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In which I discover that I have an old-fashioned streak, after all - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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In which I discover that I have an old-fashioned streak, after all [Dec. 4th, 2007|12:13 pm]
[Current Mood |contemplativebemused]

I got an email from a friend today requesting our physical address and how we wanted to be named on the formal invitations to the upcoming wedding. The address part was easy, but I found myself hesitating over how we should be addressed.

I've never used Ferrett's last name. I have been addressed by it on occasion, generally written invitations and cards from members of his family. It's never been a big deal, but this is the first time someone actually asked me what I wanted to see on the envelope.

And I surprised myself. I first wrote down our informal nicknames, but that didn't look right. So I backspaced and used his first and last and my first and last. Still didn't make me happy.

Finally I realized that, for formal occasions, yes, it is okay to refer to us as Mr. and Mrs. [insert man's name]. Yeah, it's a sexist holdover from the time when women were property, but some traditions are nice and not really a threat to my personal freedom.

It's kind of like how much I still love all those church Christmas carols. It's not my faith, but there is beauty in it. And I can enjoy both by choice.

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[User Picture]From: e_scapism101
2007-12-04 05:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you for that very eloquent statement. I took my husband's name when we married...but only because I wanted to. However, I rarely use 'Mrs.' When I select a prefix, as it were, it's invariably 'Ms'.
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2007-12-04 07:35 pm (UTC)
Same. Mrs. wigs me out. I guess I should have kind of expected to get the Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname on letters from his grandmother, but that doesn't mean I like it.

So I guess I am kind of the opposite of you, Gini. I guess I sort of end up with "I gave up my last name so I don't want to be addressed by his first name too", while my mom kept her name and says she doesn't mind being Mrs. His Full Name from time to time.
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[User Picture]From: funwithrage
2007-12-04 05:34 pm (UTC)
It's kind of like how much I still love all those church Christmas carols. It's not my faith, but there is beauty in it.

I was trying to explain this to boyfriend recently. "I don't *believe* in the religion. But I find some parts of it really cool--okay, honestly? If you didn't know what 'Hark the Herald Angels' or 'We Three Kings' was about, and you heard one of them in a fantasy game, you'd think it kicked ass, right?"

And then realized that several of my more Christian relatives just spontaneously combusted.
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[User Picture]From: wdomburg
2007-12-04 07:46 pm (UTC)
Heh. I used a similar line of reasoning in gifting a vehemently non-religious person with a copy of "A Prayer for Owen Meany" (one of my favourite books). The way I look at it, if she can accept magic and dragons and demons as the backdrop for a story, the existence of God shouldn't be a problem.
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[User Picture]From: kibbles
2007-12-04 05:36 pm (UTC)
I used to hyphenate, but don't any more. First time I questioned it was when I miscarried our child and was being wheeled from recovery to the hospital room. The name written down was so large that the piece of paper was bigger than the slot where they put the names. (18 letters, plus my first name is two names so thats extra spaces.) That just stuck in my mind as I was wheeled past it.

Later on it just became sort of a bonding thing for me. I trusted no one (still don't), and even though we were married (partially for convenience -- I had medical insurance plus we were guardians for his brother), I still wanted my space and independence. As I let my guard down, I used his name more and more.

Now I use my maiden name only when making calls where I don't want to be identified right off the bat -- I am trying to get information on my daughter's sex ed classes (it appears they are absintence only and I am OUTRAGED) so I left messages with my first name, maiden name. Not a lie but they've played tricks when I called before and I won't have that NOW.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-04 09:00 pm (UTC)
Your maiden name is your beard. That's amusing.

I lost myself in the first marriage so far that I wasn't even willing to hyphenate in this one. Though I'm not afraid of that anymore, I won't change names because mine is easy to remember.
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[User Picture]From: darthfox
2007-12-04 05:39 pm (UTC)
It really is the choice that makes all the difference.

Tangentially, I dig how more and more lately, at least in my crowd, I'm hearing men referred to as "Mr. [her name]", when the wife is better known or her identity is the salient feature or similar. Greg Wise is the second Mr. Emma Thompson, for example. Hee.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-04 09:01 pm (UTC)
I haven't noticed that, but I am highly amused.
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[User Picture]From: nuala
2007-12-04 05:39 pm (UTC)
I never changed my name. I've told my mother this about a thousand times. She still sends me letters in the married name. I've tried explaining it to my grandparents, but realised that old fashioned values will never change. Nor will they. It bothers me a bit, but if it's just Christmas cards and wedding invitations? meh. Ya pick yer battles, ya know?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-04 09:03 pm (UTC)
I felt the same way, until I actually got to choose. It was interesting to find myself choosing tradition.
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[User Picture]From: the_magician
2007-12-04 05:40 pm (UTC)

That's interesting ...

... and I think the important thing is that *you chose*, so you have all the freedom you want and need. You had the option to put what you wanted, and chose that, and no one should be able to validly criticise you for that. Excellent :-)
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[User Picture]From: norda
2007-12-04 06:12 pm (UTC)
Old-fashioned of you, maybe, but gracious nonetheless.

In our house, it would be a different matter. Michael would blow a gasket if I used his last name. He would legally change his last name to mine if he could, and my father's already given his approval for such.

Yes, my boy has family issues.

[And I love Christmas carols, too.]
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[User Picture]From: blackcoat
2007-12-04 07:07 pm (UTC)
Umm...35 bucks and a couple hours at a courthouse...
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[User Picture]From: fabricdragon
2007-12-04 06:27 pm (UTC)
i took my husband's last name when we married..

a few points people should know about that....
1. many old fashioned health plans and so on will just GIVE you coverage if your last name is the same, but they want proof of marriage if it isnt.

2. same for a lot of the city paperwork and etc.

3. one of my friends could NOT convince child services that she was too the legal guardian of her husbands kid.. because she kept her maiden name. she had to get a copy of her marriage license and find a supervisor to get the kid back after he was arrested.

4. hospitals. a friend of mine found out she couldnt get into ICU to see her husband until she provided "proof" they were married. (this never happened to me, i was allowed in to see my dad even though my last name is now different, but my mother had put me down on the list....)

5. the thing they didn't tell me? we go to sign the register (which we hadn't rehearsed) and i am honestly trying to find out 'do i sign under my married name, or my maiden name?" and they just said 'whatever you want.." well. THAT is what dictates the change of name thing in our city..... good thing i picked right.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-04 09:10 pm (UTC)
I haven't had any problems, but I imagine that in some places it is a hassle.
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From: ex_yakaveng
2007-12-04 06:39 pm (UTC)
I didn't take his name when we got married-- my brother is the last male with the surname, and chances of him having kids are slim to none, so I kept my name in hopes of keeping it around. My hubby had the same situation with his surname. We thought about hyphenating but didn't want the long(er) name; we thought about picking a neutral name but wanted to honor our families. We have no idea what to do about kids' names.

My boss kept her maiden name when she got married (although she goes by Dr. instead of Ms., which makes it easier in some ways). Her husband retained his last name. Their baby boy, interestingly enough, has her last name.

Keeping my name has made it exceedingly difficult-- if you have the same last name, it's amazing what information about your spouse you can control. Me, on the other hand-- people won't take me at my word when I say I'm his wife. Even matching addresses doesn't suffice.

His family persists in calling me "Mrs. P--" anyway. My coworkers call me "Mrs. K" ("Because you *are* married, even if you didn't change your name").

I LOVE Carol of the Bells. It's based on an old Ukrainian carol that somehow I suspect wasn't originally a Christian carol... It's not my faith either, but the songs were meant to celebrate and be sung by many people, making them easy to remember and easy-ish to sing. There's meant to be beauty in it, and there's nothing wrong with appreciating beauty in everything :o)
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From: ex_yakaveng
2007-12-04 06:40 pm (UTC)
Speaking of appreciating beauty, you are brilliant, beautiful, and extraordinarily talented! Your quilt rocked my socks. Someone bid on it, even! My mother-in-law was also very impressed.

(I left a message to this effect on your hubby's cell last night.)
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[User Picture]From: khiron1416
2007-12-04 06:51 pm (UTC)
I like
Mr. and Dr. Ferret McJuddmetz

but I don't know if you're a JD.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-04 09:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that would work.

I am a J.D., but we can't use Dr. Instead, we can have Esq. after our names. But that completely doesn't work on a Mr and Mrs invite using his last name!
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[User Picture]From: trianakvetch
2007-12-04 06:52 pm (UTC)
I'm having trouble with the whole last name. Our wedding isn't for 16 more months but I've been thinking about it a lot. Kyle couldn't care either way, at leas that's what he tells me. I think he's trying to remain as neutral about it as possible and let me make the decision.

I come from a country where women do not change their last name. I'm very proud of my Spanish birth and heritage. On the other hand, I kinda like the whole notion of taking Kyle's last name. There's no exact reason other than it makes me feel all warm and glowy when I think about it. So, not sure what i'm going to do.

As for Christmas carols my absolute favorires are "God rest ye merry gentlemen" and "oh holy night" even though I'm a horrible Catholic. I still feel some spiritual twinge when I hear them.
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2007-12-04 07:39 pm (UTC)
I made a final decision the night before my wedding. Up until then I was waffling and all my friends knew it, so I got asked a bunch at the wedding "Have you decided yet?" and had a lot of ideological discussions about it. :)
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[User Picture]From: shydescending
2007-12-04 07:05 pm (UTC)
thank you for that last line. I was raised Protestant but now consider myself an atheist. that said, my singing voice lends itself well to gospel music, Christmas carols, etc. and I still like singing them. it's hard for a lot of people to grasp how I can balance/justify that.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-04 09:21 pm (UTC)
What, we should never watch "Oklahoma!" or "Meet Me in St. Louis" because they have old-fashioned values we don't endorse today, either? It's ridiculous to think that the baby has to be chucked out with the bathwater.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-12-04 07:08 pm (UTC)
Yup, the ability to choose so makes all the difference. I took my husbands last name when we married, in part because he has a rather unique last name while I have a rather common one. Also because I'm not well known in my field under either name. If I had a lot of publications under my maiden name, for instance, I wouldn't want to change it for professional purposes. But in this case, taking his name had no practical barriers against it, and gave me a more unique name, and I like his name, so I switched.

I have no problem with recieving mail addressed to "Mr and Mrs Hisfirstname Hislastname", but I do feel uncomfortable when I'm addressed as "Mrs Hisfirstname Hislastname". For some reason the latter feels more like it's eroding my individuality more.

I guess if you're addressing us as a couple I don't mind being primarially identified as husband and wife, but if I'm being addressed individually I don't feel like my first identifier should be "wife of", just as I don't think his first identifier should be "husband of" if he's addressed individually. I have a perfectly good first name, and I like it! So I'd like people to use it if it's an occasion where they would be addressing ME by a first name, as opposed to addressing US with a single first name.
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[User Picture]From: mazlynn
2007-12-04 07:09 pm (UTC)


Forgot I wasn't logged in
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[User Picture]From: jeanniemac
2007-12-04 08:11 pm (UTC)
I changed my last name but kept my maiden name as a middle name,which is actually a tradition in my family. So I legally have 4 names, first, middle, maiden, married. And I prefer not to use a prefix at all. I'm not a MD or a PhD or a member of the military or the clergy, so why use one. I always feel strange when refered to as Mrs. If I have to use a prefix, I prefer Ms.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-04 09:35 pm (UTC)

Just curious...

When you fill out a form that asks for first middle and last names, which "middle" do you use?
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From: caudelac
2007-12-04 08:55 pm (UTC)
We're actually going to choose a totally different last name for both of us, since we're both nominally female, and the Other Half really doesn't like her last name. I like mine, but the one we've picked out is one that means something to both of us, and I'm down with that.

I suppose it'll get odd when she transitions to he, but considering, it'll actually be a relief and a pleasure to me to finally me Mr. And Mrs etc.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-04 09:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can see that. How are your families coping with it? People get really emotional about these things.
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