What Was Your Father's Bachelor Name?

What Was Your Father's Bachelor Name?

What Was Your Father's Bachelor Name?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 31 2009 3:15 PM

What Was Your Father's Bachelor Name?

On the subject of matrimonial name-changes , Josiah Neufeld has a piece in the Globe and Mail about his own decision to change his name to that of his wife. There's all the usual angst that comes with a semantic switch of identity, plus some gender-based scorn from the relatives (they think he's joined a "matrilineal cult"), plus a kind of lexical void: What does a man who assumes a new name call the one he leaves behind? As Nuefield puts it, "I need a good title for my maiden name: 'former name' is boring; 'ex-name' sounds like a cast-off lover; 'birth name' implies I was adopted; 'unmarried name' evokes a monastic twin who hasn't called since moving to Tibet." What say you, commenters?

Kerry Howley's work has appeared in the Paris Review, Bookforum, and the New York Times Magazine. She is currently finishing a book about consensual violence, ecstatic experience, and the body.