Introduction: Diverse Conversations on Twitter

Recently, I was perusing Twitter, and the usual antics were on display. My timeline is pretty diverse, so different conversations will occur and I will be entertained and intellectually stimulated. One conversation that I saw was posted by the homie @itsMarisaRoss. She posed the following question:

The Question at Hand

If your wife refuses or hyphenates her last name after marriage, would you be mad, fellas?

Personal Reflections and Traditional Views

I saw a lot of commentary from men and women on the issue, and I chimed in quickly, but figured I’d speak on the issue with the SBMassive! Here is my stance on the issue.

Hyphenated Names: A Personal Perspective

Hyphenated names never really resonated with me. I understand the concept of women carrying their father’s last name with them. Women mostly just took a man’s last name because they never really had a choice, and now they want to exercise their right. However, I feel that with marriage, certain aspects should be kept “old school,” and taking a man’s last name as your own is only right.

A Mother’s Perspective on Keeping a Last Name

I remember asking my mother why she kept my father’s last name after their divorce. She would tell me, “It’s MY name, I earned it!” I thought that was so real! She saw it as a badge of entitlement and accomplishment. Let’s be real, marriage is often more desired by women than men. Men see it as “the final frontier” and a loss of self, while women dream of and plan for this day from a young age. Acquiring that last name is like unlocking an achievement. Why would you want to hyphenate it with your old name? My mom is Caribbean, so we have 50-11 names. Mail comes with four different names for her. You’d think the feds were listening…n*gga, what last name?

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Traditionalism and Name Changes

When I get married, I want to proudly present my wife and say “This is my wife, Mrs Metta World Streetz”. I don’t want to drop a hyphen on that sh*t! Maybe that’s me being a traditionalist, but that’s how I feel. Being part of the working world, I understand the need to keep maiden names. It can be a pain to legally change your name on all of your documents, and change your Outlook and all pertinent information. I also agree that a woman’s identity and name are her own. If she hyphenated her name, I wouldn’t be upset. (Or: I wouldn’t be upset if she hyphenated her name.)

Concerns About Children and Hyphenated Names

My one area for concern is children. I do NOT want my children with hyphenated names. It causes crazy confusion for all parties involved. “I remember a dude in my dorm who had a hyphenated last name. Sometimes, I would ask him his name, and he’d skip the hyphen. Other times, he would add it. Curious, I asked him why, and he just *insert shrug text art* and said it depends on how he feels.” I’m big on names, especially my own, and respect for names. That couldn’t be me, and I don’t want that for my kids.

The Importance of Last Names in Families

Women get the joy/blessing of carrying a child 9 months, and some feel it’s their right to be able to name the child with no input also. I can agree to an extent ( a small extent), but damn can a dude get his FULL last name in there at least? How many of these illegitimate kids running around with their dads last name and no hyphens, yet in a married relationship you want them to hyphen? Chill. I think that’s too much. Let them have their dad’s last name. They still carry the lineage on, and hell if I have daughters I would have to cope with that reality too. Your name still lives on with your progeny, regardless.

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Encouraging Open-Mindedness in Name Decisions

Also, don’t be completely adverse to taking your husbands last name. I saw some woman on Twitter say she would NEVER take her husbands last name, and if he didn’t like that too bad. I can already tell she will be forever single with a sign over her coochie that reads “Winter Is Coming”. Don’t be her. Have an open mind, and at least hyphenate.

Finding a Compromise

Women, rock out with the hyphen. If that’s the biggest issue you have with your relationship, you are lucky. Just let the kids rock with the full name.I think that’s a happy medium.

P.S. If you follow us on Twitter, you may already know. But if not, Single Black Male won the Best Blog Design and Best Blog Post Series categories at the 2011 Black Weblog Awards. Thanks to everybody for their support in helping us bring home a couple trophies. Special thanks to Lianne Farbes for the site redesign. We sure as hell couldn’t have done that ish ourselves.