Friday, 29 November 2013

Who chose your last name?

Traditionally men are stuck with the name they are born with while, as adults, women by marriage choose their surname.  If wealth or a high status job is involved, both men and women keep theirs.  In recent years, thanks to feminism, more women and men act like the wealthy and retain their birth names.  It's even illegal for a woman to change her name when marrying in Quebec.  Where does this lead?  (Typo fixed. Used to say "keep her name")

His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander
Louis of Cambridge with fans.
It makes it hard to tell who is married.  Almost half the house plans I see at work are for couples with different last names.  Marriage is such a powerful argument against single parent homes and against the state standing "in loco parentis" that subversive information about marital status is suppressed.

Where else does it lead?  To hyphenated children.  This may work until the second generation when hyphenated young women and hyphenated young men marry up and have to decide their kids surname.  You'll be getting cute little Judy Bradstone-Moore-Wang-Jenkinses.  After three generations of this nonsense, chaos.

Names have to be practical.  Why have a war over patronymics (borne by males who had no say in their name) or matronymics (borne by females who also stick with a name they had no say in choosing)?  If the last name is connected to status and wealth, a simple accounting test can decide the little nipper's surname.

A modest proposal:  Everyone gets a unique alphanumeric name, like a Postal Code.  "C" for Canadian, "BC" for British Columbia" and "1490078" for my birth registration number.   I'd be CBC1490078 in the phone book and '78 to my intimate friends. There'd be no more struggles between wealthy families and the fractious sexes.

Footnote:  Longest on record:  Captain Leone (d. 1917).  Leone Sextus Denys Oswolf Fraudatifilius Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache 

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