Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Taking Her Name, Part 2

“I believe more and more women will be requiring that their husbands take on the wife’s last name,” writes Elise Sutton, undoubtedly the most influential Internet voice on the subject of Female Led Relationships. “This is a societal dynamic that is still in its infancy but it is starting to become a trend that will continue to grow with each generation.”

But Ms. Sutton’s has not been a leading voice on the subject of “Taking Her Name.” As she explains, “I was once asked why I didn’t require my husband to take my last name. I explained that we decided not to buck that societal tradition out of respect for our parents. But that was over twenty years ago and society has changed a lot since then…”

One online forum that focused on this controversial issue was the old (as in “defunct,” alas) Spouseclub message board, or “Spousechat,” which was active between 2001 to 2003. Ms. Lynda, the board’s most prolific contributor, was a particular advocate of observing all patriarchal conventions in reverse, but she was by no means the only true believer on the topic, as you will see. There follows a “Taking Her Name” sampling (also available on this blog’s Spousechat Archive) in roughly chronological order:

As you know there is a small but increasing number of men who legally take their wife's name when they marry, which I hope will become a topic of discussion in this group. It seems to me that a man taking his wife's last name is the ultimate expression of spousehood.

Today a man who takes his wife's name can do so with pride and respect for his wife's status and accomplishments. As stated, a man who takes his wife's name pays tribute to women’s hard-fought and well-deserved current status, when he says he is honored to be known by his wife's last name. I find the large number of men taking their wives names today to be a very encouraging sign of the acceptance of the coming more matriarchal society.

In taking her last name, I acknowledged my wife’s leadership. I hope more men will consider taking their wife's last name as their own. This is most important when a wife has an important career. Why should she give up her identity? Let her celebrate her accomplishments. By taking her name, I can celebrate them also.

At the age of 28, I got married last year to a woman who is 5 years older than I am and, as the IT Manager she earns twice more than I do. I know nothing about matriarchisism, but it was an obvious choice that I should be the one who will gladly take her name as my own. After I legally changed my previous name and put her maiden name in all my documents, we both thought that we did a good thing and she is very proud of me.

My fiance and will be married in 4 months. She proposed to me. She is a very high powered partner in a large law firm. I have a Liberal arts degree. Needless to say she does and always will make more money than I will ever do… I read in a post here about the husband taking the wife’s name. Now that I think about it, it would be silly for her to change to my name - what for? Her name is a whole lot more relevant. I will discuss it with her. I would be proud to have her name.
We also talked about the name issue. She was going to keep her name regardless anyway so it’s up to me if I want to take her name. I feel that taking her name is a clear indication of our new roles and is a way that I can express to her and the world that she is the head of our household. I t am not sure how to do it legally, but I would be Mr (her first name) (her last name).

Take your wife's name and become Mr. (her first name) (her last name). In this way, you can tell society that your family is a female-centered household. If she is the head of your household, should you not be proud to announce it? Why should she give up her identity? Let her celebrate her accomplishments. The large number of men taking their wives names today is a very encouraging sign of the acceptance of the coming more matriarchal society.

In Sweden, where it is very common for the man to take the wife's name and where there is a growing number of househusbands, the groom is often presented to the bride. In a civil ceremony I attended, the groom was bound to the bride with a white cloth before he recited his vows to her. He promised to "love, honor, and obey"; she was a matriarchist and refused to be bound to him for her vows to him… It is good that you have decided to take your bride's name. I did it because my bachelor name was so difficult to write and say. However, I also wanted to do it because she is the Head of the Household.

My husband is as much a man as anyone. He chose to take my name in marriage because I had the career, his name was impossible to pronounce, and, we chose a life where he is subordinate to me. He shows a lot of strength as a househusband and stay at home dad. He had the example of many of his European friends. IT IS HAPPENING. As women get more power, they may head their families; there is no shame in admitting who the head of the house is.

[My wife Barbara] was always so bossy and demanding that I knew what life with her would be like, and, I accepted my role in the relationship. I am strong enough in my masculine abilities that I do not care that I am Mr. Barbara. It is great knowing that there are others. I thank Barbara for being the boss; I could not have done the job she has done. We are a well adjusted family because of her leadership and drive.

I will graduate from college this spring, and, the chances of my getting the higher paying job are great. My offers have already far exceeded what my boyfriend has been offered. My major has always paid more than his; my boyfriend has said he will move where I decide, will be a househusband if needed, and will support my career. I asked him if he would take my last name as his own in marriage. I was surprised. He said, "With honor and pleasure."

I and many others of us believe that power in relationships should belong to the female partner. In short we are "matriarchists." We believe that not only individual relationships but the world in general would be a far better place for all of us if women held the reins of power… As such we very much regard the question of "name changing" as a matter of power and gender, and believe that the question of who takes whose last name should be determined by who holds the power in the couple, and we believe that should be the female.

While people thinking matriarchal marriage is relatively new, I know several men who desire this life, and have found it with the women in their lives. In two cases, the women were medical doctors who could not take their husband's name in marriage. The husbands then took their wife's name in marriage. Both stay at home and take care of the house. One is a lawyer. Her husband works for his wife as an investigator. However, he is home in time to prepare and serve meals.
I recently married one very powerful woman; she is the leader in all things… Long live the matriarchy! And yes, I took her name in marriage so that any one might know who is at the center of our household.

I am getting married this fall, and my future Wife does not want to change Her name. We talked about me getting a new last name that is my name, hyphen, and Her name. But reading a couple of other posts here on the subject, I will ask Her for permission to adopt Her last name. If I, who believe in the matriarchal marriage and family structure, should not spearhead such a tradition, it will never happen.

I'm a 34-year-old man who's about to get married to the Woman of my dreams. We share the view that She's more fit to have the final word on important decisions in our life. She will be the natural head of the family, and I will do everything I can to support Her in Her career. Thanks to a post earlier about men taking their wives' last names, I've just decided that that's what I want to do: Take Her last name when we marry.

I am glad you are taking your wife's last name in marriage. My boyfriend is doing the same later this summer when we marry. Will you also be Mr. (Her First Name) (Her Family Name) for formal purposes?

I am getting more comfortable with my status in the relationship… I am comfortable taking Lynda's last name… At parties or gatherings, are you ever known as Mr. Lisa? I am comfortable with Ms. and Mr. Lynda BJ as our formal address as I think it opens new ground for a career woman.

As far as names, my name since marriage is Charles (Lisa’s last name). I took it from the beginning. However, I've never used or been called Mr. Lisa (LLN), by anybody. Women have always taken their husbands last name, so I don’t see what the big deal is.

This is the evening I will get married… Both my mother and future mother-in-law are ardent feminists. They have been very supportive of our decisions, including my soon to be husband taking my name and letting our family address be Ms. and Mr. Lynda BJ in the most formal sense… [After the ceremony] his mother said, "I entrust him to you for further training and love. He is a good boy who needs the direction of a strong woman. Let him be your helpmate." It was my time to cry.

Although I took my wife's last name when we got married, I've never been called Mr. Lisa (her last name), but I must admit after seeing the list [posted here recently] (i.e., Mr. Betsy B. English, Mr. Catherine Morecold, Mr. Sarah McCowlick, Mr. Senator Mary Shearman, Mr. Senator Jayne Tocsin, etc.), it does make me wonder. Ms. and Mr. Lisa Smith (not real last name). I must admit there does not seem to be a more true act of open devotion and subordination.

I know that you are Charles most of the time. [But you should always] be Mr. Lisa when being addressed formally. My husband will also keep his masculine name forever. However, I do intend to always address him as Mr. Lynda in public. Someone must begin to set some new standards… The other day, I called my husband Mr. Lynda in front of friends because my mind went blank and I could not remember his male name. (I was very tired; it came back to me within a nanosecond.) He just laughed and said he enjoyed it! I enjoyed it too.
How do you feel being addressed by me as Mr. Lisa? You are still Charles, but, you are also part of the Ms. and Mr. Lisa (Smith) matriarchal clan.

Ms. Lynda, the fact that you addressed me as Mr. Lisa, without first asking me, really says a lot about you. You obviously are decisive and have no problem making decisions for men. You made the decision to call me Mr. Lisa without my input. Even though I do not know you, this little thing made me feel very subordinate to you, in a very positive way. The fact that you call me only by this name is a constant reminder to me of my place. Thank you.

How did last evening go? What did you serve to [Lisa’s real estate] agents for dinner? How did you serve? Does Lisa hire men as well as women? Are you more comfortable around women than men? What would happen if the women agents brought the men they were dating or to whom they were married? I also hope you took one moment to introduce yourself in terms of Ms. Lisa being the head of your family. “Welcome to the home of Ms. and Mr. Lisa Smith.”

Ms. Lynda, I regret to say that I do not have the courage to do that yet. What I did do however, was when I greeted them at the door, I introduced myself only as “Lisa's husband,” not saying my first name. The first woman, Cathy, did not pick up on this, and asked me my name. The second woman, Terri, had a little bit of fun with me. She said, “Nice to meet you Lisa's husband, I'm Terri. So do you have a name of your own or shall I call you ‘Lisa's husband’ all evening?” I replied, half jokingly, “Yes, it's Charles, but I answer to ‘Lisa's husband,’ ‘Hey you with the apron,’ or even ‘Mr. Lisa.’ Terri laughed and said “Well, I see this is going to be fun.”

Dear Mr. Lisa, Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I think you did the right thing in your introduction. As I said before, you are still Charles; I just think it is as important to be Mr. Lisa Smith as shamelessly as possible.
Now, Mr. Lisa, I have decided to always ask a man if he enjoys being called Mr. Lisa Smith. Men have expected women to give up their names so easily and for so long. Even if a couple will take the man's name, a man should have the feeling of being called by his wife's first and last name as the family name. I would hope that this would create even more respect for his wife. I think junior and senior high school-aged boys should be required to write the name of their girlfriends like Ms. and Mr. Lauren Tyler.
Give the honor and prestige to Lisa by also being Mr. Lisa Smith. After you have done it, ask yourself: How do I feel giving up my identity? What honor do I give Lisa by proclaiming her leadership in our family?
I was at lunch today with five other women who will be getting married within the next year and a half. Three are keeping their names in marriage. Two are taking the name of their husband. I asked each to ask their boyfriend how he would feel taking her name in marriage. My point is that he may have a greater respect for her and her role in the family if he realizes what she is giving up. I think I am going to make it a mission of mine to encourage young women to ask that questions of their future spouses. I am for freedom for everyone. I just want the matriarchal to stand shamelessly with the patriarchal.
Have you shared with Ms. Lisa about being Ms. and Mr. Lisa Smith?

Lisa and I have decided that from now on we will be known as Ms. and Mr. Lisa Smith, thanks to you Ms. Lynda. I decided to take this step because I feel I need to do more to further the new matriarchy, and hopefully this will generate questions and comments from women and men. I must admit, it may possibly be a little uncomfortable at first. I am going to the stationery store today to order some stationery (envelopes, address labels) with the name Ms. and Mr. Lisa S., so I guess today will be my first test as to how I will go about this. But anyway, I will let you know how it goes. Lisa's mother (Catherine) shares most of Lisa's viewpoints on this matter, so of course she thought it was a fantastic idea. As a matter of fact, Catherine is a member of a local feminist group, and she has been talking for a long time about having Lisa and me as guest speakers at one of their meetings. I can hear her now introducing us: “Please welcome my daughter and her husband, Ms. and Mr. Lisa S.”

I am so very proud of you for taking the step to become Ms. and Mr. Lisa Smith. And, I feel a special closeness to my sister Lisa. How did yesterday go at the stationery shop? Were you waited on by a male or female clerk?

The female clerk was quite surprised when I told her the names I wanted on the items I was ordering. When I explained it to her, she thought it was the greatest thing that I was actually taking my wife's name. She told me that I was a really enlightened man and that she wished more men were like me. I think this is typical of the reaction of most women.

I am the husband of a very important woman, and I have become Mr. Her with few problems. It has been great finding other men who have adopted both the wife's first name and last name for the family. I also agree with not using “my wife” as often as we do. Have any of you used “Woman and husband”? We did at our wedding ceremony, and I noticed that Ms. Lynda and her husband did the same.

When we were married over 15 years ago, I took my wife's last name in marriage, but kept my name for professional reasons. In other words, only the closest family members and children knew of our family by my wife's name. At home, I would be Mr. Her, but in public I stayed Mr. Me. But I was so inspired by [many examples of husbands taking their wife’s name] that I took the step and changed my driver's license and other ID to my wife's name. I also told church members, and others that our family would be known as Dr. and Mr. (Her First Name) (Her Last Name) in formal settings. Except for the “That's cool” and “You are too pussywhipped,” no one seems to care. Her mother thinks it is the most wonderful thing since sliced bread. She loves to introduce me to her friends. I even think she has forgotten my first name.

I sometimes am referred to as Mr. S____, my wife's name. While she chuckles about it, I get a very nice sensation that comes over me. Looking back on our relationship, she has always been the dominant partner. I offer my opinion, and defer to her decision always! I believe that as a male within an FLR everything (big or small) that I can do to overtly place her first does, in fact, create those sensations and ripples that underscore actively sublimating the masculine to female authority. Not as an act of sacrifice or even submission, but rather more of attunement and congruence with what I experience as the more natural relationship.

Mrs. Louise and I were married last year and were fully aware of our roles before we walked down the aisle. I took her name. No, not secretly and not just on paper. We walked into our reception as Ms. and Mr. D. (her name) and I've never looked back.

It was through our discussions that Mr. Lisa decided to become Mr. Lisa in the most formal of ways. We know several men who are doing this. We hope that it becomes more and more. In your group, how many men are known by their wife's last name?

Most are legally, but all are known that way in our personal group.

Like Ms. Lynda and Ms. Lisa, I make it easy for my husband to submit to me because I do love him. By the way, while it is no big thing, he also took my last name when we married. I tease him about being Ms. and Mr. Amazon Warrior/Woman.

(End of Part 2)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Taking Her Name, Part 1

There’s an aspect of wife-led marriages that gets scarcely a mention in my books, and not much on this blog either. It has to do with a husband adopting the wife’s surname—either at the altar, legally, or before the world or selected friends, socially.

This practice of rebranding the groom with the bride’s family name just didn’t seem like “mainstream” FLR to me, if you can say that of an already unorthodox lifestyle. But I suspect it is becoming more common among the younger set of female-led couples, especially among college, post-collegiate and young career-makers for whom feminist assumptions and principles have become second nature.

Times are changing, tables are turning. So I decided to revisit the provocative topic, and, as usual, let others do the talking. (In my own case, it wasn’t till the advent of kids that my wife made the legal switch from her family name to mine; had she known then as much about FLRs as she does now, I believe I’d have been the spouse doing the name change.)


I’ll start with a wife-worshipping husband dealing forthrightly with what he regards as a non-issue:

“I believe that yes, the man should take the wife’s last name. The argument that the wife’s last name is really her father’s is somewhat true, but if you feel, as I do, that an individual is a person, not just an extension of her parents, than the last name is HERS, not her father’s. In any event, you worship your wife, not her parents.
“Could it be that the argument about names is really an easy way for guys to keep from having to take this public admission that yes, the wife is in charge? There comes a time to Walk the Talk, and we should take on the wife’s name and be proud of it. I would go one step further and use Ms. and Mr. Her Full Name on return labels, stationery, etc. (we do).”

What about the effect on parents and kids? Elise Sutton addresses these issues:

“The feelings of parents and future children should be taken into consideration, but if a couple truly wants to make a major societal statement and is willing to endure a little persecution from the dying patriarchal system, the practice of a man taking his wife’s name could be powerful. The fact that women are beginning to consider this option is further proof of how society is evolving toward female domination.”

Sometimes a leading-wife-to-be needs a little encouragement to add this role-reversal agenda item to the marriage contract, as in this lively exchange from the Spousechat archives (available on this website):

Ms. Gina: “I am new to the female-led relationship but my fiance and I both agree that I am the natural of us two to be in charge. So, please, any ideas to keep my man in his place and still have a loving marriage?”

A male responds: “Rename your husband ‘Mr. Gina.’ Explain to him the powerful message his new name sends throughout the female-led societies."

Ms Gina: “It is my intention is to do just that. We are yet to make it official to our close friends and family, because ‘Mr. Gina’ is reluctant to do so yet.”

Is “Mr. Gina” having a typical fit of male egotism? Or is he understandably worried about his family’s reaction to his giving up the family name in favor of the bride’s last name? How is going to explain this radical and unmanly step to Mom and, especially, Dad?

If only the practice were more common, laments this groom-to-be, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to be known as ‘Mr. Her’:

“Why is it so difficult in our society for a man who decides to change his name upon marriage and adopt his wife's name? The idea of being known as Mr. My Wife's 1st and 2nd Name is thrilling, and it is one of the best acts of devotion and love I could think of, but I wouldn't like to be the first in my circle to do it.”

This familiar plaint is sounded by another husband, faced with a name-changing ultimatum from his take-charge wife. He appeals for a ruling in his favor from no less an authoritarian than Mistress Kathy of the delightful Femdom 101 blog. Because it is both informative and uncompromsing, I'm going to quote it at some length:
Dear Mistress Kathy,
My Mistress wife, who is also the head of the house and makes all decisions, wants me to take her last name, which I have mixed feelings about. I would love to but I am afraid to tell my parents. I am given a month to consider.
My Mistress wife had her 2 daughters in her previous marriage change their names to hers. We are very open to our daughters about our matriarchy household. My Mistress is also 8 months pregnant with my son, whose last name will be hers.
The Females in our house are Goddess and Princess and they know their position. I am also concerned when my son is born, the girls might treat him the way they treat me in future (for being male )
How shall I tell my parents if both their son and grandson's names take my wife's last name? She's my Goddess and I love her very much, and i am all prepared to give her all i have. — Ken

Clearly he is expecting sympathy from Mistress Kathy, but he is about to be let down… and none too gently. Mistress Kathy answers:
[Ken} To me your situation is very simple. Your future wife is the lady who is to be your mistress. She is the lady who will own you. Your duty is to her.
There are only two ways to start the conversation with your parents.
1. We have decided that …
2. My wife has decided that...
As far as anything else, you need to trust in your wife's judgment.
The only words you need to have with her should sound something like “As you wish, mistress.”
Yes, if I were getting married today to a submissive husband, who expected me to dominate him, he would take my last name. He would also, in front of his family and friends, take a vow of obedience.
I would expect my guy to be a man about his submissive nature, and to some extent be open about our lifestyle. No one ever said that being the submissive partner in a marriage was easy. That is a part of why discipline is important.
Remember to be a good boy for your lady, and do what she tells you.

Elsewhere Kathy writes that her hope is for a “world where a man is free to take his wife's name in marriage, and no one would think anything of it.”

“As more Women begin to realize that they're actually running the show,” comments one man who took his wife’s name, “I don't know why they wouldn't want the pride and underlying power that goes along with having a family (and subsequent generations) named after themselves.”

“Personally,” writes a dominant female, “I think it would be the ultimate honor for any man to take his Wife's name, instead of keeping their own. It is way past time to break the molds that society has thrust upon us all, and this is one way to do this.”

Whether it is the superior sex demanding the male take her name, or the male on his knees begging to be allowed the honor of taking her name, it is clear that the practice is going to be occurring more and more—publicly, legally, formally.

Informally, hubbie-rebranding is already rampant , judging by the postings on FLR message boards:

“When ‘Mr. Laurie’ and I got married,” writes one leading wife, “we had a semi-private ceremony right before we left for our honeymoon in the presence of two of my closest friends. I had taken off my wedding dress for the ceremony we had performed for everyone else and now we had the ‘real’ ceremony, in which I promised to love and protect ‘Mr. Laurie’ and keep him as long as he shall remain a dutiful and obedient husband. ‘Mr. Laurie’ in turn then promised to remain loyal and obedient to my wishes and promised to perform in the manner of a dutiful husband who would support and obey me in all things. I have been on top ever since. We are happily ever after, Ms. and Mr. Laurie.”

“My name is jake, but I am known as ‘mr. Jeanna.’ My fiancee and female leader (Jeanna) likes it when I acknowledge her in my life and in my posts. I am a submissive male in a committed relationship.”

There are even discussions of proper couples protocol :

“When a female led couple is introduced formally, or even casually how are they introduced? I am single but hope to marry one day and I want to know how would I introduce m” asks one fiancée. “In olden days it was always Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, how would you be introduced to a group, or how would you introduce yourselves to others?”

“I am called Ms. Rebecca and my husband also is tied to my name as were women of old,” a female responds: “In the privacy of the home or with our personal friends, I am ‘Ms. Becky,’ my husband is ‘Mr. Becky.’ We often refer to ourselves as ‘Ms. and Mr. Becky’ or my husband will be called ‘Mr. Becky Brown’ (my last name). What is important is that the husband be identified by his wife’s name.”

Which elicits an amen from this wannabe ‘Mr. Her’: “I'd love for us to be introduced as 'Ms. and Mr. Samantha Smith.' Sure, people will talk and wonder what's going on, but who cares?”

More and more submissive men, it seems, are learning to be take pride in ownership, or rather pride in being owned: “With regards to a male taking his Wife's name, that is a show of the utmost respect. It is him telling the world, that ‘Yes, I am submissive to my Wife and I did take Her name and I am damn proud of that fact.’”

My onetime mentor in wife-worship, Au876, expressed a certain regret that he missed out on this recent societal trend among openly matriarchal couples: “We never gave a thought about my taking her name. Of course, at the time I was the King of the castle. It just never came up. A few times in the past few years my Wife has said she wished she had kept her name and I had changed mine. I honestly believe if we were getting married all over again and the relationship was as it now is, she would keep her name and have me change mine. I would not have any problems doing that.”

Among the increasing number of female supremacists, however, there is no hesitation on this issue, no compromise with patriarchal conventions. A typical example is this 24-year-old grad student in this email to Elise Sutton:

“My husband is completely submissive to me… We had a very small but beautiful wedding, during which he promised to love, honor, and obey me, and to place my desires and goals above his. At the end, we were pronounced ‘Woman and husband.’ Shortly after we became engaged, I had him legally change his last name to mine.
“It was easy for him because he's long been estranged from his family, but I would have required it nonetheless. As a dominant woman, it's important to me that my husband and future children have my name. I only wish more women my age felt this way.
“To those men who might be hesitating, I would say: Make a total commitment to your wife… You say you belong to her? Prove it! Prove to her that she is more important than anyone else in the world. You can do so by taking her name.”

For a final word on the topic (at least for this installment, here in part is Elise’s response:

“Does the woman want to make a declaration to society about her female supremacy beliefs by having her husband take her last name? If so, she should be applauded and respected for practicing what she believes. She also must be willing to accept the negative that goes along with it. The husband will experience many uncomfortable moments from male peers and co-workers when they find out he has taken his wife's name. If the wife demands he make that sacrifice for the honor to be married to her, he can choose between marrying a female supremacist and all that goes with it or he can go in a different direction. I agree with you that more and more men, if given this choice, will choose to submit to the desires of the female regardless of any fallout caused by bucking societal traditions. I also agree that lots of men will find such a request to be exciting and it will cause them to go even deeper into submission to their bride.”

Nowhere in the FLR online literature have I come across more in-depth discussions of “taking her name” than in the old Spousechat message board. This FLR discussions site is long gone, as I have mentioned, but I will offer some lively comments from the archives available on this site.

(End Part One)