Tuesday, October 27, 2009
So, I'm at work...working...and I attempt to send an email to a promo producer. His last name is "Snyder," so...like I do with most of my co-workers, I start typing "S-N-Y..." in the "to" field of the email waiting for his name to magically pop up.
I type in his first name, and the only name that comes up has the last name "Lovelace."
I have no idea who that is, so I decide to look up "Snyder" in the employee directory.
Hmmm...where the hell is he?
I start asking around to see if he's left the company and maybe I just didn't know about it.
"Nope, he's here today...I saw him."
I explain that his email isn't coming up and that he's no longer listed in the company directory.
"Oh, you have to look him up under 'Lovelace' now...he got married."
Sensing my confusion, they explained that because his wife was an only child and the last in her family to carry the name "Lovelace," he agreed to change HIS name after they got married so that their son could carry on her family name. They had their son before they got married, and the son carries the mother's last name, not his.
Wow! How interesting!
I don't know too many guys who would have gone for that. Unless you hate your family and everything associated with it, I can't imagine why a man would change his name to his wife's family name instead of keeping the tradition of his own. I thought that was a selfless thing to do.
But how many of you (men) would do that?
I mean, it's one thing for your wife to hold on to her maiden name, but your child? Especially your son? I don't know one man who would go for that.
But, I actually think about that myself every once in a while. My father and his brothers all had daughters. None has a son. As far as I know, I'm the last "Dean" child in my family. My sister and female cousins either never carried the "Dean" name or have since married. My sister is now Nicole M. Dean Dahmani - no hyphen. And unless I never get married and have a child on my own via sperm donor or whatever, the "Dean" name will stop with me.
I can't imagine it being easy to give up your name...a name you've known all your life. I mean, after all, "Brooke Dean" just sounds so good together. It rolls off my tongue - short and sweet and to the point. I always thought my name sounded professional, or sharp, or smart...or just plain cool. Sure, when I had boyfriends, I'd put their last name after my first name to see how it would sound. I've dated guys with interesting last names, boring last names, long last names, short last names. I even dated a guy named Michael Brooker...so you can imagine my misgivings about EVER marrying him. I would sign my name over and over again, hyphenated and un-hyphenated, just to see if it "worked" - and none of the names sounded as good to me as "Dean."
Brooke Dean...the end of my family line - the name I say over and over again at work, in introductions, that I sign my checks with, my emails with, sign for packages with, sign in at the doctor's office with, that I see in credits...who I see in the mirror.
Brooke Dean is who I am. How do I give that away?
After hearing that my co-worker sacrificed his last name, it got me thinking if I'd ever meet a man who'd be willing to do the same thing. Would he allow me to keep my name? Would he have a problem with me keeping my maiden name for professional reasons? Would he object to me hyphenating it? What if he has a weird last name? :-)
I know most men would argue that their name should be taken so that the family will be a unit, and I get that. Some say it's tradition. "Family" I am very much attached to. "Tradition" on the other hand? Maybe not so much. Maybe in the case of Mr. Lovelace, we can start our own traditions :-)