Friday, April 11, 2008

Naming--Part 1

I've always been fascinated by names. I remember the Olympics where Picabo Street was popular, and the commentators talked about how she picked her own name when she was little and her parents had to get her a passport. I was incredibly upset when my girl cousins were born, their names rhymed but mine didn't. I love palindromic names. I love the meanings behind names. I used to do that numbers thing with names.

So when I was seriously dating (and a bit before), figuring out the name situation was very important. I liked my name, and I was always a little wary of changing it. If a name is your identity, then changing it marks a change in your identity. And yes, it does make sense to change one's name at the time of marriage because that is a significant identity shift. But I do think it is very sad that there isn't an established societal norm for men changing their names. They're missing out (and no not just in the sadistic high school way of making people suffer like I've suffered).

But here's the flip of the coin. Just because one gets married, one's WHOLE identity changes. Basic personality, characteristics, temperaments, interests all remain the same, and that should be honored too. On top of that there's respect for where one has come from. There's a whole history attached to a name: individual, familial, and cultural. And this weekend I was really glad for my hyphen because it held my familial contacts tight.

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