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Deciding on last names when you get married (Page 2)
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Judge_Fire
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Dec 25, 2009, 04:40 PM
 
Quite a few of my friends have actually chosen a new family name altogether when getting married. Finnish law doesn't allow you to change your last name to just anything, but names from the family lineages can freely be used. This has resulted in a number of interesting, old and sometimes plain freaky names being resurrected from ancient times.

And this way, they go through the pain of getting new credit cards etc. together. Very egalitarian and Nordic
     
iMOTOR
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Dec 26, 2009, 12:15 AM
 
I feel like we’ve had this discussion before.
     
CRASH HARDDRIVE
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Dec 27, 2009, 04:43 PM
 
I love that my wife was happy to take my name. I sometimes kid her by calling her "Mrs. Crash Harddrive" or simply "Mrs. Me".

Even though she has her own successful career, I think she'd be the first to call it laughable that changing her name would have harmed her career in any way. It hasn't, and was never an issue- in fact, she's always told me that, if anything, it was a net gain career-wise . And I confess, for me, it's a cool sign that she's not somehow afraid to display to every other guy in her office, beyond all shadow of doubt, to back off, she's taken.

Whatever other people choose to do is their own choice, but for us, her taking my name was never an issue.

I have to say that the wife keeping her name seems fine to me, or both people changing their names altogether. But I must confess, the idea of the husband taking his wife's name has always struck me as "Oh, you're just trying too hard to be different."

I admit, right or wrong, a social bias towards it too- it would never have been an option for us. First off, I know that as cool people as they are, even my wife's parents (she's a Finnish native by the way, and her parents live in Finland) would look at us funny if I had taken her name, sort of like, "What kind of man are you that you didn't give our daughter your name, and took ours for yourself?" I doubt they'd say it out loud, but I know they'd be thinking it, and I wouldn't blame them. My own parents would probably be bemused by the whole idea, but still be thinking to themselves it was a little 'wimpy' perhaps. Again, all of this right or wrong, but there you have it.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Dec 27, 2009, 05:00 PM
 
I appreciate your candid and honest assessment Crash. It also confirms my suspicion that there is a wimpy factor.

However, that being said, without trying to clobber what you just wrote or center you out in any way, the idea that taking a wife's last name is "wimpy" is pretty backwards. Just why is it a sign of manliness to have a woman take your last name?

I think this is one of those traditions that has just sort of hung around even though it is completely arbitrary in today's day and age.
     
CRASH HARDDRIVE
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Dec 27, 2009, 05:23 PM
 
I suppose it is just traditional, and really just arbitrary. It's only from a view point of social tradition that there's anything 'wimpy', about it, absolutely true.

I can even see where it makes total sense for a husband to take the wife's name- in my case for example, my wife has only sisters, no brothers, and no blood relatives with the same name. Her family name ends with her generation. The end.

While it didn't fall directly to us -rather a younger sister- it could have been our choice to extend her family name, rather than mine which has already been extended by my brother's son. Her younger sister chose her husband's name as well, so that's that, and really her family isn't over sentimental about their name anyway.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Dec 27, 2009, 05:34 PM
 
Is there anybody here that disagrees with the notion of the tradition being arbitrary?
     
ghporter
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Dec 27, 2009, 06:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Is there anybody here that disagrees with the notion of the tradition being arbitrary?
Probably not. The patrilineal last name tradition has some advantages for genealogists, (talk to a genealogist about Iceland some time...), but it's simply a way to identify the joining of a particular woman to a man's family line. There's nothing mystical about it. Although I will say that I was (and continue to be) touched when my wife chose to take my name.

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Chuckit
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Dec 27, 2009, 06:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Is there anybody here that disagrees with the notion of the tradition being arbitrary?
No. I'm just saying that most traditions are arbitrary. That doesn't change the fact that, whether there was a good rational basis for them in the beginning, they're part of our culture now, and it's easier to follow than to defy. That in itself is a rational basis for following them. You asked why more people don't do it the other way round, and that's the reason. There usually isn't enough benefit to offset the cost of going against the grain.

Being arbitrary isn't even necessarily a bad thing — if we had to decide rationally every little detail of everything we do, we'd be paralyzed. Tradition and habit give us reasonable defaults to take the burden of making a decision off our shoulders.
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besson3c  (op)
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Dec 27, 2009, 07:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
No. I'm just saying that most traditions are arbitrary. That doesn't change the fact that, whether there was a good rational basis for them in the beginning, they're part of our culture now, and it's easier to follow than to defy. That in itself is a rational basis for following them. You asked why more people don't do it the other way round, and that's the reason. There usually isn't enough benefit to offset the cost of going against the grain.

Being arbitrary isn't even necessarily a bad thing — if we had to decide rationally every little detail of everything we do, we'd be paralyzed. Tradition and habit give us reasonable defaults to take the burden of making a decision off our shoulders.

I like your take on this, this makes sense...

Still, while I completely understand your point about defaults and the burden of decisions, we live in a time where there is a lot of fragmentation in lifestyle choice, especially in urban areas. We are burdened with choices all of the time: what religious practices we observe, what we eat, how we entertain ourselves, how we raise our kids, different schooling options, what sort of groups we identify ourselves with, etc. The things we care the least about seem to be the most likely candidates for being satisfied with one of our cultural defaults, right?

Do you find it a little weird that a name is not one of those things that we see more often than not going outside of the cultural default? Maybe to some people a name is as mundane a thing as some of the things I listed above, but I'm sure that it is also pretty darn important to some people too.

Do you think that there is a significant population who fall into the cultural defaults for reasons other than indifference? Factors such as the wimpy factor, conservative values, conformity/expectations (from family and society), etc.?

We all know vegetarians and vegans. Don't you think that the burden of having to tell everybody about what they will and won't eat and feeling guilty about inconveniencing people with their choices is more of a burden than last names? Yet, there are thousands of non-meat eaters out there.
     
turtle777
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Dec 27, 2009, 07:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Do you think that there is a significant population who fall into the cultural defaults for reasons other than indifference? Factors such as the wimpy factor, conservative values, conformity/expectations (from family and society), etc.?
Why do you see cultural defaults as something inherently bad, and being contrarian as something inherently good ?

I really don't see why there needs to be judgment on people who like to do it the same way others have done it before. Yes, it doesn't show great creativity or a rebel spirit, but again, all these things are not inherently good or bad, just an expression of individuals.

Someone who is always going against the mainstream, and always trying to be "different" is not a better person just for that. Actually, those people can be quite annoying at times, because they tend make everyone feel as if they were better than them.

-t
     
Doofy
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Dec 27, 2009, 08:11 PM
 
I believe that this tradition is deeply rooted in sexuality. The woman receives, while the bloke pitches. It's to do with the psychological need that proper women have to be submissive to their husbands. Of course, since feminism appeared this has been somewhat challenged, leading to strap-ons and all sorts.
But that's the root of it. It's not just an empty tradition.
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Phileas
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Dec 27, 2009, 09:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
But that's the root of it. It's not just an empty tradition.

But what about Iceland?

And what is it about Brits and strap-ons?
     
Doofy
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Dec 27, 2009, 09:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
But what about Iceland?
Well they just weird, ain't they?

Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
And what is it about Brits and strap-ons?
Mrs. Thatch.
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
ghporter
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Dec 27, 2009, 10:39 PM
 

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
olePigeon
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Dec 28, 2009, 12:12 AM
 
My stepmom took a hyphenated last name, a combination of her maiden name and my dad's last name.
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turtle777
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Dec 28, 2009, 12:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
My stepmom took a hyphenated last name, a combination of her maiden name and my dad's last name.
Yeah, hear ago, that was possible in Germany.

Then you had people wanting to marry that both had hyphenated names. Got to screwy, they changed the law and disallowed it. But it does make up for some funny name combinations

-t
     
Mike Pither
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Dec 28, 2009, 08:11 AM
 
interestingly here in Italy it is not normal for the wife to take the husbands surname. She keeps her's, he keeps his and the children normally have the fathers surname.
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Phileas
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Dec 28, 2009, 09:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Mrs. Thatch.
A friend of mine produces them. Really, she does, no joke. She did say recently that the UK is by far her biggest market.
     
 
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