I am a very happily married woman. I’ve been married for more than 12 years now, and I can say with certainty that hitching my wagon to MOMD’s star was the best decision I’ve ever made. And our wedding? It was awesome, if I do say so myself. The ceremony took place in a lovely church which we had been attending regularly for more than a year, in the Beach of Toronto. Our reception happened at the Westin Harbour Castle, in Toronto on the waterfront. It was the best party I ever threw, which is exactly how you’re supposed to feel about your wedding.
When MOMD and I tied the knot, I did not take his name. If you’ve been around this blog for a while, this will come as no surprise. What we did do though, was each of us took each other’s name. Yes, you read that right: MOMD took my last name and added it to his. I took his last name and added it to mine. On our driver’s licenses, passports, health cards, all official ID we are hyphenated. The rationale I used when I pitched the idea to MOMD was that if a hockey player leaves one team to join another team, the player gets a new jersey with the new team’s name and logo on it. You’ll never see a TML jersey on a player on the Senator’s team. Despite not being a sports fan at all, this analogy made sense to him. Thus the SB moniker was born.
This weekend just past – Thanksgiving weekend – I attended the wedding of my longtime friend to the love of his life. It was a wonderful ceremony, and their reception was the party of the decade. The bride, I am sure is keeping her last name. Also getting married this weekend was another woman with whom I am a business associate. She has taken her husband’s last name.
Neither occurrence is uncommon: every day people get married, and every day people choose either to change their name or not. I try not to have opinions on the subject; it has no affect on my life, and frankly is none of my business either way. What did you choose to do when you got married? Are you happy with your choice? Because really: to me, that’s all that matters.
So like I was saying: some people I know got married this weekend. One of them posted on on facebook a few days later something about how it’s weird to have a different name. This status update garnered some attention, most of it saying, “Yeah, I remember that too!” and one comment saying basically, “I just couldn’t get used to it and so I kept my name.” That one little comment caused someone to post a very opinionated, non-supportive, response. And the response had nothing to do at all really with the original post. The jist of the reply was to the effect: “Part of the deal when you get married is taking his name. Why get married if you don’t do this? No matter what, you are ‘Mrs’ now.”
MAN did that comment set me off! Who was this woman? Who died and made her the judge of facebook nation? More to the point: what is her problem?!?! That one comment sent me back 12 years to when we first got married, and one of MOMD’s aunts said of our name “What’s this? She’s a Brown now!” She was very put out that 1) I would choose not to take her family name and 2) she could not find us in the phone book, since she never bothered to learn how to spell my last name.
That one comment, made by a virtual stranger to me, set me on edge for months. Literally. I could not think of this woman, could not hear her name mentioned, without reliving that comment. Looking back on it now, through the wisdom (*snicker* *snicker*, she thinks she’s ‘wise’ now *snicker* *snicker*) of my years, what I felt at the time, though I could not express it, was betrayed. I felt judged by someone who was older than I was, and betrayed by a fellow woman who was not supporting a woman’s right to choose.
I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way; I’m sure choice has nothing to do with it. In her mind, I joined the greatest family God ever created, and why wouldn’t I want to proudly proclaim that? She wasn’t thinking about how it had been my name for my whole life, my own attachment to my family, my own pride in our history, about me at all in fact. She was speaking her knee-jerk reaction. (Emphasis on jerk.)
My marriage is just as important as anyone else’s. It’s just as real, just as committed, just as loving, just as everything as someone who chose to take their husband’s name. Or not to change their name at all. And don’t you dare call me “Mrs”.