Tuesday, June 12, 2012
[Ginny] The Last Name Project
In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique,we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com.
The following post is from Ginny, a novelist and educator currently working on a master's of education in human sexuality. She, her husband, and several others blog about relationships, sexuality, atheism, and skepticism at http://polyskeptic.com.
My last name is Brown, and my husband's is McGonigal. I grew up assuming that I would take my husband's name when I married, and not minding the idea much... although I like the overall sound of my name, Brown is so common as to be boring. However, I also grew up assuming I'd always adhere to the mildly patriarchal values I was taught, and that I'd be married in my early 20s rather than my early 30s.
My husband and I are unconventional and egalitarian in a number of ways. It's likely that he will be the one to stay home with any children we have. We are also polyamorous, which means that we are open to developing loving relationships with other people, always with full disclosure, lots of discussion, and attention to each others' needs before anything else. Largely because of this, because there's the possibility that we may want to add other adults to our family someday, and because we're both in our 30s and very used to our own names, we decided to keep our names unchanged. We considered adding each others' names as second middle names, and we may someday do that if motivated, but at this time the paperwork doesn't seem worth it.
Following the example of some friends of ours, we have a portmanteau name that we use in informal social contexts. So we're still able to say "the McBrownigals wish you a merry Christmas," even though it's not anyone's legal name. It's a solution we're quite happy with... we considered actually changing our name to McBrownigal, but I felt it sounded a bit silly for publishing papers under.
Our plan for any children we have is to give them both our names, one as the last name and one as a second middle name. Which order we use will depend on how each name sounds with the first names we like, and (if we have a son) how much we want to avoid upsetting my father-in-law, who feels strongly about passing down his name.