Friday, May 29, 2009

What Power a Name

In my job I encounter people with the strangest names. Names that if I had them I would change in a heartbeat. Yet these people don't. I can only imagine what life would have been like in school.

It makes me think about the power of names. Fathers hope their sons will "carry on the family name."

And yet we expect women to change theirs when they get married. And then, they keep that name after divorce--in many cases because they want to keep the same name as their children, but even women without kids keep their married name after a marriage is over. And then there are women who have children out of wedlock and still give the kid the dad's last name. Is a name of less importance to a woman?

How do girls, who presumably expect to get married someday and change their last name, view their last name? Like a temporary tattoo? A hairstyle?

What say you?


Lee said...

What say you? Or me? Yeah, i think you mean the latter. I don't say, i remain skeptical.

Rob said...

Ben, you are so weird.

Remain skeptical about what?

Sunrise said...

I was relieved, because nobody ever knew how to pronounce "Doughty". Even those bearing the name.

Girls just pray they'll get a last name that sounds good with their first. I was a little disappointed to retain my double (now triple) initial, though.

Then you have the feminists who hyphenate. But that just gets confusing.

4girlz said...

I don't want to change my name, 'cause I doubt I'll ever get one that sounds better than 'Charlene Rae Swanson'. :(

Rob said...

Lynette's cousin cut n' pasted their married name. His was Nelson, her's was something, and now they're Nelthing (okay, I don't remember the actual name).

On the one hand, it's a clever compromise; on the other some names just don't combine well (Dawn could be DaDo I suppose).

I wonder if that would cause family identity problems?

Though, in my brother-in-law's culture, the children's last name is the Dad's first name, which from a geneological standpoint could make things easy, provided unique names are used (or all the Johns would think they're related.)

Sunrise said...

What culture is that? I know in Iceland they still use the dad's name + "son" or "daughter". Works well if you live in a small population, I guess.

Rob said...


sherlock said...


DOUGHTY?! DOUGHTY?! Sorry, that just caught me off guard.

Wells. It is a slimey last name. Wells. With the way I talk (all my words rushing together and mumbled in haste and stuffiness), it sounds like "llws". Josiah Llws. Ugh.

4girlz said...