You keep your name, I’ll keep mine

When I was a little girl, I told my father “Daddy, I’ll never change my name.” I felt bad about him not having a son to carry on our awesome, made-up-at-Ellis-Island last name. Dad hugged me, I remember. I think he remained silent or said something like “Oh, honey.”

By the time I was a teenager, I panicked. Changing one’s name was what women did when one got married, right? Could I break my promise to Dad? Would he care?

Some do. At least it’s a choice now. But some people are making other choices that make me strain my side-eye muscles.

My friend @nyc10021 made me aware of this wedding announcement.

Sonia Maria Kubica and Joseph Balthazar Simões were married Friday aboard the Red Witch, a schooner out of the Port of Chicago on Lake Michigan. Rebecca Ryan, who owns the company for which the groom works and who is also a Universal Life minister, officiated.

The bride, who is 35 and the daughter of M. Alice Kubica and Stuart A. Polivka of Whitefish Bay, Wis., will be known as Ms. Simões, the maiden name of her mother, who was born in Portugal.

The groom, who is 32 and known as Balthazar, is a son of Diane M. Schmitz of Plover, Wis., and Virgil A. Schneider of Lancaster, Wis. Last December, he legally changed his last name to Simões, partly because of his love of Portuguese culture, he said, and partly to streamline the bride’s adopting of the surname Simões, allowing it to happen by marriage.

Um, WHAT? - I'd be honored if you would consider affixing your last name to mine with a hyphen

In this case, I suppose I should applaud the groom’s progressive attitudes but instead I wonder if he’s running from the law, or trying to anger his entire paternal line.

The bridegroom, 27, is taking his wife’s name. He is pursuing a doctorate in economics at Princeton. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale.

What do you think? If I get married someday, I don’t think I’ll change my name (but I’d also have no problem if someone referred to me as Mrs. Soandso socially).

Men, do you care if the woman you marry doesn’t change her name?

Women, is your mind made up one way or another? If not, what factors influence your thought process?

Updated to add a link to this blog post by Joanna Goddard/A Cup of Jo.

4 thoughts on “You keep your name, I’ll keep mine

  1. lilnerdette

    Since taking on a man’s name is rooted in how women and kids were viewed as property for ages and ages, I don’t think it makes sense today to take on someone’s name just because they are male. This only gets complicated when one has children–although I’d prefer over having hyphenated names. But then if those children marry and want to hyphenate, then that will get highly complicated. Yeesh.

    Picking a new surname makes more sense to me–maybe a portmanteau, if that’s possible without it looking too ugly or unpronounceable. Or giving the maiden name as the middle name of the children. I know of a friend whose husband made her maiden name his middle name. But I believe there are plenty of choices for everyone…but I wonder how open men are any of this, especially when it comes to children. I seriously have no idea.

  2. Sara Lang

    I guess I’m biased, but my dad took my mom’s last name (partly for reasons of continuing the family name, and partly to show his commitment) and while it’s been a major annoyance for me, I’m glad he did. I’ve watched friends get married and do all sorts of different combinations of last names, and I think it’s just really cool that people are getting to do what works for them, instead of what tradition says should be the case.

  3. Balthazar (@callmebalthazar)

    “Um, WHAT?” I’m a little unsure exactly what you find problematic or unsavory in my name. I appreciate your concern for my paternal line, but I do think they are strong enough to carry on. I can’t vouch for the other gentleman you mention, but I can assure you that I have never found it necessary to be on the run from the law. I must confess that I find it a bit scandalous that anyone living in NYC (or elsewhere for that matter) could find it novel and challenging that a husband and wife adopt a new surname.


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