Zoe Saldana’s husband, Marco né Perego Saldana, is catching shit for taking her last name. It’s cool that the guy is taking this step, especially when he’s this prominent of a dude, as it’s kind of a ridiculous tradition that only women must give up their family name upon marriage.
But while it’s a cool feminist gesture for men to take their wife’s name, why should either partner take their partner’s familial name? Isn’t the point of marriage to create a new family? Shouldn’t you create a new name? Don’t you know that all names are made up?
Look: My last name, Hershberger, is not the most sonorous-sounding name on the planet. It’s the sound that would come out of the Swedish Chef’s mouth if he was trying to say say “hurdy-gurdy” while gargling marbles. And its meaning is even less exciting: it means “deer mountain” in German. I fucking hate deer, and the only nice thing I can say about mountains is that they’re a place you can get drunk sometimes. And I’m not worried about being “the last of the Hershberger’s,” because if you’ve ever been to Amish country, you can’t shake a butter churn and not hit a Hershberger.
Steph’s last name is a little nicer sounding: Albanese. But it means “Albanian,” which I’m not.
We’ve toyed briefly with the celebrity moniker Hershbanese (which I actually love), after having thoroughly rejected the Applebee’s special Albaberger, but now, we’re kind of at an impasse. It just seems too silly. We don’t want our kids to have the six-syllable and billion-letter hyphen “Hershberger-Albanese,” but we’re just going to not worry about that for now.
The answer, though, is simple: we should invent something new.
The name “Smith” is an occupational surname for Blacksmiths. They chose to take on that last name, that’s the only reason they’re called that. And the only reason there’s a Smith everywhere is because there had to be a Blacksmith in every town, and apparently a long day of pounding metal makes you DTF.
So why do we cling to these names? They don’t mean that much anymore: I’m German by descent, but I’ve never actually been to Germany and I’ve never danced around a maypole or whatever it Germans do in their spare time, so there’s no reason my last name should be German. It should clearly be American. Rather than trying to absorb my subservient wife into some broad, barely-connected clan of people who like deer and mountains, I should start my own clan. And my clan should be reflective of my family’s character.
Matt BeerKing. Matty Nosocks. Matty Nopants. Matt Naplord. Matt Chucklesworth.
This is just a preliminary brainstorm. Steph probably won’t be on board with the socks one. But the point remains: there’s no reason we shouldn’t be inventing our own names.
Featured photo by Gwen.