The Vagenda

The Penis Perspective: A Wife By Any Other Name…


One year ago next month, I was lucky enough to marry the most wonderful woman and am immensely proud that every day I live and breathe I am able to call her my wife (her good fortune with regard to ending up with me remains questionable). Over these eleven months of wedded bliss, we’ve been asked a lot of your typical newlywed questions, ranging from the banal…
Q. “So how’s married life?”
A. “Well, as we’d been living together in FILTHY CARNAL SIN for four years before the big day it’s actually exactly the same as de facto life, but it sounds less sinister and we had a hell of a party that cost us most of our lifesavings – hey, let’s look at the photos!”
…to the predictable…
Q. “So when are the kids coming?”
A. Actually, I don’t have an answer for this because I’ve never needed one – it’s a question asked exclusively of my wife. I’m not sure whether the implication is that a) she (i.e. all women) is so desperate to breed it’s all she can think about, or b) I simply get no say in the matter. Both are borderline offensive.
But, dear readers, do you know what we rarely get asked? Whether or not my wife will change her surname to mine. As far as I can tell, the reason we’re not asked this is because it is almost universally assumed that she will or, more accurately, already has – and in fact probably rushed ecstatically to do so somewhere between kissing the bride and consummating the union. It wasn’t just that everyone assumes that her surname is mine – which in itself is presumptuous, if understandable – but that so much subsequent post-wedding correspondence was addressed simply to Mr and Mrs My Full Name. Apparently not only did my wife lose her surname in the nuptials, but in the eyes of a lot of people she lost her first name too.
It got me thinking about the continuing – nay, growing – phenomenon of women changing their surname name to that of their husbands. Tell a modern woman that she can’t vote, get a job or own property and you will quite rightly be chastised, laughed at, slapped around the head or most likely a combination of all of three. Yet the overwhelming majority of western women (various sources for the UK, USA and Australia have the number at between 80 and 90% and climbing) continue to happily embrace the tradition of giving up the surname they’ve grown up with in favour of a man’s as soon as they’ve walked down the aisle. A tradition – as most of us know – which arose around the distinctly un-feminist concept of passing “ownership” of the woman from her father to her husband when she got married.
My wife hasn’t taken my name, and we are both content with that. Her family name (and yes, I acknowledge the semi-irony of the fact that family names are invariably paternal) is very important to her – her father passed away some years ago and she doesn’t want to lose the name she has grown up with. Personally, as someone who has generally viewed the Bridal Name Change (BNC) as a particularly archaic patriarchal remnant, I have never put any pressure or expectation on her to change her name to mine. However, such is the social expectation which seems to accompany the BNC, that when in discussion my darling wife ‘fesses up to the fact that she – gasp! – is keeping her maiden name, she now tends to do so in a near-apologetic tone, such is the judgement that seems to emanate from those listening (Does she not truly love me? Is she really a committed wife? Am I not man enough to take control of the situation?). Not that this bothers me, I’ve been generally of the opinion that people will get used to the wild craziness of our choice and learn to deal. I always considered my position strengthened by the fact that I have no intention of changing my name as a man, so if I were a woman I wouldn’t change it either.
But then, that’s all too easy for me to say isn’t it? I’m NOT a woman. I haven’t been socialised for as long as I can remember to dream of my perfect white wedding to my perfect Mr Right, and to believe that one of the most romantic, affirming and feminine things I will ever do is to prove myself a proud and devoted wife by changing my name to Mrs Right. Smugly proclaiming that I wouldn’t do something that I’ve never been asked, told or expected to do in the first place is about as meaningful as announcing that I’m removing myself from contention to be Scarlett Johansson’s personal masseur. It became clear to me that, while I’m not going to stop having an opinion, I may also be in possession of one too many Y chromosomes to hold the pre-eminent perspective on this. And so it was to my female friends and colleagues that I reached out for their thoughts.
As I’ve now reached the quite ridiculous age of 34, I’m a relative latecomer to the party among my friends to engage in that dated-but-immensely-fun tradition of dressing up and saying “I do” (and the clichés are all true – it really was the best day of my life), so I was able to watch and learn from those who had already gone through it. Of those already married, all but two took the decision to undergo the BNC – and it’s fair to say that one of those two dissenters was somewhat unexpected to me – while a glance through the extended families of my wife and I indicates that there are no Keepers of the Maiden Name to be found there either. 
The selection of women I spoke to who are not yet married (and these encompass the full spectrum from single to attached to engaged) is these days a smaller sample but does contain a number of the females dearest to me in the world. Among these women was a more even balance between those who would choose to undergo the BNC and those would choose to keep their own names, although the slight majority would still take the option of becoming Mrs Him.
Those women who think as I do and would keep their own names were pretty consistent about the reasons for it – a sense of identity, their own independence, and railing (as I do) against such an outdated tradition of male dominance. When it came to the question of why – in an era of unprecedented female empowerment and independence – the women who would change are still choosing to maintain this tradition, the answers were varied but generally settled on a couple of key themes, and often went beyond simple convenience of future paperwork and personal admin. A lot of them were genuinely proud and excited to have engaged (or intend to) in such a traditional wifely act, and felt that it showed their commitment to their husband and to the institution – I variously heard or read a great many statements from female friends along the lines of “I can’t wait to be Mrs HisName!” and such like. Children were another big selling point, insofar as a position common to many women was the need to have the same surname as their children. Interestingly, the idea that the children might take their mother’s surname (should she decide to keep it) was never an option – every woman accepted without question that the children would have dad’s name and she would have to change. The idea of projecting commitment and unity was also raised repeatedly.
In the end, many women simply don’t consider it a big deal – from a feminist perspective at least. Perhaps it is simply the case that in amongst progress over issues like equal pay, equal rights, sexual liberation and social advancement, the gender politics of the BNC just don’t matter. If I was feeling particularly cheeky, I might also note that social expectation works on both genders – and that the amount of money us blokes are expected to spend on the rocks that go on your finger entitles us to naming rights. But only if I was feeling particularly cheeky.  
In the end, like most things it really is a matter of personal choice – and I wouldn’t dream of trying to take that away from anyone. So ladies (and gents), make your choice, take his name or don’t, and be happy with your decision.
Just don’t go projecting it on my wife and me. Please.

32 thoughts on “The Penis Perspective: A Wife By Any Other Name…

  1. Great post! Thank-you!

    Personally, I would also love to keep my own surname – mainly because I feel that the traditional marriage is patriarchal and outdated. Not that I don’t like marriage, I LOVE marriage, I think there is nothing better than declaring your love and commitment for each other to the world, and when I do decide to get married I’m going to take it very dam seriously.

    Anyway, I’ve had 2 proper relationships, previous and current. When I raised the point both guys had the same reaction: “Wouldn’t you be proud to be part of my family? What’s wrong with my name.” They were genuinely offended.

    After some discussion Mr. Previous couldn’t understand at all, but Mr. Current could sort of get my drift (hence the current :) ). He raised all those points of unity, and what about the children!

    I like the traditions of Chile, where the child gets both the father’s mother’s names and the mother retains her names and her adds her husband’s. Although only the father’s is “official”, this for me is more practical since we don’t want to end up with 100 names is a few generations.

    Unfortunately my name is ridiculously long so double-barrel may not work, but fortunately I have a few years to decide and regardless of what I choose, this is the important bit… It will be a CHOICE.

  2. Great post! Thanks so much.

    I was at a wedding last month where one of the groom’s friends had the task of introducing the bride and groom as they walked into the banquet hall. He introduced them as Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bloggs, and everyone clapped raucously. But the bride and groom didn’t move. Then Joe said to his groomsman: ‘It’s Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Josephine Bloggs-Jones.’ The groomsman tried again, stumbling over his words with incredulity, and the couple made their way to the top table, accompanied by polite clapping. The man sitting next to me said loudly to his girlfriend ‘I guess we know who wears the trousers.’

    And about the ring thing – I don’t think it’s cheeky to ask women to consider the sexism inherent in expecting a very expensive piece of jewellery in exchange for their promise of marriage. I think it’s important. I don’t want me no rock. If my boyfriend and I choose to marry, I want us both to the exchange symbols of love and promise to mark our decision. (The boyfriend’s delighted of course – he’s got himself a cheap date.)

  3. I didn’t want to have an engagement ring until my future husband wanted to buy me one, and then his excitement at being engaged was more infectious than my Bolshy “I’m not an object that you put a downpayment on” stance. I did make sure that he bought me a ring that I liked and not one that cost the earth, though!

    I always thought that, if I ever got married, I would keep my name. But then I liked my now husband’s last name better than my own, and my own was my dad’s anyway, so if I was going to be identified by a man’s last name, it might as well be the name of the man I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with. I now feel that my married name is my own, more than my previous name.

    The getting married, the changing my name, was all my choosing. It is a pain getting all your documents changed though! Not to mention expensive. So there are practical reasons for keeping your original surname.

  4. I love this topic. :) I’m a woman, married to a woman who has taken my surname.

    It’s easy to forget that everyone’s choice is specific to their circumstances, when it is often taken for something automatic. My situation makes it all the more obvious. There are few rules for civil partnerships. Nobody really expected anything from us, or knew what to expect from the day or the ongoing arrangements (in lots of ways it’s liberating! In many others it’s a bit sad!). But it’s a good example of making plain choices when it comes to name changes.

    The reasons for our choice:

    - My wife is one of six and has brothers who will carry on their name, where I’m the daughter of a man with four sisters and my family name would die out if I changed it.
    - We want our children to share a single surname. Having two mums is enough work without having two names.
    - My name is shorter and a bit cooler. (Don’t tell my parents-in-law I said that.)

    In every case, Mrs Bride didn’t necessarily chuck away all of her individuality with the bouquet. As long as the change isn’t automatic or against anyone’s will, then do as you please. There are as many reasons for keeping or changing your name as there are couples.

    I think the important thing is that people are aware that there’s a choice, and they think about it, and make a decision from the heart that makes them happy.

    As for me, I’m over the moon that my wife has my surname, even if it does confuse my mother that there are now three Mrs Flynns.

  5. I didn’t take my husband’s name (mainly because it seemed ridiculous after 13 years of living together, but also because he had a huge family where mine was only small, and for some reason I really resisted the idea of just becoming lost in amongst his flock). All the bank accounts/bills/passport/etc are still in my own name but the minute I walked back into work after the wedding, things started to appear in the ‘married’ name.
    This is causing personnel a surprising amount of grief now the divorce is in process. Not to mention all the business contacts who think I’m a brand new person. Ha! Take that patriarchal assumptions in the work place!

  6. I was just having this conversation with my friend yesterday! Although I think sometimes it changes with circumstance, right now single-22 year old me wants to keep my surname-I like it and it works well with my other names! Unless I am getting a surname upgrade to something much more awesome I think I’ll stick with it. (My friend’s surname is McCool, I’d take that!)

  7. Find it sad that women even have to have the discussion in the first place. I behave like a dude in these matters and simply act as though my name will always be my name and that’s it. Married or no. Anyone who has a problem with it can deal with their own discomfort – ridiculous as it is – and shouldn’t expect any explanation from me. Turns out my boyfried assumes the same and so happy days there.

    If I ever have a kid, it will have my surname as part of its name. If I’m going to work for nine months on creating something, there’s no way my name’s not going on it! :)

  8. I wrote something from the bride’s perspective for Bad Reputation ( on this and I swear, this is the issue that is causing me the most wedding stress. Because I kinda think my last name is my identity but I also think I’m creating a new family (despite us not wanting kids) and therefore we should have a shared name. But his name is his brand (he’s an author) and changing it for him is more of a hassle because of that, so it might be me. Maybe.

    I’ll probably get round to it at our 20 year anniversary.

  9. I know one couple, both female, who fused their surnames into a portmanteau-y new one when they married. Worked our v. well for them, and definitely earns points for ingenuity (although caution would be required for a Masterson wedding a Bates, or a Dickinson wooing a Waddell…)

  10. I’ve been saying this for as long as I remember, when I first found out that women were expected to change their names upon marriage. It bugged me and it bugs me now. I can’t stand this ‘Mr and Mrs his name’ crap and I feel like its so unnecessary that most of my married female friends have changed their names. I spent so long hating mine that in the end, I’ve accepted it and now I like it. The kids can have their mother’s name as a middle name or something of the sort but the arrogance of a man who thinks it should be automatically done pisses me off the most. Like her name means nothing over his. I never stop being annoyed over that

  11. Good post! My name is my identity and I could never imagine changing it, no matter how much I love someone. Besides, imagine the hassle – banks, employers, the tax office, mortgage companies, credit unions, electricity providers…. it goes on and on!

  12. When my husband and I got engaged, this was one of the first discussions we had, and it was a discussion. My husband wasn’t hurt that I brought it up, or wasn’t just naturally assuming I’d take his name. In the end, it was important to me that we have the same last name, I like him more than my dad, his last name sounds really nice with my first name, and I have a big brother who is passing down my name, whereas he’s the last male in his family, so I took his last name.

    Obviously every couple can sort this out on their own, and it’s just sad that there’s an assumption that one thing will be done, vs. the many options out there. (How about, the man takes the woman’s name?? That was on the table for us.)

    It DOES piss me off royally when newly married couples are announced as “Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith” or what have you, as if the wife has lost all identity. I went over this with the priest, and the dj, and was very vehement, and we were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. his first name, and my first name, our new last name.

    Changing my name was one hell of a hassle! Three years later I haven’t done my passport yet…

  13. I love this post and totally agree that it’s a choice.

    When I decided to take my husbands name however, I faced a lot of criticism. One colleague even said to me “I never expected it of you” accompanied with a look I can only describe as disgust. It was like I’d let the sisterhood down.

    For me, it was about having kids. I want us all to have the same name and it so happens that we went with my husbands. Yes, it was really weird for me (still is) but that’s my business.

    Whatever you CHOOSE, it’s important that we live in a society where things like that are a choice.

  14. This is a topic that has always fascinated me.
    I am Spanish and we do not change our surnames, never have, never will. In the majority of mediterranean countries and some of the latin americans women keep their surname and the children get both (the first of the father and the first of the mother, and entire lineages of families can be tracked back like this). For us is a question of heritage and respect for family (I am sure that my parents and my siblings would not like the fact that suddenly I have given up who I am to be someone else) It is a question of identity. How can anyone suddenly after a wedding be someone else?
    I have been given life, raised, loved and educated by two people and I would never renounce to their surnames.
    As for the children, well I believe I will contribute to create them so I would like them to have part of who I am and my family as well.
    And … if you get divorced? (like 40% of couples) are you back to who you where or do you keep being “Mrs someone I don´t want to have anything else to do with”… even worse … WHAT IF YOU REMARRY? I would end up totally schizophrenic!!!! very confusing.

  15. Don’t stress Lizzie, my husband and I celebrated our 5th anniversary in April and I still haven’t made a final decision on whether I’ll keep my name or adopt his (drives him batty! Not the bit where I haven’t taken his name, but the bit where I won’t make a decision).

    To be honest, it’s just not an issue for me. My name is my name and I don’t see why I should change it. Or worry about it.

    But despite you “not wanting kids” what about the CHILDREN?!

    I grew up with married parents with different last names (and come from an extended family of aunts and uncles in which only 1 of 7 wives changed their name) but as a child I found it really confusing answering questions from other kids about it. You know. Are they married? Yes. Are they divorced? No. Are they both your real parents? Yes. Way hard for a seven year old to see why it was causing so much fuss.

    So the conundrum – turn my back on the sisterhood, and the generation of my family who denied tradition to maintain their name (and arguably their identity) – or go with my husband’s name as a mark of respect to the love of my life and to represent the unification of our family?

    To date I’ve done nothing about it. I don’t get offended by mail posted to Mrs and Mr Hisname but I got a massive kick out of a wedding we attended recently where our place setting was identified by Mrs and Mr Myname (win!)

    But the CHILDREN?!

    So when we have kids I think I might tack his name on the end of mine. Maybe with a hyphen, maybe without Latin-styles.

    Because I don’t want to sacrifice my name, or my ties to the family that raised me, or the line of history attached to my father’s name that stretches across 3 continents.

    But I do want something that ties me to my new family, I want to be part of the ‘Hisnames’ and for strangers (in particular school teachers and doctors) to know how we’re associated. I want future records to make it instantly obvious how I fit into the lineage and the history of all of my family.

  16. Given that I can choose and my future husband is indifferent, I think becoming Ms HisName is harmless and a nice gesture of unity. But it is absolutely a choice that I have made, which is the important thing to me.

    (as an aside – as an unmarried mother, my son taking his father’s surname was important to both of us as a signal of relatedness)

  17. Italian wives don’t change their surnames on marriage, so it isn’t universal. My sister uses her husband’s surname socially, but sticks to her original family name professionally. I don’t see why there should be any hard and fast rules. Women are not chattels.

  18. Awesome post – this came up randomly in conversation with the boyfriend today. I’ve always thought my surname was a bit boring, and quite like his. He was actually genuinely surprised when I said I’d probably take his name if we married – a reaction I really wasn’t expecting and was actually quite refreshing.

    Now I’m thinking about it though, I’d probably consider double-barreling my name, but I’d expect him to do the same. He’s awesome, so I don’t think he’d be bothered if I suggested it. Whatever I decide to do with my name I think I’d like my partner’s to match – that covers the ideals of outward symbols unity and, as many have said here, I’d like my future children’s names to match mine.

    I would be GENUINELY insulted if I was ever addressed as “Mrs. Joe Bloggs” though.

  19. Changing my name to my husband’s wasn’t something that crossed my mind even for a second, but what got to me was the number of people – generally family members – who regarded me with horror when I told them that I wasn’t. I can’t see how anybody who attended our wedding was surprised – my husband made a big deal during his wedding speech about how there was no way he was going to say anything “on behalf of my wife and I” (but still got the traditional whoops when the words escaped his lips.

    I like the idea, if you’re one of those couples who makes the choice to have children, of having a unified family identity; but rather than that coming through the father’s line I’d be in favour of double-barrelling or compounding or some sort of creation. Not an issue for us though, just in case the awkward phrasing in the first sentence didn’t make that clear enough. Both my husband and I are writers and our names are our “brands” – in my case, in particular, I’d be giving up a name that as far as I can tell is unique in favour of one that already has a Google footprint (yes, I checked). It doesn’t make our union any less valid.

  20. I don’t think any woman is ‘betraying the sisterhood’ if she changes her name to her husband’s. But, the marital name-change is a sexist tradition. It is something women are expected to do, that men are not. Many men defend this tradition in a way that is completely out of proportion, showing up latent sexist beliefs.

    All the talk of ‘unity’ and having the same name as the kids, wanting to show ‘relatedness’, etc, is just another way of saying, I want to comply with tradition in this case. If the social pressure wasn’t there, if it really was only about ‘unity’ etc, half the married couples out there would have the wife’s surname. Half the kids born in unmarried couples would have the mother’s surname, come to that.

    So that’s not what it’s about, for a lot of people. It’s about conforming. Which is fine, but I wish more people would be honest about it.

    I’m not blaming anyone, social pressure can be very hard to resist. I have been on the receiving end of so much crap for wanting to keep my own surname, it’s utterly ridiculous. I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to take the easy route and just do what’s considered ‘normal’. It is a choice. It’s just not a completely free choice in my opinion.

  21. This. Exactly!

    I don’t get why people keep insisting that it’s a choice–EVERYTHING that women choose to do to conform with patriarchal traditions is a choice, including choosing how to dress, how to behave, whether to work or not, etc. But the point is that there could be so many other choices that women could make than changing their last names to their husband’s. If it’s really about unity, why not get him to change? Why not come up with a whole new name that is neither of yours to start with?

  22. Keeping my name.

    So far I have also negotiated all female offspring to have my ‘surname’.

    No intention of changing mine back to my mother’s though… you could take that kind of thing too far (grandma, greatgrandma?)besides, you have their mitochondrial DNA and no one can take that away from you!

  23. I also think BNC is an outdated patriarchal tradition. I view the issue as this – it is convenient and unified for the family to share a single surname. As to what that surname should be, depends on what the parents are happy with.

    In future whether I am happy to give up my surname or not, entirely depends on how my hubby’s compares to mine (I consider my surname pretty average and boring, so it’s no great loss). If his surname was “crapface” or “thatcher” I’d keep my own! And I guess we’d then have to argue about what the kids were called. Maybe he’d take mine, maybe we could invent a new surname for us both, maybe stick with different ones and give the kids a new surname etc… Either way gender wouldn’t come into it.

    Atm, my bf’s surname is actually nicer than my own, and I’d be glad to take it! But not because I’m a girl.

  24. I completely agree and I get especially pissed off when women are introduced as Mrs Joe Bloggs. Like the author of this article says, we can lose our entire identity! Crazyness!
    There is also something else amiss here though, and that is the title you are given. Obviously it’s all down to personal choice about whether you are a Ms, Miss or Mrs but where are the male equivalents? Why can’t they be defined by their marital status in their title? Why has no one come up with alternatives to Master and Mister for chaps yet or indeed a whole new title for married chaps? Huh huh? I get very cross when I can’t order stuff online because they state that they can’t process my order without knowing what my title is. Yes.they.can. Knowing whether I am married or not makes no difference to my buying a train ticket! So I simply put ‘Lady’ as my title and compromise by letting them know my gender, (am still hoping for an upgrade to first class on the trains for being a Lady but it hasn’t worked yet); but even knowing my gender is not relevant and certainly shouldn’t prevent me from buying a product if I choose not to tell you. I suggest that we all change our titles to ‘The’ and become definite articles unless anyone has any better suggestions? This is something that I have wracked my brains over for years – the elusive gender/status neutral title that people can choose to use if they wish.

  25. One more opinion that bothers me; if changing your name means that you are a devoted/proud/supportive wife etc, then very few men in this world are a devoted/proud/supportive husband. Just another reason as to why I’m of the opinion these ‘reasons’ on the wife’s part on doing so are ridiculous

  26. Late to the conversation but re. wanting to have the same name as your kids, a little tale from my feminist parents:

    My mum and dad were not married until recently despite being together for 32 years (finally relented for tax/insurance reasons etc, why are straight people denied civvie Ps? But that’s another argument). My mum would never have dreamt in a million years of taking my dad’s name. My sister was born first, and has my mum’s name. I arrived second, and have my dad’s name. AND GUESS WHAT? It’s fine! Has never caused any problems – if anything it’s a talking point, and me and my sister feel more that we are ‘our own people’. Highly recommend it.

    I find it a bit depressing that friends are getting married who previously swore they’d never have a BNC, but now backtracking. Agree with poster above who said it is a choice, just not a free one.

  27. I’m a feminist and I will take my fiance’s name in less than a year. Two reasons: 1) I’m a foreigner in where we live whilst he’s a native. I have a very long surname which no one here pronounces correctly and which, in its archaic structure, indicates that I am not married. In other words, my surname has a different suffix to that of my mum’s and dad’s (and of course theirs differ too since my dad is a man and my mum is a married woman). So it would be weird to continue being call Miss after I’m married. And I look forward to the day I dont have to spell my name over and over again. 2) But most importantly, my fiance has a gorgeous surname! Hence my choice to take his surname. But being Mrs HisFullName would be super weird, no thanks!

  28. I’m the same as Žiupsnelisdruskos, if I were to get married, I’d probably take his surname too, as mine has Brits all confused (although it’s not *that* long or complicated). And double-barrelling it would be weird.

    Just want to mention two more points here: my best friend and her boyfriend have given their little girl both their surnames. Problem solved at least for now. I guess if she gets married, she can then maybe choose one of the two to transmit to her own children, Spanish-style? I know they’re currently thinking of getting married/civil partnershipped (it does exist in France for straight ppl) for her sake, so I’m assuming they’ll either keep their names or match it to hers.

    Secondly, my boyfriend is still married, although he and his wife hate each other’s guts and have been separated for over 3 years. However she still uses his surname, supposedly because of their daughter, but also because she hates her maiden name. Now if I were to get married to him, once he’s divorced, I am adamant that I would want her to stop using his name, especially as I would probably be taking it. But apparently there is no way of forcing her to do that, although why the hell would you want to be known by your married name when you’re divorced from the bloke?? (here’s looking at you, Cheryl Cole…)

    Oh and yeah. There’s nothing I’d hate more than being called Mrs Joe Bloggs. I didn’t even know people still did that, how rude!!

  29. Bit late to this party but wanted to add my 2 cents… I’m in a very happy committed relationship (not married, not engaged, no plans) but if we ever decide to get married I would not change my name: I thought it was a weird tradition when I was a child (and the word feminism meant less than F.A.) and I think it’s weird now. I find it very upsetting that so many of married (female) friends changed their names so quickly they must have still been wearing the big white dress!

    I appreciate that there are times when changing your name is a no brainer, if your surname is Hitler or you were horrifically abused by a family member, but aside from that I really don’t see it is necessary in this day and age. My boyfriend’s parents divorced when he was 4 and he has no recollection of ever having the same surname as his mother. The only time this apparently bothered him was when he had to write out two envelopes for school reports.

    I’ve just finished my PhD and I absolutely love it when some knobber asks if I’m “Miss, Ms or Mrs.?” I just look condescending and say “Dr.”! Passive aggressive, but makes my day!