Monday, August 16, 2010

What's in a (sur)name?

I heard a short discussion on NPR about women's decisions to take or not take their husband's surname when they got married.  And this got me thinking about my own decision.

I personally do not think there is a right answer here. There are so many factors that go into this decision, that whatever a woman decides if fine. I think that age, career status, and cultural background all play important roles in this decision.

Ethnic alphabet soup

Pho. Yum. If that's what our names look like mixed together, I'll take it!
I like the idea of a unified family with one surname.  My geeky side likes the consistency and uniformity, and it makes it easier for filling out forms and such! But, it was also hard to give up my own last name. After all -- my maiden last name is Finnish (though people think it's Italian), and is extremely rare. Basically, anyone with that last name is in my immediate family, or no more distant than a second cousin.

At the same time, the hyphenation option is not something I was interested in. Finnish + Vietnamese surname hyphenation? No one can pronounce my maiden name. Few can pronounce my husband's name. Why would I concatenate them? Gah!

Keeping my name, but not

What to do, what to do. So... I took my maiden name as my middle name. While this meant I lost my given middle name, I figured that I know my given middle name, so that's fine if the legal world deletes it. Whenever I feel like writing out my full name including my maiden-now-middle name, I can. Otherwise, I can just go with my married name.

Meet the parents

I had figured out most of this plan before meeting my father-in-law to-be in early 1997. I admit, I was a bit nervous. Would he like me? Would he only speak in Vietnamese? Would he gasp and say "No, son!  You may not marry this white girl!"

Fortunately, he was very kind.

However, the first question he asked me was "Are you going to take his name?"

"Yes" I replied.

It was the right answer. It's good to start off on the right foot with your in-laws.
 
Did you take your husband's name?  What lead to your decision?

To-the-TOP Tuesday

4 comments:

Booyah's Momma said...

I did the same thing in taking my maiden name as my middle name. I use my full name for business purposes, but just the last name everywhere else. My husband actually did the same thing, which I was kind of touched by... it was a nice way to incorporate both of our family names but avoid having a last name that wasn't 20 letters long!

Melissa B. said...

I went by my maiden name until the kids came along. I don't really remember all the details, but I went with Hubby's last name because I didn't want to confuse the girls. Now I'm not so sure. SITS sent me by, and I'm glad they did!

Seeing Red

Rachel M. said...

Wow that must have been very important to your father in law, or maybe he was more concerned about future grandkids having his name. I've been to Vietnam, didn't know it was so set on family names. Korea is different, women keep their last name.

My boss is from Colombia, his wife from Venezuela and in her country women keep their last name. She tried it here but it got so complicated with school forms and such that she finally just took his name.

I liked my husband's name better than mine so I took it.

jensays (whatwouldjendo) said...

hello to you my fellow zombie lover! i don't think many people appreciate my wedding photo being turned into wedding of the living dead.

i took my husbands last name. it was a very hard decision for me because i had my maiden name for 33 years. my maiden name was Smith. it was easy to blend in and googling me was next to impossible. so i took his name.
i probably wouldn't have or would have put it off longer but two months after we got married my license was up for renewal. i felt that would be a good time to decide what i wanted to do and i ended up taking his last name
his last name is Japanese. which makes the whole thing kind of fun.

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