Thursday, November 12, 2009

on names, mostly

This has been a good week so far. On Monday I got a job! I am not working yet, as I had to have a background check done, so I am spending this week in limbo hoping that everything works out and I can start work soon. Yesterday I had a job interview at a printing company, but the interview only last about 2 minutes (they were dealing with a printing emergency) so I don’t know if that will lead to anything, but is nice to feel like I may have two options. Unfortunately the job I just got may not start for up to two more weeks, which is frustrating. I need money! So I’m praying that all the paperwork for me and the others starting at the same time as me gets here quickly. I haven’t worked since August, and while most of that chunk has been vacation I am at the point where work would almost be welcome, and money would definitely be welcome. So, prayers are appreciated. I, personally, would like to start on Monday or something. Until then I’m enjoying my time off, of course, but as I said it grates on one.

Yesterday I also discovered that we can most likely get our Save the Dates (STDs, get it??) printed for free! I am so thrilled about this, as we are of course trying to save money wherever possible. One thing I should make clear—saving money for me does not mean compromising on what I want. That’s not how I roll. It just means being creative and coming up with something that I like/love equally to other options.

Because of that, and my desire to get all this stuff printed, I’ve been working on the address labels for our invitations. Because we’re having them printed in Canada, they need to be addressed in Canada, and I am too nice to put my poor father to the task of hand-addressing them all. So I figure Miss Manners is rolling over in her grave (is she dead?) because I dare to send out invites with, shock & horrors, printed labels! But then, no doubt, when she sees how these are addressed there will be more grave-rolling and shocks and horrors.

I get so mad when I find myself reading the “proper etiquette for addresses” sites. “If a man and woman live together but are unmarried, the names go in alphabetical order” BUT “if a man and woman are married and have different last names, the woman’s goes first”. Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that if you happen to live with a man, but aren’t married, you don’t really count as far as common politeness of ladies first. PARDON ME. Then, on the flip side, I am also irked by “Mr & Mrs MAN’SNAME Lastname”. Damn male ego.

All that said, I’ve decided to take David’s last name. I’ve given this a lot of thought. I don’t agree with doing tradition for tradition’s sake. If I believed that I’d have never converted! So I gave a lot of thought to the reasons why I’d like to keep my own last name vs taking David’s. My biggest, well only, quibble with his last name is that it is too English! But can you blame me? My own Grandpa with the Scottish last name was someone I never met, never had a chance to know. All the grandparents and great grandparents and relatives I’ve known have been Ukrainian or Mennonite, with Ukrainian or Mennonite traditions. And changing my last name feels like losing the last little bit of instant connection with that tradition. I’m not a practicing Mennonite, I don’t have a particularly foreign first name, but damnit that last name is a connection.

And then I thought some more. Thought about the negative stories I’ve heard about long dead family members. And I thought—no more. This is my statement, long dead relatives, that I am choosing to take my fiancĂ©’s last name, because I am saddened by the stories I’ve heard about you. Maybe they’re coloured by recent bitterness and the passage of time, maybe they’re true. But I state that negative cycles of behaviour are stopping here, and as a sign of that I am changing my name so that you can have no claim on me unless I choose to claim it myself.

I’m proud of my father, and I’m proud that for 26 years I’ve born his last name. I’m proud to be a Mennonite, and I’m proud of the values I learned growing up. There is absolutely no way I would renounce that. But now it’s on my terms. You see, with a little thought all things to do with weddings can take on great significance. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am not one to ever think people should get married quickly! There is too much to consider! Everything has significance, and thought must be applied to it.


  1. This was something that Amber and I talked about a lot. I mean a whole lot. One of the benefits to being in a same-sex relationship is that there aren't societal norms saying what you should or should not do.

    She's very connected to her family and it means a lot to her. I am, too, but not the way that she is. We've opted to take her mothers Maiden name (she was raised by her mom almost exclusively). We'll both be Watts'es.

  2. I was all for taking my Grandma's maiden name, but also thought that was stretching it a bit.

    I don't know about you, but I'm intrigued by couples who choose to make up a new last name.

    And I must say, re: your choice--I absolutely love couples who choose their last name for such a touchingly personal reason. All the girls on OBB who keep their stepfather's name or adoptive parents' name make me tear up a little.

  3. I had suggested once to Amber about making up a last name, just to see if she was interested. It was definitely not something she wanted to do. Family is WAY too important to her and I absolutely understand that. I just think the act of creating a new name, basically a new lineage, is fascinating. Also, it's SO going to screw with Historians who can't figure out who's related to who!