Monday, July 14, 2008

In which I hyphenate

I've been Laura Grow for 25 years.

Chris has been Christopher Nyberg for almost exactly one month less.

I respect personal choice, and while I have a problem with unexamined tradition, I do like tradition that's been evaluated.

That's sort of the problem. I've evaluated the traditions behind a woman taking her husband's name.

Now, let me say this up front -- if you've chosen to take your spouse's name, that's great. It's your decision and I have to assume you've thought it through and made the best choice for you. What follows only addresses what's right for me.

Name is identity, especially when you're a writer. So please, explain to me why Chris's identity is worth more than mine?

Why should I stop being a Grow and start being a Nyberg? I mean, yes, I am becoming a Nyberg, but no less than Chris is becoming a Grow. And while our children will someday be Nybergs, they will no less be Grows (and S[-----]s, and H[--------]s, and P[----]s, and O[-----]es, and... any of the other names I don't even know, that have been forgotten purely because their bearers were female).

I decided a long time ago, and stand by my decision, to either hyphenate or keep my name, depending on how it sounds. My last name is a verb, after all; there are certain combinations that just wouldn't work.

My name works nicely with Chris's, though. I like the sound of Grow-Nyberg.

Makes monograms difficult, though. See, any monogram using N as a centerpiece is just inaccurate. You could do my monogram as LNC, but that wouldn't be my name. You could go the maiden-name monogram route and have LNG, but that eliminates my middle name and proves that my last name is worth less than his. And our joint monogram would either be a giant N -- inaccurate -- or our initials together. LNC or CNL.

Either way, inaccurate again, because it's not my name.

Chris and I discussed this, and we decided that, where possible, we would use the three-letter monogram, but have the center letter be a hyphen. That's right. Our preferred monogram is G-N. Or G-N, if you like (if you can't tell, it's an oversized hyphen). I was worried about accuracy, but Chris pointed out that yes, he will be as much a Grow as a Nyberg (even if he's not hyphenating), and ours will be the Grow-Nyberg household.

I'm not going to be an N, you see. I'm going to be a G-N.

The good

In addition to having Chris on my side as I gently flout tradition, I really like the look of this. Now we just have to figure out a way to get it on the registry information.

Please note that all but two of the surnames have been censored. Chris has given his express permission for his full name to be used.

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