April 18, 2013

"Although I would never ask her to take my name unless we were legally married..."

"... I am somewhat uncomfortable living a life together as a committed couple when she has another man’s name."

Unbelievably assholian question from a man in an unmarried relationship with a widow (who took her first husband's name and lived with him, under that name for 20 years, and has continued with the same name for the last 5 years).

183 comments:

Tim said...

Oh Lord Jesus, another self-absorbed prick.

Ain't nobody got time for that!

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Yes Ann, apparently men who have feelings are just being assholes, if those feelings somehow affect a woman and her right to choose (her name.)

What is the point of this nothingburger of a post?

What if it was two gay guys, would the guy still be an asshole? Or just get turned on by it?

Matt said...

"Asshole" seems a bit strong. He is not saying, "Take my name or else!" However, "stupid" would seem an apt descriptor.

bagoh20 said...

Can we also keep the 8 X 10 of the ex-husband on the nightstand?

Dante said...

Well, Ann, women made men the way they are, by selecting the males that procreate. Remember girlwriteswhat.

So if you don't like these feelings in men, blame your sex, and leave the poor guy alone.

Mitch H. said...

Well, he's an asshole for "living with" a widow. But she's a fucking prick for doing so as well. So fuck you for making it a masculine thing, Professor. Both parties are dicks, and I pity the deceased and any spawn he and the faithless, miserable bitch who insists on "honoring" him in such a idiotic fashion, might have produced, no doubt to be neglected by such a pair of narcissistic shits.

Matt said...

When my wife and I married, I told her I did not care if she kept her name or took mine - just no hyphens!

What word would use to describe that?

As it happens, she dropped her middle name for her last name and took my last name as hers.

Inga said...

Why should she go through the legal hassle of changing her name unless she marries him?

Matt said...

See, I reserve the word "asshole" for folks like Mitch. Seriously, wtf?

bagoh20 said...

I would be willing to get rid of everything I could that reminded my new live-in partner of my ex, if I loved the new one. The name would be logistically hard, but that's the only thing that would stop me. If you could easily do it, but simply won't, then you aren't ready to start a new serious relationship, and should tell them that you are not fully available at every level to them. So then, in that case, is it really worth putting up with the dutch ovens?

Inga said...

Wow Mitch, maybe the widow needs to wear sack cloth and ashes and live in a cave until she dies. Since when is having a relationship with another person cheating on a dead spouse? So what if the live together, they are mature adults.

Irene said...

When I was engaged to marry, I taught in the South. A couple of students in my large-lecture class asked what my surname would be after I married.

Before I could answer, the TA interjected and said, "Oh, she'll probably be one of those women who hyphenates her name." Ha. Mr. Irene and I still get a laugh out of that story.

bagoh20 said...

I'm not getting married to anyone unless they already have my last name. The search continues.

The Godfather said...

The assholian part is the assumption that they will be "living a life together as a committed couple" without being married. That's called "shacking up", and there's nothing wrong with it (except it's not "committed" no matter how many times you say it). While you're shacking up, neither of you has any business telling the other what name to use. If you decide to make a commitment, this is one of the issues you need to resolve.

66 said...

Irony abounds.

Howard said...

Sack-cloth is for whores. Mitch would only be satisfied if the widow-slut had thrown herself on the funeral pyre.

chickelit said...

I always pictured Inga not so flat-chested and thought that she kept her hair out of face.

Renee said...

I hate hyphen too.

Made my maiden name, my middle name. People still tried to hyphen it.

Maybe we just need to stick to keeping our birth name, it's strictly cultural.

Lamar said...

Is the guy's name John Kerry?

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

My kids always said I had eyes in the back of my head, boobs, not so much.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Dear Althouse:

My number 2 wife will not change her name to my name. My number 1 wife is upset and thanks she is being disrepected.

Number 2 wife's husband wants me to change my name to his name. I'm not comfortable doing that. Am I just being a reactionary?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Won't take his name but I bet she'll take his money.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Inga said...
Wow Mitch, maybe the widow needs to wear sack cloth and ashes and live in a cave until she dies. Since when is having a relationship with another person cheating on a dead spouse? So what if the live together, they are mature adults.

4/18/13, 6:12 PM

No she should have been buried alive with her husband.

chuck said...

Women have names?

chrisnavin.com said...

First, they take apart marriage, and then they only give you some 'hip' advice columnists and wool-headed ethicists to sort it all out.

Paco Wové said...

"I would never ask her to take my name unless we were legally married, I am somewhat uncomfortable living a life together as a committed couple when she has another man’s name"

I can't tell what this guy is asking. He says I would never ask her to take my name unless we were legally married, but it doesn't sound like he wants to get married, so WTF does he want?

fivewheels said...

I think he wants her to use her maiden name.

Paco Wové said...

Typical WaPo reader -- masculinity & self-esteem threatened by a dead guy.

Amartel said...

Don't all women have another man's last name, at least before they get married?

And why does every post about men v. women have to degenerate immediately into an absolutist gender rights blame festival? It's tedious. For every hardass feminazi there is an equivalent hardass ... manazi (?) I guess. Could we possibly admit that;
(1) we've all met these people;
(2) they're not limited to one sex as opposed to the other; and
(3) they're really boring.

Ann Althouse said...

If he's not marrying her, his complain is outrageous bullshit!

I can't believe anyone is taking the other side (except out of a desire to yank my chain).

He wants her to change her name to her maiden name, to purge the other man out her. The other man was her husband for 20 years and he is now dead.

This guy needs to step up or shut up.

He's a complete asshole.

Everyone here who thinks otherwise needs to explain why in a much better way than anyone here has done yet.

campy said...

threatened by a dead guy

A dead man is still more of a man than the typical WaPo reader with an XY.

Bob_R said...

The only unbelievable thing is that they decided to leave it up to some bimbo from the WaPo. The question is believably assholian. He's "concerned" that keeping her married name is an indication of a strong commitment to her the family that still has two college-age kids floating around. (That's 60th trimester fetuses for the WaPo crowd. I guess that he expects less of a commitment to them.) Of course, he's not willing to pop the question. Probably worried about the tax consequences. It's only other people who should pay higher taxes.

Tim said...

fivewheels said...

"I think he wants her to use her maiden name."

Maybe so.

But so what?

As long as they're shacking up, not married, what does what she calls herself matter?

He says "they're committed."

Yeah.

Only so much though.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Matt,

When my wife and I married, I told her I did not care if she kept her name or took mine - just no hyphens!

What word would use to describe that?

As it happens, she dropped her middle name for her last name and took my last name as hers.


That's what I did. I insist on the "Dulak" (my maiden name) in honor of my parents, because we have no children and my younger sister died childless.

Tim said...

Paco Wové said...

"Typical WaPo reader -- masculinity & self-esteem threatened by a dead guy."

Could be worse.

Could be a NY Times reader.

Inga said...

I would never change my married name unless I remarried. I had 4 kids with that last name and even though three of them are female and took their husbands names, I still have a son who shares the name with me.

If she is divorced and hated having her husbands last name and felt no emotional connection to it, that's a different story.

Inga said...

Actually, my son probably be highly pissed at me if I ever changed my last name without marrying someone else. It would be dishonorable to his father.

Amartel said...

And yes, he's being an asshole.
She has 20 years of identity under dead husband's name. Maybe kids with dead husband's name.
He's clearly only examined one side, his side, of the issue. He has feelings, is uncomfortable, but he hasn't considered the feelings of the woman to whom he is supposedly committed. He clearly realizes that his feelings are inappropriate since he hasn't brought the issue up to her.

Sam L. said...

No, Bill RoT, they build a big fire and throw her in it, or the Indians (subcontinental) useta did til the Brits put their feet down.

Me, I married a divorcee a long time after my first wife died, and she didn't move in until then. Kept my kids/her kids in mind.

chickelit said...

He wants her to change her name to her maiden name, to purge the other man out her. The other man was her husband for 20 years and he is now dead.

After my dad died my mom remarried a widower. She sold her house and moved into his. She insisted that they get all new furniture because it reminded her of his old wife. She waited to get hitched to spring that on him though. Names and things

Jason (the commenter) said...

#1 The guy was smart to ask an advice columnist before explaining his feelings to his significant other.

#2 Some women like assholes and perhaps this is what attracted her to him.

Marshal said...

"Unbelievably Assholian" suggests you've led such a sheltered life you don't understand the scale.

Jay said...

Ann Althouse said...

He wants her to change her name to her maiden name, to purge the other man out her. The other man was her husband for 20 years and he is now dead.

This guy needs to step up or shut up.

He's a complete asshole.


The only asshole here is you.

In asking for advice, he even says at the end of his letter Am I being silly, or do I have a valid reason for my feelings? We agreed that we would “Ask Amy.”

I'm also old enough to remember when women like you would whine that men would not share their feelings.

This man is trying and look how you shit all over him.

Asshole.

Renee said...

Instead of a wedding ring, we should tattoo the name of our loved one on our ring finger.

fivewheels said...

I was just answering the question.

i will not argue that she should change her name, but I do think the objections are odd. Althouse says, "He needs to step up or shut up."

Does that mean if he "steps up" he then gets a say in what her name is?

Also, the premise here is that he should be considerate of her feelings and defer. I don't disagree. But does she owe him any consideration of his feelings at all? If they're together, they must be at least somewhat compatible in outlook ... couldn't this be a reasonable point of discussion?

(Please don't assume facts not in evidence about my position on any of this.)

cubanbob said...

If he wants that level of commitment then he should marry her.

Inga said...

"Instead of a wedding ring, we should tattoo the name of our loved one on our ring finger."

4/18/13, 7:04 PM

And then when they die, we would have to chop off that finger.

Jay said...

He wants her to change her name to her maiden name, to purge the other man out her.

What a shrieking bunch of silly bullshit.

The man says no such thing.

You're an asshole, hack.

chickelit said...

Instead of a wedding ring, we should tattoo the name of our loved one on our ring finger.

A ring could cover that but still no plug no holes.

Jason (the commenter) said...

#3 Maybe her first husband's last name was Hitler.

chickelit said...

Try that again...

A ring could cover that but still plug no holes.

chickelit said...

Hey, Jason's back! Cool!

Jay said...

Notice how the shrieking hysterical feminist goes berserk and conflates "we" with "he"!!!

My God, get a grip. Instead of picking on a guy struggling with an advice columnist, why don't you spend some time thinking about the pathetic, hypocritical response you put forth in trying to defend your indefensible position on polygamy vis-a-vis game marriage?

Asshole.

Chip Ahoy said...

@6:05 What word would use to describe that?

antihypenite

You see, if she retains the previous husband's name then it will be a constant uncomfortable reminder of the cock she once knew so intimately, and now she knows... this.

traditionalguy said...

Let me get this straight. He is living in sin with her but it is her fault that she once lived in Holy Matrimony which now makes him feel uneasy in comparison...so she needs to fix that uneasiness for him by doing anything short of making an honest woman of her.

AprilApple said...

Assholian! me love that.

Mitch H. said...

It's the shacking up that pisses me off, not the crap about the name. Marry, or live apart. I have no patience for this fiddling about living-in-sin business.

Life is short, and getting shorter minute by minute. Either you believe in a God, and you ought to be worried about the living-in-sin aspect in the face of an eternity of regret, or there isn't an afterlife, and you're wasting every precious not-to-be-replaced second not being serious about the only not-to-be-seen-again urgent Now.

So, assholes both. And fuck y'all who thought I would somehow insist on eternal widowhood. Only that women be as fucking serious as they want their men to be.

Me, I'm a drunken, faithless monk, celibate, worthless and waiting for the day of damnation like the rest of the pagan scum.

fivewheels said...

Speaking of assuming facts not in evidence, a lot of people seem to think that he is the one who doesn't want to get married, when the letter doesn't say that and he seems to want the traditional stuff. Just sayin'. And yes, if he wants to get married and she doesn't, he can deal with that in other ways (like moving on).

Inga said...

Mitch maybe you would be less drunk and crabby if you got you some honey. :)

Freeman Hunt said...

The man is helpful by signaling so clearly that he should be dumped.

traditionalguy said...

I know what will meet his needs: She can begin to wear a wedding ring set and she can file for a legal name change to his last name. But they do marry so there can never be a divorce.

Dante said...

I can't believe anyone is taking the other side (except out of a desire to yank my chain).

I didn't know your chain could be yanked. Seriously, you have to let us all know when you let your chain get yanked.

Here's the deal, Ann. Females select mates, and men tend to be highly jealous of their women. In fact, the number 1 fear of a guy in a relationship is that the gal is going to cheat, and the #1 fear in a gal is the guy is going to leave her.

So seriously, this is nature. You ought to be glad the guy is in touch with his feelings. Probably women don't have these feelings as strongly, but I've heard that when it comes to women marrying a guy who has kids, once hers come along they tend to pay less attention to the kids from the previous mate.

What's the surprise here?

edutcher said...

Calm down, Ann, the red hair is showing.

Ann Althouse said...

If he's not marrying her, his complain is outrageous bullshit!

I can't believe anyone is taking the other side (except out of a desire to yank my chain).


No, this is a guy thing.

The feminists have bitched for 40 years about the patriarchy and how oppressive it was to take a man's name when (if) they married (a guy, not a woman) (of course, it seems not to have occurred to many of them "their" name was, in fact, Daddy's).

I can see a guy wanting to be with a woman for the rest of his life, but not wanting to refer to her by her husband's name. If you want to see this as a property thing, be my ghost, but it's no worse than the whining we've heard from the Lefty women all these years.

PS Truth in advertising, The Blonde was happy to change her name when we got married (anything to distance herself from her ex).

Jason (the commenter) said...

Mitch H: It's the shacking up that pisses me off, not the crap about the name. Marry, or live apart. I have no patience for this fiddling about living-in-sin business.

They might end up with a love child!

Mitch H. said...

Inga, why would I curse a woman with my miserable ass?

Rabel said...

"Everyone here who thinks otherwise needs to explain why in a much better way than anyone here has done yet."

If the "otherwise" in question is that he is not a "complete asshole" then I would be glad to take that side of the argument.

Assuming that the letter represents his true feelings and is not a pose, then:

1. He did not ask or demand that she change her name. He simply expressed his feelings of discomfort and sought outside advice as to the appropriateness of his feelings.

2. The female was in agreement with the decision to seek advice.

3. Judging from the tone of the letter, I would say that he is already whipped. Totally. Whipped like a Roman galley slave.

4. I don't see those points adding up to "total asshole," although the term is not well defined and could be subject to individual interpretation. Perhaps you could cite the OED for clarification.

Paco Wové said...

"No, this is a guy thing."

No, I don't think so. He seems to want the widow to jump through some major hoops for him without doing much in return. If he wants her to change her name, he ought to at least give some incentive for doing so, like, say, offering marriage. If she doesn't want to marry and doesn't want to acquiesce to a name change, perhaps he should take this as a signal of a fundamental incompatibility.

Inga said...

"....but I've heard that when it comes to women marrying a guy who has kids, once hers come along they tend to pay less attention to the kids from the previous mate."

4/18/13, 7:21 PM

Dante makes a good point here.The complications of blending families can be very stressful when the children are still young.

Coketown said...

He comes across as having an assholier-than-thou attitude.

Inga said...

I don't know Mitch, quit being miserable and find out.

Eustace Chilke said...

Legal marriage is out the window. It just just doesn't know it yet. What will fill the gap is being worked out couple by couple. Neither of this couple knows what to offer or ask for before settling into whatever flavor of marriage they end up with. I don't think the guy's question is about names only. He's trying to sort out how married he wants to be and whether she's on the same page. Either that or he's an asshole. I think there's not enough info to make that call.


On a side note; I've been waiting for couples who want a marriage that's legally indissoluble to chime in with "Wait a minute, what about us?"


Take the state out of it, work out the kinks in tax law and common law and the rest and let people take up space on the marriage spectrum wherever they're comfortable. This approach is probably doomed because it's sensible though.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The guy is threatened or uncomfortable because she won't change her name if he decides to shack up with her? Really? The woman has children with the same last name. Is he threatened by the children TOO??

Unless they get married, and even then, there is no reason on earth she should abandon the name that she has used for the last 20+ years.

My father got remarried as a widower about 25 years ago and his new wife didn't change her name. She still uses her married name. The last name of her children's father. Occasionally she will be addressed by my father's last name, but it doesn't make any difference to anyone, least of all my father.

Patrick said...

Hmmm. Yeah, how dare he ask...

Nomennovum said...

Where is this "Assholia"? I want to move there. Tell me about their tax regime.

bagoh20 said...

Why should she change it to his name if they get married? They could still break up a month later, so why does marriage make a difference?

Mitch H. said...

I don't know Mitch, quit being miserable and find out.

With women like you in the world? Not going to happen. Anyways, women, children and dogs all cry out in horror at my approach. Clearly I've the devil's mark on me.

I think what I find offensive in this all is the reverse of the classic "go forth and sin no more" reproach. In that story, the woman is to be stoned for mutual adultery with the man nowhere in evidence, to be stoned for his sin as much as the woman who shared his offense. This story is missing the agency of the widow, at least as presented.

No, I haven't read the link. I prefer to take this on the surface level: evil man, carrying the sin of the offense off into the desert like a Judas Goat. Or does the Professor's disdain for "whatever makes the woman look virtuous" only carry when her sympathy is not engaged?

edutcher said...

Inga said...

....but I've heard that when it comes to women marrying a guy who has kids, once hers come along they tend to pay less attention to the kids from the previous mate.

Dante makes a good point here.The complications of blending families can be very stressful when the children are still young.


It depends. In the old days, an old gag went, "Ma's kids and Pa's kids are beating up on Ma's and Pa's kids".

Armstrong Custer, both of whose parents were widowed with children, recalled his family was sufficiently close that it was sometimes hard to remember which kid belong to which set.

Kit Carson had similar memories.

Nomennovum said...

Everyone here who thinks otherwise needs to explain why in a much better way than anyone here has done yet.

So ... you're requiring us to read the article, then?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

it will be a constant uncomfortable reminder of the cock she once knew so intimately,

This is the real issue. Maybe she could get one of those artifical hymens and he could pretend she is still a virgin.

My husband(been together for 20 years now) and I have a pact. We don't talk about our Xs unless in a very general way or share any stories about our Xs or previous other relationships. It is pretty obvious at our ages that neither one of us is "plowing new ground". So what?

The guy should just be upfront with her and explain his unease and she should try to minimize the ghost of her dead husband in the relationship. But....unless they get married she keeps her name.

Actually, my son probably be highly pissed at me if I ever changed my last name without marrying someone else. It would be dishonorable to his father

I sort of agree in some respects with this. However, YOU had a happy relationship that didn't end in a bitter divorce. Shortly after my divorce I contemplated changing my name back to my maiden name. I and certainly DID intend it to be disrespectful. It was MY choice. Not my child's.

Inga said...

Oh it always comes back to that evil, evil Eve.

bagoh20 said...

He could love her more than any man ever did for the rest of their lives, but she should not change her name back to a neutral one for him, but if he's a jerk and a distant husband, she should changer her name to his (not a neutral one) for him.

I'm not getting this marriage thing? I thought it had something to do with love, and give and take, but it sounds like some kind of bill of sale now.

fivewheels said...

Look, I don't feel the way this guy does, but I'm not 100 percent unsympathetic. Because I think that would be assholian too.

I don't see why he has to be an asshole for asking if this is a sign of her level of commitment. Maybe the answer is clearly "no", but let him ask.

And I suspect it's a gender issue. If the guy had, say, a tattoo with a picture of his ex-wife and her name, would it be OK if the woman asked an advice columnist if it was appropriate for her to feel that he should get it redone and covered up? It's his body, he's lived with it for years. Would you read that letter and say she's an asshole? I rather doubt it, even if you thought he should be able to keep the tattoo.

chrisnavin.com said...

Ann, clearly this man is a victim of the patriarchy. He has so thoroughly internalized the codes of said patriarchy, and the wife too, in 'standing by her man,' that they deserve your pity.

If you get back in at the Temple Of The Seven Sisters, they may let you become a scribe and dispenser of advice for lost souls such as these..

It takes a village, nay, community, to help these men become adjusted to the new free, equal, and socially just political economy.

Nomennovum said...

I have to call bullshit on this whole thing. No man would ask a woman love life advice.

Paco Wové said...

"it sounds like some kind of bill of sale"

It's war, bagoh20, war to the knife!

bagoh20 said...

"Everyone here who thinks otherwise needs to explain why in a much better way than anyone here has done yet."

Let's not pretend your mind is open to change on this. The position is set, it's all about the defending and feathery displays now.

Amartel said...

"Oh it always comes back to that evil, evil Eve."

OH, it always comes back to that evil, evil Adam.

Who's fighting and what for?
(Just saw Crossfire Hurricane last night.)

Æthelflæd said...

cubanbob said... "If he wants that level of commitment then he should marry her."

Yup.

bagoh20 said...

If you leave me your car in the will, I'm taking down the fuzzy dice and the spinner rims. I don't give a shit. Those have to go before I'm driving it around, and I sure as hell won't be caught washing it like that.

Baron Zemo said...

We don't have enough information.

What if her husbands name was Hitler. Or John Edwards. Or Sandusky.

Let's not jump to conclusions.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Bago

I'm not getting this marriage thing? I thought it had something to do with love, and give and take, but it sounds like some kind of bill of sale now.

Changing your name to be your husband's shows commitment and a willingness to join into his family group. It is a tribal thing in a way. Changing your last name is really a big deal for a woman...or anyone I guess. Besides all the legal paperwork....you have to learn to write a new signature. The unconscious writing of your name suddenly becomes a unfamiliar motor action that you have to concentrate on. It took me forever to get comfortable writing my new married name. Now my handwritten signature legibility SUCKS :-)

The name change is a thing that most men have never experienced but it is a very weird shift in that you no longer are calling yourself by the last name that you grew up with, that you have known all your life, that everyone else has known you as. It doesn't really change your personality or identity.....but yet it does, if your marriage is a true marriage. You become a blended entity. Husband and Wife. Separate and distinct in many ways from each other but also blended into a new entity. The blending of two different metals in jewelery is call "married metals". It creates a beautiful new substance where both metals (copper and silver) can be plainly seen, but yet create a blended harmony of something new.

Taking your husband's name is a cultural thing. I suppose the husband could take the wife's name and that often happens in other societies. Native American tribes often had the man go and live with the wife's clan and take their identity. It is a way to show, that you are committed to your spouse's clan, family, identity. That you take his family as your own.

In today's society it isn't mandatory, but it certainly isn't slavery or identity theft.

Nomennovum said...

Everyone here who thinks otherwise needs to explain why in a much better way than anyone here has done yet.

A wife -- common law or otherwise -- takes the man's surname. Always.

-- Nomennovum Eimakunt

bagoh20 said...

To be fair, at marriage both people should change their names to some third neutral name. There; problem solved, and this guy wouldn't have to ask.


Cheers,

Kunta Kinte

phx said...

Changing your name to be your husband's shows commitment and a willingness to join into his family group. It is a tribal thing in a way.

That makes perfect sense and for anybody who wants to belong to that tribe it's great. Why would anyone care what the other tribes are doing?

Anglelyne said...

edutcher: Truth in advertising, The Blonde was happy to change her name when we got married [emph added]

Yeah, when you got married. The gentleman in question is not married to the lady in question, so it's silly for him to be fussed about a tradition he's pointedly not participating in.

...of course, it seems not to have occurred to many of them "their" name was, in fact, Daddy's).

This line of reasoning probably didn't "occur" to them because it's irrelevant to the actual reasoning by which any woman I knew who kept her name, kept her name. "I refuse to take some man's name!" had nothing to do with it. They kept their name because it was their lifelong name - you know, just like their husbands kept their lifelong names.

"Haw haw haw bet you didn't know you already had some man's name darlin' haw haw haw." Uh, no. I think they knew that.

phx said...

In my tribe the man and the wife keep their own last names and take each other's last name as their middle name.

Why would I be offended if you did something different?

phx said...

Or how about this for futility, "You did something different. You're wrong!"

Nomennovum said...

Why would anyone care what the other tribes are doing?

Why do the Red Sox care what the Yankees are doing? Why would leftists care what the righties are doing?

bagoh20 said...

Our mayor Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa was born Antonio Ramón Villar, Jr., when at 34 after two children to a former wife, he married his second wife Corina Raigosa. He changed HIS family name to Villaraigosa, a combination of both names. He then had a very public affair with a TV newswoman and was divorced by his wife. He failed the bar exam 4 times, so we just call him Tony.


chickelit said...

A traditionalist might associate a family name with a patrilineage passed down generation to generation by males. In a sense, it's just a name for the Y-chromosome passed down. Girls borrow their father's name and then borrow their husband's name (or not) but they never "own" the chromosome.

As marriage morphs more and more from a familial tradition to a social conjunction, there really is no reason why the old-fashioned naming traditions should survive. It might ease genealogical studies (both on paper and in the lab) but if there's no genes passing, why bother?

Couples--especially childless couples--should be free to experiment with naming. They may never get to experience the sublime pleasure of naming children instead of pets.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That makes perfect sense and for anybody who wants to belong to that tribe it's great. Why would anyone care what the other tribes are doing?

Who said I did. I don't care what other people do. Really, I don't care what anyone one does as long as it doesn't affect me, you aren't torturing animals, buggering children and you don't ask me to pay for your lifesytle.

I was merely trying to explain the rationale of why someone would take their spouse's name, husband OR wife, man OR woman.

bagoh20 said...

" chuck said...
Women have names?"


I'm sorry ladies, but that did make me laugh out loud.

Anglelyne said...

bagoh20: To be fair, at marriage both people should change their names to some third neutral name. There; problem solved, and this guy wouldn't have to ask.

Nah, family names, family connections, being a member of a particular social unit of mother, father, siblings, a sense of being a link in a chain, having a history, matters. I would say using the father's name works best for a lot of reasons. Not all patrilineal systems require the woman to ditch her own name, though. No poncy SWPL-y hyphenation thing, either.

Inga said...

What was Adam and Eve's last name?

Freeman Hunt said...

"And I suspect it's a gender issue. If the guy had, say, a tattoo with a picture of his ex-wife and her name, would it be OK if the woman asked an advice columnist if it was appropriate for her to feel that he should get it redone and covered up? It's his body, he's lived with it for years. Would you read that letter and say she's an asshole? I rather doubt it, even if you thought he should be able to keep the tattoo."

No, not his ex-wife, his dead wife. If the guy were a widow, and the new woman wanted a tattoo of the dead wife removed, the new woman would be the one asking an assholian question.

phx said...

@chickelit you know what they call your legal married name in the hood. That's your "goverment".

Browndog said...


He's a complete asshole.

Everyone here who thinks otherwise needs to explain why in a much better way than anyone here has done yet.


Quick!

Somebody get Althouse some hormone therapy before she beats the shit out of Meade with a book!

Assholes all!!

Inga said...

Eve Rib?

Freeman Hunt said...

Widower, I should say.

Inga said...

Adam Dirt?

Nomennovum said...

Really. Who gives a damn what surname your wife or live-in takes? As long as your children take your last name. That's the important thing. Well, that and male heirs.

chickelit said...

What was Adam and Eve's last name?

God? (or translated into whatever language they spoke).

BTW, what language did Adam and Eve speak and who taught them?

Freeman Hunt said...

Dead spouses are not exes.

Freeman Hunt said...

Bet her kids hate this guy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Dead spouses are not exes.

However, sometimes the opposite can be true /wink.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm getting tired of my cutie pie little 5 year old avatar. Time to change into something more appropriate.

Inga said...

The serpent taught Eve. She taught Adam.

Anglelyne said...

bagoh20: I'm sorry ladies, but that did make me laugh out loud.

S'okay, bag. You make us ladies laugh out loud a lot. (With you, not at you.)

Nomennovum said...

Time to change into something more appropriate.

Don't.

fivewheels said...

Freeman, is it different for an ex-wife and not a dead wife? He's still lived that way for years.

Either way, does the man deserve what Ask Amy demanded for the woman? "Give your loved one complete and total freedom to do what she wants to do."

Again, I'm not asserting an opinion here, just declining to call people assholes.

bagoh20 said...

"Nah, family names, family connections, being a member of a particular social unit of mother, father, siblings, a sense of being a link in a chain, having a history, matters."

But isn't he usually, eventually, unavoidably an asshole, and do you really want to drag all those people into your mistake, and mark them for life with it.

You could tell him up front:

"I love you, but you will probably disappoint me or piss me off eventually, and we will all either hate you or pretend to, so let's just use the family name "Ointment". We'll be "The Ointments". Then later, after I take your stuff and kick you out well go back to our own names."

"Now do you take this woman..."

Freeman Hunt said...

"Freeman, is it different for an ex-wife and not a dead wife? He's still lived that way for years."

Absolutely. There's a huge difference.

"Either way, does the man deserve what Ask Amy demanded for the woman? "Give your loved one complete and total freedom to do what she wants to do." "

I don't know. I skipped over the advice.

Freeman Hunt said...

Oh, but on the name, no, there's no difference. What's he doing trying to make her change her name? What a weirdo. She should date someone else.

bagoh20 said...

"If the guy were a widow, and the new woman wanted a tattoo of the dead wife removed, the new woman would be the one asking an assholian question."

I can see that, but what if the tattoo of the ex-wife was right below his belly button?

chickelit said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
I'm getting tired of my cutie pie little 5 year old avatar. Time to change into something more appropriate.

Go back to Barb Finger. That was a cool and original.

Freeman Hunt said...

He writes that they agreed to "ask Amy." I bet that went something like this:

Him: "I just don't see why you can't change it."
Her: "Oh, this again."
Him: "Why not? What's the big deal?"
Her: "Ugh."
Him: "Change it!"
Her: "Get bent."
Him: "I think we need a neutral third party to weigh in on this."
Her: "What?!"
Him: "Yes, I think you are being totally unreasonable, so I think we should see what someone else thinks."
Her: "You're crazy."
Him: "I could send it to Ask Amy."
Her: "Whatever."
Him: "Okay. I'll do it tonight."

phx said...

One ideal image of love is a partner who will say "Of course whatever you want to do."

bagoh20 said...

He's not demanding that she change it, he's asking Amy if he should even ask her to. Do you think he should not even bring up the question?

How many times do women say "If you loved me, you would...

1) Get rid of that friend, the hot blonde.

2) Take out the garbage

3) Shoot yourself

Sound familiar ladies?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Go back to Barb Finger. That was a cool and original.

My husband says I'm like a dog with a bone when I get fixated on an idea. Maybe this one?

Freeman Hunt said...

No, he already asked her, and she said no.

Freeman Hunt said...

"How many times do women say "If you loved me, you would..."

Who says that? Ha! Do people really say that?

bagoh20 said...

"No, he already asked her, and she said no."

OK, but that's just her opinion. Who wears the pants?

Inga said...

Freeman, no they don't.

chickelit said...

@DBQ: That looks like a large mammal femur fished out of the La Brea tar pits. They're all stained black like that. You have old volcanoes up there don't you? Are there any tar pits?

bagoh20 said...

"Who says that? Ha! Do people really say that?"

I have no idea, I was just hoping it was that simple.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Who wears the pants?"

He wears the short ones.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

One ideal image of love is a partner who will say "Of course whatever you want to do."

Yeth...dear. ....whatever you say...cupcake....sweetheart.........darlin'

Inga said...

Scotsmen wear skirts.

bagoh20 said...

Chickelit, a comment like that needs context. I thought for a minute there that you took the brown acid.

bagoh20 said...

"That looks like a large mammal femur fished out of the La Brea tar pits. They're all stained black like that. You have old volcanoes up there don't you? Are there any tar pits?"

I'm gonna try that line, if I ever have a romantic moment when it fits the mood.

bagoh20 said...

Seriously Chicklit, I'm still laughing. That sounds just like a line from one of those bad lip reading videos.

MarkD said...

People ask serious questions of advice columnists? I thought it was an entertainment industry fed by frat boys.

Nothing in this question changed my mind.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

You are hypersexualized, bagoh20

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"That looks like a large mammal femur fished out of the La Brea tar pits. They're all stained black like that. You have old volcanoes up there don't you? Are there any tar pits?"

I'm gonna try that line, if I ever have a romantic moment when it fits the mood.

LOL

Anglelyne said...

bagoh20: But isn't he usually, eventually, unavoidably an asshole, and do you really want to drag all those people into your mistake, and mark them for life with it.

Well, yeah, but in my case if anyone was gonna be the asshole, it would've been me, so tradition would have been best for all concerned.

chickelit said...

Bagoh20, I'll bet DBQ knew exactly what I was talking about.

Howard said...

The GF is the more assholian for not dumping the guy. She's probably living in his house and he's probably paying her kids college. They are made for each other.

chickelit said...

What's the non sequitur? Haven't you ever been to the tar pits? All the bones look like that.

The pits were named by the earliest Spanish explorers who passed through the L.A. basin. Here, go read some early L.A. history, especially footnote [25] link

Paco Wové said...

"I'll bet DBQ knew exactly what I was talking about. "

"Hey, baby, got any (raises eyebrows) ... tar pits around here, if you know what I mean?"

bagoh20 said...

"You are hypersexualized, bagoh20"

Hardly; I don't even own a miniskirt to match my red leather pumps.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Chicklit

I did. Many diatamaceous earth deposts under the lava flows, obsidian, hot springs everywhere....no tar pits. Unless you want to count the local biker bar.

:-)

bagoh20 said...

"Haven't you ever been to the tar pits?"

It's just about 8 miles from here, I had no idea that kind of thing was going on there. Is there tar pit wrestling now?

Paco Wové said...

I could say ow ow ow ow oww-owww-woww-wow-owww
And I'll bet DBQ would know what I was talking about
I mean everyone would know exactly what I was talking about
Talking about hot tar on the soles of my shoes


Ok, I know the tar's not hot. Artistic license.

bagoh20 said...

If you have been to the La Brea Tar Pits museum, there is one certain bone that is by far the most common. There are literally thousands of them from the now extinct Dire Wolf. Is that the bone you're talking about?

this one

Patrick said...

I note the Professor's 6:42 comment consists of a series of factual assertions (which are true), followed by a conclusion (with which I agree). It lacks, however, any reasoning to support the conclusion beyond "how dare you."

I recall reading somewhere how pathetic that is.

chickelit said...

Is that the bone you're talking about?

No, I'm talking about the bone in DBQ's avi.

bagoh20 said...

" Haven't you ever been to the tar pits? All the bones look like that."

I'm gonna practice that line too if you don't mind me stealing it.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

The one thing I did not like in the answer was Amy saying, "Your feelings are valid because they are your feelings." That's baloney. People can have unjustifiable feelings, or nurse feelings of resentment. This guy's thinking is nuts and so are his feelings. He probably has a lot more of the same in store for her.

Toy

bagoh20 said...

That looks like a dog to me. You have to be hypersexualized to even see a bone there.

edutcher said...

Inga said...

What was Adam and Eve's last name?

They didn't need any. They were the only family in town.

The serpent taught Eve. She taught Adam.

No, it lied to them and led them astray.

Just like the Lefties.

David said...

Ann Althouse said...
"If he's not marrying her, his complain is outrageous bullshit!"

But he has feelings! His feelings should be respected, no matter how silly they seem. Are only the feelings of non assholes to be respected? Assholes are people too.

I'm not entirely kidding about the feelings. My wife kept her divorced first husband's name after we married. This was all right with me. She had used that name for 25 years, her children had the name, she had published a book under the name and nearly everyone knew her by that name. Plus we did not live in the same community as her ex.

If it had disturbed me, she might have made a different choice.

Some people find this strange. The confusion comes when there is some event where her ex is around. Especially for the hotel room clerks.

Æthelflæd said...

bagoh20 said...
" chuck said...
'Women have names?'

I'm sorry ladies, but that did make me laugh out loud."

It's okay - it made me laugh out loud, too!

DADvocate said...

Assholian, yes, absolutely. And, I'll have to remember that wonderful word.

"Asshole" seems a bit strong.

No, a little too weak if anything. She should dump the dude. Someone this self-centered and/or insecure will never make a good companion.

bagoh20 said...

Speaking of bones: I have a woman's liver, and I'm missing a rib. I'm about 49% female. There has got be some victim status somewhere in the code for me. I want that freaking awesome victim attitude installed at once. I had my dog go to the polling place for me and vote to make sure I didn't vote for Obama. I hope the bitch didn't betray me. If I find out she did, I'm definitely going to change her name to something like Fido or Spot or maybe Shithead like the dog in "The Jerk".

Æthelflæd said...

If you could train your dog to say, "Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi,"...well that might qualify your dog for something.

Browndog said...

Men don't have emotions. If they do, but they don't, may they suckle forever on Inga's poison tit, while Althouse screeches "ASSHOLE!!" in his inner ear...

dumbass

tiger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Anglelyne said...

Truth in advertising, The Blonde was happy to change her name when we got married

Yeah, when you got married. The gentleman in question is not married to the lady in question, so it's silly for him to be fussed about a tradition he's pointedly not participating in.


More truth in advertising, she considered taking my name before that, if only to ditch her stalking ex.

exiledonmainst said...

"The one thing I did not like in the answer was Amy saying, "Your feelings are valid because they are your feelings." That's baloney. People can have unjustifiable feelings, or nurse feelings of resentment. This guy's thinking is nuts and so are his feelings."

Yup, I think you pegged it.

My sister, a widow, married a widower 3 years ago, when they were both in their late 50's. I think he would have have liked it if she had taken his name but was not upset when she didn't.

But then, he's an adult.

exiledonmainst said...

"If they do, but they don't, may they suckle forever on Inga's poison tit, while Althouse screeches "ASSHOLE!!" in his inner ear..."

He hasn't married her, but is bothered by her name.

Yes, he's an ASSHOLE!!

And I am not, by any means, a militant feminist. (My position on abortion automatically disqualifies me from the Sorority of Womyn.)

Ben said...

I don't know, I get the guys point. I'm a bit of a monogamist, I haven't dated a ton of girls and I got married young enough that none of my peers were married.

It'd be awkward dating someone with kids or with mementos of a previous husband laying around or the name of him, bumping into friends that knew (even preferred?) him, etc.

The guy might be a whiny bitch for taking his problems to the internet but I can understand the unease he feels.

When I get my wife jewelry for Christmas or a Birthday or whatever it's not just metal and stones, there is a connection and meaning there. I could understand if I kicked over and another guy felt odd about it. Maybe I'm overly sentimental or whatever but that's just the way it is.

But cripes. Don't take your problems to the Washington Post. That's why God invented beer and a Weber grill and guy friends.

BAS said...

This sounds like a fake letter to me. I think people send those for fun sometimes to see if they will get printed.

chickelit said...

It'd be awkward dating someone with kids or with mementos of a previous husband laying around or the name of him, bumping into friends that knew (even preferred?) him, etc.

Good reason for him to run like hell.

Carl said...

Yeah, right. Whereas when the new girlfriend demands that the sheets the old girlfriend bought for the bed be not just washed but thrown away -- why, that's just normal. I mean, slightly territorial, sure, like when she "accidentally" washes the white shirt the old gf got your for Christmas with her pink socks. But pretty much understandable.

Dante said...

To be fair, at marriage both people should change their names to some third neutral name. There; problem solved, and this guy wouldn't have to ask.

Ann Rice, the Vampire novelist, made the interesting point that maternal lines have more certainty to them. It's a small thing for the guy to get the name.

Rliyen said...

When I got married, my wife gladly took my family name. Went from 10 letters to 4. My last name is easier to spell, too. =o)


And for the point at hand, the guy's an asshole.

Saint Croix said...

He's just ignorant, that's all. If she goes back to her "maiden name," she's going back to her father's name. Which is another man's name, dummy.

If you want it, put a ring on it.

Saint Croix said...

oops, I said "it."

Saint Croix said...

maternal lines have more certainty to them

Of course! You're pregnant, everybody knows you're the mom. We give the children the father's name to identify dad in public.

Fatherhood is biologically insecure, and marriage is designed to protect it.

And also to protect women from rape. Taking the man's name makes a woman feel more secure (my man will protect me) while making the man feel more secure (my children are mine).

The Gold Digger said...

I would be willing to get rid of everything I could that reminded my new live-in partner of my ex

A dead spouse is not an ex.

1charlie2 said...

Well, as someone widowed in my 20's, and remarried some years later, I call bullshit on you AND on Amy the advice columnist.

I'm pretty sure he's insecure about his place in her life. And that is NOT unusual.

My second wife (married 25 years now, thank you) and I discussed it at some length as we started getting serious, and she admitted she'd wondered for quite some time where she fit into my life. And I'd "put away" my prior life, as it were.

This guy has only been dating a widow for a few months, but he's having serious feelings for her. And I think he's fixing on the name as a proxy for larger (and understandable) insecurities about how he fits in with the ghosts of her past. And in this case, it's not she divorced some S.O.B. -- she may cherish her time with her husband.

If I'd known this guy, I'd have told him "Are you sure it's her NAME that you're wondering about ?" And told him to discuss questions about how he fits into her life with HER, not some advice columnist.



Oh, and from what I can tell from when I attended a group for people widowed young (strongly recommended, by the way), a women customarily did keep her married name if widowed. Divorcees often used to revert to maiden names, but widows not generally.