It’s been a long time since a man was thought to own a woman, yet many of the traditions remain: offering the woman an engagement ring, asking for the father’s blessing, and the big one – taking the man’s name.
Personally, I never gave it much thought. Just like I vowed to love, honour and obey, I was always going to take his name. It probably helps that mine was a bit crap to begin with. Not literally Abitcrap (as a few people have thought I meant)… although that would be an interesting last name. No, it was just difficult. It was hard to spell, to pronounce, a consistent source of irritation.
I have to admit there was never a day in my whole life I actually planned on keeping my maiden name. Even when I didn’t ever plan on getting married. Plus it was never really mine anyway – it was my father’s name. He never seemed too fussed with it either. He always wanted a daughter, was never a “carry on the family name, son, rah rah” kind of guy.
So when people asked me if I would be keeping my name, I have to say it just never occurred to me to do that.
Don’t get me wrong, I am the daughter of a feminist. She’s so feminist she kept her name. Which only served to compound my laissez faire attitude to my name in the first place. Sure, it was the name of my father, and of my brother, but I never had the same name as my mother. Not most of the time anyway (technically I believe her passport is in my father’s last name).
I know choosing to keep or give up your name is a source of contention, although not quite as big a source as saying ‘obey’ in your wedding vows, as I unwittingly stumbled upon at a recent dinner party, but for me it was never an issue.
We could argue about it all day – does it matter if you have the same name as your kids? Why doesn’t the man take the women’s name? What about hyphenating?
What it comes down to is you. Your preference. So tell me – what did you do? What’s in a name?
Photo: Rose taken in my garden