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Three Men Who Took Their Wife’s Last Name

It’s a marital bliss filled with high fives from female strangers, puzzled looks and erroneously monogrammed wedding gifts

For all of the change these days, studies show that less than 3 percent of married men take their wife’s last name. That means that 97 percent of married couples still adhere to the custom where the wife walks away from the ceremony/courthouse with her husband’s last name, abandoning her own in the process. Who then are these few brave men bucking maybe the most traditional of marital traditions and doing the exact opposite? Well, for starters, they’re the three men below…

Aryon Hopkins (née Hoselton)

My wife and I entered into this discussion from the same place of, what do we do in a more open sense? Not a patriarchal or a matriarchal one, just, what are we gonna do? We had to do something. Hyphenation’s kind of complicated; there’s already so many syllables. My last name is Hoselton, and my wife’s is Hopkins, so we tried Hopelton and Hoselkins. I even tried to get my wife — she’s a doctor — to get a new last name. I said, “What about ‘Thunder’? Dr. Thunder!” She just wasn’t into any of that.

What did matter was, she comes from a long line of doctors. My last name is a car dealership in Upstate New York run by my uncle, which I have no ties to. And when I talked to my father about it, there weren’t any hard feelings. There wasn’t a huge acceptance by my wife’s father. I don’t know what I was expecting. But there wasn’t, like, a high five.

Either way, I wanted to honor her work and her family by taking her name. It was a gift, in some ways. And honestly, just to fuck with people a little bit.

To that end, I like telling people in order to bring up the idea of patriarchy/matriarchy. Even today, we were at the passport office, and they asked for my wife’s maiden name. She said, “It’s Hopkins.” And the lady said, “Oh, that’s so cool!”

I almost want to share my story on The Red Pill subreddit to see what they think. Because I never get any pushback, frustration or people being upset. There’s confusion more than anything else. Actually, I think my uncle was upset. He was like, “You shouldn’t do that to your father.” I told him, “Have you talked to my dad? My dad’s fine.”

It spurs a lot of conversations and helps people think about things, but it’s absolutely never started an argument. I’m disappointed by that actually! It’s mostly been “that’s great!” and high fives from women; the men are like, “Eh.” They’re not upset, but they don’t think it’s that cool. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve one-upped them, like, “I’m looking great in front of my wife and you guys with your patriarchal bullshit,” or what.

All in all, it’s been a good experience, and I highly recommend it if it makes sense for you. But that’s the thing: Don’t do it because it’s different — enter into it because you’re in an equal place. That’s what true equality is: Take his or take hers, and go from there.

Brandt Welborn (née Geyerman)

The number-one reason I changed my last name is because we like to do things differently. Plus, we have different traditional roles. For the past three years, I’ve been a stay-at-home parent raising our children. I’m a very nurturing father, and compassionate with them. They come to me for bedtime stories and things that are usually a mom’s role.

But another reason, and this is an important one, my wife’s parents have three daughters. Her two younger sisters were already married, and they took their husbands’ last names. So my wife’s father didn’t have anyone to carry on his last name. I thought it’d be a cool way to embrace their family. My dad, on the other hand, already had a grandson, and after we were married, another grandson. In other words, he had two boys to carry on the Geyerman name.

Then the third consideration is true but also kind of a joke: I just knew it would take forever for my wife to complete the paperwork and procedures to get her name changed legally. So I figured I’d just get it done.

I think I’d mentioned it once before to her, but the only other conversation we had about it was in the car outside the courthouse as we were filing for a marriage certificate. My wife’s pretty efficient in her decision making. When I mentioned it, she said, literally, “Sounds good, whatever.” She didn’t care, and she might not have ever changed her name to my name.

Her parents said, “Wow, yes! We would be honored! We love that idea!” One of my brothers-in-law had more of a gut reaction. When I told a bunch of family members at once, he laughed out loud. A little while later, with his wife standing behind him with her arms folded, he came up to me and was like, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh. I thought you were joking.” But otherwise, I never get any reaction from it. My friends know better than to give me shit for something like that. Maybe behind my back they do, but I don’t care.

With our grandparents’ generation, however, they don’t understand. They look perplexed, like, “Why would you do that?” I can just see it on their faces. Not to mention, one of our wedding gifts was a glassware set with a big G on it for Geyerman.

I never disliked my own name at all. I had a cool last name, and various nicknames based off of it. Geyerman is a nice-sounding name — a strong one and easy-to-spell. The only thing that doesn’t make sense about my last name is that my dad is adopted. The name is obviously German, but he’s not.

I feel like keeping or changing your name in a marriage is another one of these traditions from our political, social and economic institutions that I’d like to bust wide open. I just don’t care. So if somebody had said to me, “You have to keep your name, the wife always takes the husband’s,” that would have given me more incentive to change my name. I love to stir things up and create something new. It’s existentialist philosophy: You create your existence with every decision you make.

Gregg Bakowski (née Roughley)

I thought it was archaic that women should feel in any way under pressure to change their name after marriage. I didn’t want my wife to feel like that. She’s quite attached to her name, and we both agreed that it’s also a good one. My mom and dad got divorced when I was young, so I suppose I’m sensitive to how much of a raw deal women get when it comes to being left to just get on with things, or accept society’s norms — so in that regard, I suppose I was a bit of a modern man/feminist from a young age.

I don’t think double-barreling is a good option because in the future, where does it stop? Last names would become hundreds of letters long! I did check with my family to see how they felt about it, and my dad said that seeing how he was adopted, the Roughley name wasn’t as rooted in his identity as much as the Bakowski name is with my wife’s father. Also, Bakowski is a cool-sounding name! Maybe if my wife had a last name that I didn’t like as much, we might have stuck to our separate names.

I didn’t hurry to change my name, but when I did, I realized how much of an administrational annoyance it is. Basically, it took about three years to finally stop receiving stuff in the mail with “Gregg Roughley” on it.

I don’t feel any different in who I am with a different name to the one I was born with. Men place too much importance on identity and things like needing their children to carry their family name. That kind of macho nonsense suggests that they’re insecure. You know who you are, and who your children are.