Friday, January 29, 2010

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

-Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

I'm originally from the south and most Southern women seem to change their last name to their husband's last name when they get married. I guess while I was growing up, I used to assume I would too, but somewhere along the way I met a couple of women who did not do this, and that opened my mind up to the idea. And I started considering it. As. An. Actual. Possibility. And I realized that I liked the idea, one reason being that my given last name basically disappears from our family lineage with me. And I like my given last name; it's a little long on forms, but I am proud of it. And I also like my husband's last name which is even more unique than mine. And it has a fun French accent.


It wasn't even an option for me to take his last name as my own. A lot of people I know assumed I would take his name, and that's cool, because I love his last name, and we got some checks and stuff addressed to us as Mr. and Mrs. HisLastName. But...
Québec law does not allow anyone to have a name change with marriage. Since 1981. Radical, huh?

So I have decided to have my cake and eat a little of it too. What's wrong with celebrating both of our last names and our family heritages coming together? My Matron of Honor gave me beautiful stationary with the initial of his last name as a birthday gift to me a few months before the wedding, and even though it is not my legal reality, I still love it. And I also bought myself a monogrammed plate with "our" (unofficial) initials shortly before the wedding. S was
completely perplexed by this since the idea of women taking the husband's last name is truly foreign to him, but I got a kick out of it. And I guess it wasn't too crazy. I mean, the plate ended up being almost free (because its purchase eliminated the shipping costs on another purchase I had to make) and we used it at the wedding soirée to serve food, so it was even practical. See how good I am at justifying a bizarre purchase prompted by my roots and early concepts of marriage traditions?

Yeah. Names are linked to identity in complicated ways. So, thanks to Québec law, the choice was
easy non-existent.

S has a great last name. And I do too. No need to "doff thy name."

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