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Last names

Yesterday my husband and I received a wedding invitation in the mail to Mr and Mrs Us. Since we don't have the same last name, I was a little annoyed. OK, so I'm never really a little annoyed - I was downright cranky about it. In this day and age, I wondered aloud, how can a woman not bother to find out who she's addressing things to? (I know it was the bride who sent these out because I know the groom and he's probably avoiding this stuff like the plague.)

My husband took issue with my annoyance. His intrepretation of my annoyance was that I don't want to be identified with his last name. It's really not that at all, and thankfully after my explanation, he understands why I get upset at the assumption that because we're married I must have his last name.

Basically, my position is that changing a womans last name on marriage is a vestige of a strongly patriarchal system. I have no problem with people who do change their names either way, my problem is with the assumption. Making the assumption that a woman has changed her name upon marriage allows the patriarchy to continue to exist, where asking allows that there are other options that are also acceptable. I strongly believe that by letting the little assumptions slide, it's harder to tackle the big ones. It's only by questioning the small everyday assumptions that allow change and equality to come in. Social revolution is hard and takes changing the way people think. This can only be done by not letting those assumptions slide. Some day gender won't be an issue in life choices. Educating people in last name choice is a small contribution I can make every day.

This rant brought to you by silly friends who should know better, fear by gender and naming conventions.
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Where are you on hyphenated names?

If you're being sarcastic - :P

Otherwise, I just don't care. It's not my name. If someone wants to use a symbol, a live animal, whatever, it's none of my business. But if it's hard to pronounce, give me time to learn it. :)

Nah, just curious. My sister ended up hyphenating hers when she got married, which I hadn't really expected (though I don't recall that the discussion had ever come up).

I thought about hypenating for a while, but since my husband wouldn't, I didn't go for it. I figured if I was going to give up my name to take on part of his, he could do the same for me. He didn't go for it. :P So we each stuck with our own and we're happier this way.

But really, that's just me. And for me, the biggest part is being able to choose what works for you and not get hassled about it or have to explain it. There are so many permutations of last names that choosing one is almost becoming ridiculous.

I agree. I'm woman who took my husbands name because shedding a 13-letter Polish last name just made perfect sense. My husband would have done the same if his name was listed, often columns if not pages deep, in every phone book in the USA (and certainly in Poland). On the other hand his name is truely unique. Only a handful of Americans have it and we are related to most of them. Plus it's really easy to say. That's a hard name combo to beat.
However, I don't use the term Mrs. and I hate being addressed as Mrs. HISNAME LASTNAME. grrrrrrrrrrrrr.


When people ask for my mailing address, I state this, planely with language like, "Please use MR. & MS. LASTNAME as our formal address, we have an aversion to the MR. & MRS. HISNAME LASTNAME address format."

So I don't give people the chance to assume. If they want to know where they can mail me stuff, then they will also learn how I wish my name to appear on the mail. That way they don't have to ask twice, and they can be alone with this food for thought.

You know, I think that's what irks me most about this one. They never bothered to ask. I even send out my Christmas letter with MY name on the return address, lastname and all. If they'd looked... Sheesh.

Depending on how irked you feel, and who these people are most closely related to (you or your husband)...you should mention it. It does no good to anyone to be irked and not let them know why...and it could be a really simple thing.

"We got your beautiful invitation, we plan on being at your wedding (or not). I wanted to let you know that there was a mistake on the outside carrier envelope. Somehow the mail was addressed to MR. & MRS. US, I just wanted to let you know that I never took my husbands name and we like using both of our names for such things. So if there are place cards, or if we're on your holiday card list, I just wanted to let you know. I know, not everyone gets how we do things, I just hope you'll respect my wishes for what I want to be called."

I just would try to not sound angry or hurt or pissed, but rather just point out that you noticed it, it matters to you, and you hope that they will respect that. After all, the subtext reads: "Make the change if you want a nice wedding gift." :P

Nice! I'm going to correct it on the reply card as a first step, and then do some smacking (sine I know the guy fairly well). I just wish this didn't have to be a one on one conversation every danged time.

Try explaining what your maiden name is when it's the same, but it's also the same as your husband's name.

No, I didn't marry my brother.

Yes, men can have name changes, too.

No, I didn't force him.

Never thought much on that aspect of the male name change. Interesting...so what's the male version of a maiden name? I guess just his 'birth' name. Huh...I think I might start using that...my old last name was my 'birth' name, now I use my married name.

Just do away entirely with the term maiden name. Seems fair.

Or you could call it a bachelor name. That would make it even.

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