These days, when it comes to last names and marriage, people are doing it their own way. More than anything else, it depends if you like your last name or not. One of my friends took her wife’s last name because she didn’t like hers. That makes sense to me, and I like the fact that it’s optional.
After all, I’m not a possession being forcibly transferred from one family to another. I’m a real person, with real rights, supposedly. Doherty might not be the sexiest last name in the world, but it reminds me of where my grandfather was raised in rural Donegal, Ireland, and that means something to me. So, if I get married, I’m going to keep it.
But if I keep my last name, the obvious next question in this hypothetical game is: what last name will my children have? Why is my husband automatically entitled to giving our kids his last name?
I would like my kids to be Dohertys. I’m going to give birth to them, for Christ’s sake, so I should be able to name them what I want to. This is when alarm bells saying, “You’re being selfish” start going off in my head. I feel selfish just admitting that I want to choose my children’s names. That’s insane! That being said, how could I do this to my husband and his family? I wonder if they will feel hard done by that I’m taking away something that would otherwise be theirs.
Best case scenario: My kids get to be Dohertys, my husband and in-laws don’t even care, and I can put my rants about freedom to the side 😅 I get awkward nods and blank stares from more traditional friends and family at dinner parties.
Next best case scenario: My husband and I go for a double-barrelled last name i.e. combine both our last names. This is more common where I’m from in England (think Rosie Huntington-Whiteley 💃). This made-up name might actually be cooler than the simple “Doherty”, and will make my kids extra woke about their family identities. But I’ll have to spend the rest of my life explaining equality to my kids and everyone else, who will definitely ask.
Worst case scenario: My kids are forced to take my husband’s name, and I waste the rest of my life burning with indignation. I intentionally ruin my relationships with everyone in his family 🔥 I’m diagnosed with depression and fatigue, and come to resent bringing my kids into the world as pure vessels for the patriarchy 👍.
Conclusion: Doherty is going to appear somewhere in my kids’ last name, either on its own or combined with my husband’s. I better make sure I don’t marry anyone with a last name that starts with D, because an alliterative double-barrelled last name would be way too much to handle 🙃.