It’s one thing for a woman to stick with her ex husband’s name because of the paperwork or being “used to it,” but it’s a whole other thing when a woman keeps the name when she gets remarried. As odd as that may sound, my homegirl told me how her mother hyphenated her name when she got remarried but not with her maiden name but her ex-husband’s surname, which she went by when she met the man that proposed to her. Why, pray tell? Because she liked how her ex’s name sounded.
So many thoughts ran through my head when I heard that: What did her new husband say when she told him? How do you start that convo? Whose name would any of their future kids carry? But really, who does that? Well, I guess she does but I don’t know how I’d feel if my future Mrs. Socks On wanted to be Mrs. Ex-Husband’s-Name-With Socks On. See, that just doesn’t sound right.
It’s just as bad as what Kim Kardashian’s mother Kris was trying to do on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians I saw the other day. Since the Kardashian had gotten so popular, Kris wanted to drop the name of her current husband, Bruce Jenner, and go back to her ex-husband’s surname because it was a “better” brand.
Bruce didn’t directly object but he was obviously hurt. It was like Kris was saying that his Olympic-gold-winning name wasn’t good enough for her anymore. That she’d rather be associated with her ex than the man she claims to love now. That’s pretty darn emasculating when you think about it. I’m sure Bruce already feels like he’s forever in Rob Kardashian Sr.’s shadow since he passed in 2003. Those feelings would only be amplified if Kris were to rescind ownership of his name. Fortunately, the Kardashian girls talked some sense into their mother and the Kris Jenner name remains intact.
All this may seem silly to some but traditionally speaking your family name means a lot—especially to a man. I’m not saying it’s fair or right that a woman has (chooses) to give up her surname when getting married but I’m sure we can agree it’s the norm—right or wrong.
If my future wife wanted to hyphenate I really wouldn’t care; it’s likely a conversation we would have had long before we said “I do.” But if she was previously married and wanted to keep that dude’s name in the mix she’d get some serious side-eye from me. That would just be a constant reminder of another man every time I saw my wife’s name like he’d somehow still have ownership over her heart. Or maybe it wouldn’t be that serious because people would assume it’s her maiden name and there wouldn’t be any questions about the hyphen, but still deep down inside a man would have to feel some kind of way about his wife carrying another man’s name.
It’s not like in Kris’ case where her decision was based on “branding” because as a writer I understand how important a name is to your career, but if, for instance, a woman just likes Tiffany Mack (her ex-husband’s surname name) over Tiffany Buford (her maiden name) and wanted to add Buford alongside mine or just keep hers professionally I’d understand. But to just arbitrarily have Mack in our mix, that wouldn’t jive well with me or at least I don’t think so. I guess I’d just have to be in the situation to know for real but it’s definitely something to think about.
Do you think a woman should follow tradition and automatically give up her maiden name when getting married? Is that tradition sexist? How many men would be cool with their wife not taking their last name? Would the same apply if she wanted to keep the last name of her ex-husband? Would you see that as a sign that she’s not over her ex? Would a woman see her new husband as “weak” if he didn’t fight for her to have his last name? Should a person’s last name matter as long as they’re in love with their spouse? Is a woman not taking her husband’s last name a valid reason for calling off the wedding? How many men would take their wife’s last name?
Speak your piece…
REMINDER: The Official NWSO 3rd Anniversary Party is TOMORROW!!! Wednesday, August 10, 2011. CLICK HERE for details and I’ll see you there.