisters. So our name is effectively dying out with this generation. I've been trying to convince my boyfriend he should change his name, but he would feel silly having to have a 'maiden name'.
    I want to have the same name as my kids, so I spose I'll change. But I really do think it's a silly tradition, and don't see why the dude gets to keep his name.

    mle - that's awesome! Maybe I'll try that tactic!

  10. I kept my name. I told my husband 14 years ago that I would keep it and I did. We were married 9 years ago.

    It does cause some problems... Like people not really thinking my kids are my kids and such, but they can just learn to live with it.

    My husband actually doesn't mind.

  11. i kept mine too. my feeling is i've been this person w/ this name for 31 years...doesn't change bc i got married.

  12. I've decided that I no longer think Shawn's last name is Lohan. I'm pretty sure it's Rodham-Clinton. So, good luck with that when you have kids :)

    P.S. She spells it with 2 L's, too so you're all set.

  13. I changed my name and have been the only one of my CDN friends who did so I'd argue that I'm the one being an individual :) Seriously though, I am the only one of all my girlfriends who did, it's not common in Canada anymore.

    Having the same last name as my kids is very important to me, but as you said, you can always change it later. I know other women who have done that with the arrival of baby #1.

  14. you could hyphenate your kids' last names...i had this dilemma in reverse when i divorced my first husband. i wanted to go back to my maiden name, but wanted to be the same as my kids. now i have a different last name - and it's got its own issues. i have to explain who my kids are - and then people instantly know i was divorced and probably remarried. all in an introduction...

    keep your name professionally, but i urge you to consider shawn's request. it sounds like this is important to him. his reasons might not be good, but he wants people to know the 2 of you are Committed and not just committed - if that makes sense.

    whatever you choose is highly personal... there is no wrong answer.

  15. I will keep my last name for similar reasons. It's very important for me, even though I can see it being very important for others to change their last names.
    It's funny, when my parents split up and my mom went back to her maiden name, it was totally not a big thing. I think because so many women here keep their maiden names, even when they have kids and stuff, that my mom rarely, if ever, had to explain we were her kids.
    Although Sam and I plan on NEVER getting married, if I were to take his last name, I'd hyphenate. But only because it would make my initials MEGS :D

  16. I totally agree with you here, and it's nice to hear from more people who thinkthis way. Just gotta say though... if you want the same name as your kids, why not give them your last name?

    Just a thought.

  17. Georgia: Ha, I love it. My last name is so much better than Shawn's. It's totally one of the reasons I'm keeping mine (just don't tell him - his last name kind of sucks.)

    Lauren: I feel the same way - I don't care what other women do, I just want the freedom to choose what I want.

    Green: Ha, exactly! When we were having the "traditional" argument, I was all "You want traditional or you want me. Either or."

    Katelin: I know, right? He can't argue it. My points are so much better than his :)

    Jane: You totally win.

    Angella: Exactly - I'm not saying I'll NEVER change my name. There's no deadline.

    Nilsa: Thank you!

    MLE: You seriously rock. The combined name? AWESOME! I absolutely would have done that but Shawn was against it. Because he didn't want to change his name (seriously!)

    Jenn: I think it's silly too. I mean, I understand why it used to be important but seeing as I don't view myself as property that's being transferred from my father to my husband, I don't see how it applies to my life. That sounds harsher than I want it to, but that's how it boils down for me.

    Bridge: Yes! People can learn to live with it! That is exactly my view on it.

    Meesh: Exactly. I felt like changing my name would be like changing myself. And I don't want to change just because I'm married.

    Over-Thinker: I am shaking my fist at you right now.

    Trish: I understand why it's important to have the same last name as your kids. That's really the only scenario I could think of that would make me want to change my name.

    Jess: I have a 3-syllable last name. Shawn's is 2 syllables. If we hyphenate, our kids will have a 5-syllable last name. I can't do it to them!

    Meg: That's awesome :)

    Doahleigh: The hypothetical children will have Shawn's last name to make life easier. I can't imagine it would be very easy for him to pick the hypothetical kids up from school (or wherever) if he had a different last name than them. I think it would be easier for me because I have lady bits and Shawn has man bits and maybe that's not right but that's society.