Whipped, or the different name thing

My wife and I have different names. Not in the first name sense, that’s a given, obviously, but our surnames are different. My parents did something similar, except that in their case my mother hypenated her name to include my Dad’s name. We’ve actually not changed a thing. My name now is Owen C. Jones, as the domain name suggests, and hers is still as it was before we married about 18 months ago.

It hasn’t caused the slightest problem so far. Occasionally, people make assumptions, and a good few people can’t remember “what [we] ended up doing with [our] names”, but the end result is the same. We are two people with two names. It’s funny though, the things that people assume our names are. Most often, people assume that we are both called whatever the name of the first one of us they met is. If they’ve dealt with me first, then she is Mrs Jones. If they deal with her first then I get called by her name.

Stupid stuff people have said:

  • How will anyone know that you’re married — We tend to tell them if they need to know
  • (To me) You must be whipped, to let that happen — No, I’m just not partriarchical, or obsessed with continuing my nominal lineage
  • Why wouldn’t you change it? It’s free when you get married — Milk is free at Starbucks, but you don’t have to have it.

Stupid stuff that is actually the case

  • If I travel alone across borders with my son, border authorities automatically assume that I’m not his father.
  • If I call our gas/electricity/mortgage/bank/pet insurance etc., supplier, and give my real name, they refuse to deal with me on Data Protection grounds, but if I lie and say my name is the same as hers, they don’t. …and all manner of other weird stuff.

The child

Like I said before, we have a kid, and he’s actually not got my name at all. This is a decision that we took together, and to be quite honest it’s a combination of her enthusiasm to continue her unusual name’s heritage, and the apathy that being called Jones invokes in anyone called Jones to continue the name Jones. I just don’t give a toss if he has my name or hers. We briefly considered other alternatives like a hyphenation, but then he has a different name to both of us, and even a hybrid name, but that’s just fucking silly. He has his mother’s name. It’s a nice name, and the reason that I agreed to this was that it really doesn’t matter.

Just by-the-by, he has my middle name, which is my Mother’s maiden name. This is because this too is an interesting name, and because we thought it would be nice continue it, after my mother took the trouble to continue it with me.

So far, the whole name business has caused me no trouble except to have to annoyingly explain it.


Originally published at owencjones.co.uk on January 15, 2015.

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