Tag Archives: Names

What’s in a Married Name?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been handling the catering orders for our Jabberwocky Audio Theater recording sessions and revisited one of my life’s perennial sources of both comedy and drama.

People get flustered with my name.

This, in and of itself, is not an issue. It’s more when people seem to feel that I somehow picked this name just to make their lives more difficult is where it gets annoying. All of you with “odd” names know exactly what I mean. Despite all logic and personal experience for how people are named, the flustered person gives you a look that says, “Why did you choose to name yourself that and do this to me?”

I mean, I have mused before that perhaps I should have adopted a pen name for my writing, but it’s arguably too late now.

And people do choose how to name themselves all the time when they get married, though I would argue the flustering still belongs entirely to the flustered person, who really needs to get out more.

Nevertheless, since it’s so statistically unusual for a man to take his wife’s name, Carolyn Kitchener decided to write about it over in The Atlantic. There’s also some interesting follow-up in the form of letters from readers.

It could be the background studying anthropology and history, but I’m still surprised that some people are so adamant that the wife change her surname to the husband’s. My favorite solution is to combine the names into a new one (no hyphenates), but not all names are compatible in this regard.

We could also all go to a single name a la Javanese tradition, but the resulting head explosions from bureaucrats and record-keepers worldwide would make Krakatoa look like a solitary bus backfire.

What’s in a Name? (Internet Age Edition)

Any name factors into one’s identity whether it’s unusual or common. Not having visited Scandinavia, I’ve only ever met one other Bjorn in person. Names are fascinating, arbitrary things. So what do you make of someone who has the same name as you?

Julie Beck, the recipient of an uncommon yet not unique name, details her quest in The Atlantic to find all the other Julie Becks in the United States. Perhaps because a name is so personal by design, we always seek to find commonalities with someone with the same name — even if there are none. In many ways, I wouldn’t know: there’s too few of us Bjorns over here.

The article also introduced me to the site HowManyofMe, which –be warned– will occupy more than a few minutes of your time as you start plugging in names of family and friends. That inevitably lead to Google searches.

Therefore, I will soon inform various family members of their doppelgangers’ exploits. I may be the only Bjorn Munson in the U.S. though. I’m sure there’s more Munsons and, more properly, Amundsens, back in the old country.

And as it happens, I like Bjorn Amundsen’s cinematography.