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How do you take your last name?

Culture / Lifestyle / August 24, 2014
– Lifestyle with Zann –

There are many occasions when two is always better than one. Ice cream scoops. Shoes. Orgasms. Minutes before you have to get out of bed on a Monday morning. Two wins. Every single time.

Then there are times when two just seems like one too many. Two 4pm deadlines. Two 4am tequila shots. Two former girlfriends in a new relationship, together. I’m sorry, I can’t handle more than one of you, thanks.

As you prepare to marry, the stress of the wedding will probably be overshadowed by the agony of choosing your new last name. Will you take hers? Will she take yours? Will your decision to take hers open up a can of “she’s the man in the relationship” worms from traditional friends and family?

My grandfather was born in the former Yugoslavia, what is now Slovenia. He and my grandmother arrived in Australia after the war with nothing but their love for each other, two empty suitcases and a very Slavic last name. It starts with a K, ends with a C and is hard to write, repeat and remember. Much to my mother’s chagrin, but with my father’s blessing, I started using Michaels at work and then later changed it officially.

My wife’s parents are divorced, her mother remarried, so for us it was an easy choice to both use Michaels. It’s not mine or hers, it’s ours. And now it is our daughter’s. It’s our family name with no history but what we create.

But for many it’s not that easy – they love their family name and can’t imagine giving it up. And in the interest of equality, they can’t imagine taking on their wife’s family name and giving up their own. So-they hyphenate-their last-names.

I have many friends who have double-barreled their last names, and some of them even work. The simple ones like Rogers-Smith or Cooper-Black are manageable. It’s when you come across the Gifford McClymont’s and the Hendrikson-Burtowski’s that I’m left tongue twisted and it physically hurts a little part of my brain.

I find myself channeling every conservative minister and thinking, “for the love of Buddha, think of the children!” Seriously, what happens when little Bobby Gifford-McClymont grows up and marries Charlie Hendrikson-Bertowski and, neither wanting to give up their last name, they become the Gifford-McClymont-Hendrikson-Bertowski’s? Yeah. See, it gets complicated. You can’t even apply for a passport with that many letters.

The answer? If you can’t come to a sensible, child-friendly, international travel allowable solution, just do this – throw the letters of both your last names in a hat, shake it up, pour them out and see how the letters fall. Hazzah! Clare Rodrigues and Harriet Jessop, I now pronounce you Clare and Harriet Groper.

You’re welcome.






Zann Michaels
Zann Michaels
Zann has attempted to be many things over the years. Boat captain. Truck driver. Barista. Rapper. Sometimes these things worked, most often they did not. The only two things Zann has ever been any good at is staying happily married and putting words together that don't hurt your face. @ F* yeah, Zann is our resident relationship guru, sprouting advice like she knows stuff about love. She's like that friend who offers relationship advice when you haven't asked for it. Yeah, you know the one.




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11 Comments

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on October 21, 2014

Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
Please let me know. Many thanks

    Pae
    on October 21, 2014

    Hi Arthur, thanks for your support. We’d be happy for you to share F* Yeah! So feel free to share the link of our “home” page or any of the articles on F* Yeah.
    Thanks again :)

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on September 1, 2014

In our household there are six people. Two mums, four kids. And four different last names.

Confusing much?

Before marrying me my wife was married to someone else and had taken his surname. Naturally her kids (2 of our 4) have the same surname as their father.

My two daughters (both have different fathers, both were raised solely by me until I met my wife)? Both were given my maiden name at birth, but one also has a double barrelled surname with her father’s surname and my surname (at his request).

THEN when we got married my wifey and I chose to join both of our maiden names…

Sometimes it would be nice if we ALL had the one surname, but I think the variety of surnames is a bit of a shout out to the blendedness of our family.

Interestingly, my eldest daughter (7) has started using our double barrelled new surname as her surname as well, something I find particularly sweet!

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on August 27, 2014

My wife and I both felt very connected to our last names. We decided to hyphenate with our individual last name with a mutually selected new family last name. So I am Cora my birth last name – new family last name. She is Colleen her birth last name – new family last name. As adults we knew we could handle the hyphenated names and for professional reasons we both needed to keep our birth last names. Having the hyphen will allow us to share a last name (for emergency hospital visits, etc.) and more importantly our children will have a single last name that we all share. It was the best option we had.

    Zann Michaels
    on September 1, 2014

    So you both use the hyphenated names all the time? Or Just use the birth/new family name depending on the situation? It’s great you found a solution that works for you. And you thought of the children – bravo for that!

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on August 27, 2014

Here’s a tricky one, I’m Jess and I’m happy to take my partners surname – however I imagine there will be serious amounts of confusion when we have the same surname AND the same first name… Yep we are the Jess’s. Bugger.

    Zann Michaels
    on September 1, 2014

    Haha Jess that’s actually really cool! But I can see your dilemma. Right now I’m guessing you’re Jess (last initial) and she’s Jess (last initial) right? Unless there’s another obvious difference between you, which you’re comfortable being defined by eg. Jess-red hair/tall-Jess, then that will be confusing for everyone. With the fluidity of names this is bound to happen in the straight world too, so I say just do what makes you happy. You can always changes it later.

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on August 25, 2014

My wife and I couldn’t decide on who’s surname to take. So we took the first three letters of my surname and the last three of hers.
And now we have our own surname, which our son will pass down. A name built from our love…

    Zann Michaels
    on August 27, 2014

    I love it! It’s great you could come to a solution that you both agreed to. Although we’re both close to our families, I love that we have our own family name. I couldn’t imagine it any other way now.

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on August 25, 2014

As someone who was given a hyphenated surname at birth I wholeheartedly agree with this article. My name was always too long to fit on the school role and the first day of class every term was painful as the teach called out “John?, John? John Kieren?” This was insanely embarrassing in 8th grade where all I wanted was to fit in and not be the girl with the stupidly long last name. Consequently I dropped part of my surname- kept the one that is easier for people to remember. It’s actually my Father’s name though and I can’t stand the guy. So when I wed my lady, I am very happily taking her surname. And because her last name is “Elliott” I’ll have two first names now! Winning!

    Zann Michaels
    on August 27, 2014

    Kieren Elliott totally works! You’re lucky you’re marrying into such a great name.



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