GB and I have been coming up with lists of first names for the li’l parasite (yes, I’m going to eventually need a pseudonym too…first things first, though). We have a short list we like, and then longer lists that we’re kicking around. It’s quite the responsibility, this naming business, and we’ve already given all the good names to the cats. So there’s some work to be done.
But I’m amazed, really, at how much easier first names are. The last-name issue is the one I dwell on.
Obviously, we’ve talked about this. A lot. And we’ve come up with a solution we think will work for us…I’m not 100% on it, but it’ll do.
The last name thing is important. Vitally important. It is, in fact, probably the biggest political issue we will deal with regarding this child.
GB and I are both solidly against the patrilineal-descent standard of naming. We have no arguments there. Neither of us believes for a minute that a baby “has to have” or “needs to have” or even “ought to have” its father’s name. Yeah, we get the whole thing about “including” the father in the birth, and “marking” the child as his own, and all that crap. But, frankly, I think that’s what it is–crap. The kid’s got two parents. Both parents have names.
Part of the problem, though, is that GB is so solidly against the patrilineal model that at age 18 he took his mother’s last name (his mom had gone back to her maiden name, and GB’s dad had decided to create a new last name for himself. I told you they were hippies). So “Bob” is actually a (somewhat) matrilineal last name for him (though of course, his mom got it from her dad, so it only goes so far).
A lot of my friends have told me that they gave their children the father’s name because it was “easier”; because “he cared and I didn’t.” Well, of course he did. And of course they didn’t. We’ve been taught our whole lives that we (as women) shouldn’t care about that–and men have been taught that their last name is important. No big surprises there.
(Despite the way that sounds, I don’t mean that as a knock against anyone who’s decided to give their kids the father’s name. I’m not knocking your decisions. I’m knocking, obviously, the cultural expectation that men should care about their last names, and that women shouldn’t.)
So, okay. Here are the options we’ve considered:
- Both GB and I change our last names to an entirely new name, and give the kid that name. We like this idea. We have a name picked out that we love. The name is possibly, maybe, potentially just a little flaky, though it is a real last name (I mean, other people really have it). We have been solidly behind this idea for a couple months, but we’re kind of chickening out now…first, because the name *might* be a little too flaky; second, because it’s a ton of work; third, because I’m not positive if I want to change my last name now, as I’m just starting to get a smidgen of professional presence. I think we’re putting this on the back burner for now; we might do it eventually, but probably not before the baby’s born.
- Baby gets my last name. This is okay, and was GB’s original suggestion…but it feels to me like GB is being excluded from “the family”.
- Baby gets GB’s last name. Yeah, not so much. See above.
- Baby gets my last name, GB’s last name as a middle name. (Vice versa doesn’t work, because, again, it’s important to me that the baby’s last name not be *just* “Bob.”) This is okay, but still not quite right.
- The dreaded hyphenation. Why does everyone hate the freaking hyphenation? Everyone’s first response: “The name will be too long.” You know what? People have long last names. That’s just how it is. I have a friend whose last name is 17 letters–no spaces, no hyphenation, just 17 letters long. So fucking what? The other response is, “What if the kid wants to hyphenate when *they* get married/have children?” Well, you know what? Then they’ll have to figure this shit out too. Clearly, I think this is what we’re going with.
I don’t love the hyphenating. I wish there was a simpler, more elegant answer. My last name is three syllables, and GB’s is two, and yeah, that is a mouthful. And our names don’t sound fabulous together–not bad, but not amazing. And you know, the kid can decide, when he or she is older, to go with one or the other of its names, or to do something entirely new–GB and I would both totally back that.
For now, though, it looks like it’s going to be Li’l Parasite Buzz-Bob.
And people are just going to Have. To. Deal.
(Any of y’all come up with creative solutions to the Name Issue?)