Turn in your man card

Would you take on your wife’s last name?

  • I already have.
  • Me man! Hell no!

0 voters

[quote]The newlyweds knew it would be surprising, but they never expected it to go quite so badly.
As Donna and Mike entered their wedding reception, an unwitting announcer told the expectant crowd, “Ladies and gentleman, put your hands together for the new Mr. and Mrs. Salinger!”

Some guests clapped, some chuckled at what they presumed was a joke and most looked at one another in confusion. The couple spent the entire reception and some of their honeymoon explaining to people what they had done.

The groom, you see, had started his day as Mike Davis and ended it by doing something precious few of his brothers-in-arms do: He took his wife’s last name instead of her taking his.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it would have caused as much of a stir as it did,” says Mike Salinger, 27, of Seattle, who was married in November. "We knew people might be surprised, but we figured they’d say ‘Huh’ and get on with it.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Mike | Antonio Villaraigosa | Diana Bijon | Michael Buday | Ric Francis
“Three months later, I’m still taking (flak) from one of my college roommates.”

Breaking with the ‘norm’

The Salingers broke a patriarchal tradition so ingrained in American society that many women’s studies researchers have yet to study it.

“I’m sure somewhere there’s some anthropologist or someone who has looked at this, but I don’t know of any,” says Nancy Lutkehaus, chair of the Gender Studies program at the University of Southern California. “It hasn’t been a large enough social phenomenon that it’s hit the radar as something to be studied.”

That may be coming. The California Legislature is set to consider a bill this month that would allow men to change their surnames upon marriage as seamlessly as women now can. Only seven states now allow a man who wishes to alter his name after his wedding to do so without going through the laborious, frequently expensive legal process set out by the courts for any name change. Women don’t have to do so.

The bill is co-sponsored by the ACLU of California as a follow-up to a federal lawsuit the civil rights group filed in December on behalf of Michael Buday, a Los Angeles man who wants to take on his wife’s surname, Bijon, to show his affinity for his father-in-law. He accuses the state of gender discrimination for forcing him into the more complex process.

“We have the perfect marriage application for the 17th century,” says ACLU attorney Mark Rosenbaum, who is litigating the case. Buday did not respond to requests for an interview. “Every place Michael went, he had the door shut in his face or he was ridiculed.”

Mike Salinger, who said it cost him about $350 to change his name legally, concedes he changed his name “because I’m a big ole granola liberal and I wanted to tweak the tradition while showing my wife I love her.”

The ‘hyphenating’ option

But his and Buday’s approach is only one, and perhaps the boldest, possible variation. A more frequent — if not common — occurrence, wedding consultant Sharon Naylor says, is for both members of a couple to take on both last names.

“I’m seeing men and women discussing the possibility of hyphenating their names together more than I did before because both have a vested interest in keeping the last name they’ve built their careers under,” says Naylor, a New Jersey-based author of 32 books on weddings. "If the groom is considering it, there’s always a concern of ‘What will the people think at the office? What will my father think?’ "

Christopher Sclafani and Jeannie Rhee avoided the wedding-night scene the Salingers endured by instructing their deejay not to introduce them with their last names, but their decision to take on both names without a hyphen caused other problems. The new Christopher Sclafani Rhee was immediately and persistently called Mr. Rhee, which most people assumed was his whole last name.

“People could not handle the idea that a man had a two-part last name,” says the 34-year-old Washington, D.C., lawyer. “The first couple of months were incredibly jarring. Then we realized both are hard names to spell and to explain, so I just accepted this (Rhee) as my new last name.”

‘Turn in your man card’

Sam Van Hallgren, 32, co-host of the movie-review podcast Filmspotting, had to explain himself not just to his listeners but even to his co-host, Adam Kempenaar. Kempenaar was caught by surprise the first time Van Hallgren introduced himself at the top of their show with his new name. Van Hallgren was formerly Sam Hallgren until he wed Carrie Van Deest in August and they both took on the new, combined names.

Van Hallgren received a scathing note from a longtime listener with a subject line that read, “Sam, turn in your man card.” The listener asked what “sissy juice” the host was drinking.

The Van Hallgrens, who live in Milwaukee, say they did it for their future children. The idea of merging names, which Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also did when the former Antonio Villar wed the former Corina Raigosa in 1987, started out for Sam and Carrie as a joke. Then, while talking with a friend who was surprised Carrie would take Sam’s name, Sam first uttered the merged version and they both liked it.

“I feared that people would think I did it to suggest more people should do it,” he says. “But I didn’t. It just made sense for us.”[/quote]

Well I am personally very attached to my last name so I wouldn’t change it, but I wouldn’t care if my wife chose to keep her name as well.

Here in Taiwan, on my ARC and all other official documents, I am known as _________ (wife’s surname) _______ _______ (my Chinese name).

Just easier. For me, that is.

Does that mean I’m not a man anymore? :s

True story: White guy named Greg comes to Taiwan. Picks a Chinese name. Since Chinese are so superstitious, he decides to tweak them by adopting the name “Gui Gou” (Ghost Dog).

So Greg gets married to a local lass. They have a baby, and decide to give it the mother’s Chinese surname (since the father obviously doesn’t have one).

But the government clerk objects that they would need the legal permission of her father and brothers, since this would give the baby rights over the mother’s family’s inheritance (or something). Clerk gives Greg the choice of giving the baby either the surname Ghost, or the surname Dog.

(Not to worry, he took the opportunity to change his own name.)

I’ve heard about this story. And I think people are fucked up to make such a big deal about it. I can see many reasons why a man would want to take her name and even more as to why she wouldn’t want to give her name up.

This is a bit of an issue in my family. Me and my brother are the last people to carry our surname (My dad was an only child and my great uncles only had daughters). My older brother and his wife recently had a baby and the baby took a hyphenated version of both familes names. This has pissed my dad off somewhat. He also knows that I’m probably going to marry in the next year or so and I’m more likely than not to take my wife’s surname for TW purposes.

Personally I don’t see it as a problem, but you know these traditionalists…

[quote=“The Count”]This is a bit of an issue in my family. Me and my brother are the last people to carry our surname (My dad was an only child and my great uncles only had daughters). My older brother and his wife recently had a baby and the baby took a hyphenated version of both familes names. This has pissed my dad off somewhat. He also knows that I’m probably going to marry in the next year or so and I’m more likely than not to take my wife’s surname for TW purposes.

Personally I don’t see it as a problem, but you know these traditionalists…[/quote]

Just use Dracula on Western documentation, and don’t tell him about the extra Chinese surname on the side. :idunno:

Turn in your man card and exchange it for a metro card.

Personally, I wouldn’t give up my surname because I greatly value my connection to my own family. I wouldn’t even give up my Chinese surname because I feel it is part of my past. But the name is just a symbol and if you value something else more (like being accepted in your new family, or making a political statement), then go ahead.

But there are surely a lot of people who will not see things from your point of view.

(once again, my use of “you” refers to no particular person-- just a generic “you”)

I wouldn’t do it, not because I’m sexist but because:
(a) I like my name and don’t want to give it up,
(b) If my wife doesn’t want to change her name that’s ok, I don’t care,
© The man retaining his name is a deeply engrained custom and doesn’t mean that I’m sexist to go along with it,
(d) I believe there are more important gender and equality issues than this – if I really wanted to commit myself to helping women improve their status I’d work on those other issues instead,
(e) I don’t want to deal with endless gossip, questions, funny looks, bureaucratic hassles, etc. from changing my name,
(f) maybe I’d put up with (e) if I felt really strongly in favor of changing my name but I don’t.

Incidentally, we have family friends who, when they got married he changed his surname to his mother-in-law’s maiden name, and she changed her surname to his mother-in-law’s maiden name. Now that’s weird. But they had other issues too, including being members of cult for a number of years.

I took my wife’s name when I married her, and it is the name on all my official Chinese documents. I continue to use my name for all things English. My daughter has two official unrelated surnames, mine and my wife’s. My wife uses my name for all things English. It’s a good solution, I think.

Where I come from you can call yourself what you like, proving it is another matter. John Major’s brother’s name is Ball, and their father’s name is Major-Ball.

My sisters changed their surnames when they divorced. I’ve changed my given names, but I didn’t bother changing it on anything official.

I thought about it for a while. I have no real connections to my father aside from the 23 chromosomes he “donated” to my mother and a few viral e-mails he keeps sending me. But since I plan making a name for myself (hopefully in children’s literature and/or education) and I am nostalgic, I’d like to keep the name that most people know me by. Of course, it would be nice to have a last name that was a different length of my first name. My name is just a little too short for my liking.

I would not expect my husband to take on my name. Since my own last name has no real connections to who I am, nor do I have any affection for the family that shares my name, I can’t see why he’d want to take it on. I’d think about adding his name to mine, but I take pride in my middle name as it is my grandmother’s first name so my name would be four names long.

And I am not at all interested in hyphenated names. Hyphens are already overused in writing as it is and it looks a little pretentious in someone’s name.

I’m disappointed that my mother took on my stepfather’s name because I gave her the grandma name of “Nana B” and now she has no special grandmother name because “Nana F” sounds silly. She kept her maiden name for the first 33 years of her life. Then she paid the extra money to get her maiden name back after divorcing her evil demon-spawn of an ex-husband, only to give it up again for my stepdad, who’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, but now she’s not Nana B. :frowning:

I have considered taking on my mother’s maiden name. My older brother has her maiden name.

Sorry… back on topic
If a man wants to change his name to his wife’s, I say, why the hell not? If the institution of marriage no longer means that the woman belongs to the man and his family, then why is it such a big deal about the man wanting to do what was perfectly fine for a woman to do? People who have issues with a man changing his name, probably have other issues to deal with as well… starting with minding their own damn business.

I’ve done the same thing. I also think it’s a good solution.

Only reason I didn’t take my wife’s name is because that would’ve meant having my father-in-law’s name.And I hate that idea----he abuses his family.Otherwise,I would have.

Oh,nice to see you again,Maoman. :slight_smile: :bravo: And you too,Bismarck :wink:

Well my father in law is also a piece of work. However, my Chinese name used to be 史若迪 (Shi3Ro4Di2) which, other than the transliteration of my name has no meaning or any significance to my son. Changing my name to 甘若迪 (Gan1Ro4Di2), his mother’s family name, at least gives him a link to his Chinese family in that it actually has relevance. Also, I didn’t want to go running around with a different family name from my son and wife.
Suppose it depends what you feel comfortable with. In English he will have my name (as does my wife) so I thinkj it works well and is a good compromise.