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)


Phred said...

Thanks for the wonderful post. It is good is see your blog active again. Thanks!

uxorious100 said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this posting, and I do agree that if a woman insists that her submissive husband take her name, then he should be happy to do so.

Anonymous said...

The catch 22 is that if the husband takes all that could be flung at him in his career, which could mean limitations for him to be able to succeed and climb in his chosen profession due to having taken his wife's name legally - said dominant superior (dare I say, short-sited and narcissistic woman, in this case) might become piqued that hubby is the butt of corporate jokes and passed over repeatedly for promotions, and pick a more successful alpha male. Could he then make up for lost career time?

This would be a supreme irony, because, from an evolutionary biology perspective, women are wired to select for the most alpha male (even if he is submissive to them, which makes him more valuable).

As a wife in a FLR, I would suggest against this rash action which could victimize your husband socially and in his career. Such a dame is not worth marrying if she does not understand. Let him be alpha in the world to bring the prize to your door, then let him be submissive to the loving authority of his wife.

She should keep her name, or the name she chooses, and he should keep his. The children are a different discussion. This is about the husband.

Anonymous said...

I took a hyphenated version of my wife's name when we married. She didn't change hers.

Never had much of a problem at work, then again I work for a woman owned business. When people ask, as they do from time to time, I'm perfectly upfront about it.

Our son and daughter also have her last name only. No problems for them either.

Andres Pajerillo said...

Well, i'm not married, but i'd love the idea of taking my GF's name.

She earns much money than me, and she's fae smarter too.

Anonymous said...

I am secretly envious of the men on this blog. My wife kept her name when we were married 20 years ago, but since then her career has eclipsed mine and he role in our marriage has become obviously dominant. It used to bother me that she kept her name, but over the past few years I've rather enjoyed being known as Mr. "wife's surname".

Anonymous said...

I plan on marrying my current girlfriend and we have discussed last names for our children and ourselves. I have 2 brothers, so my family name will be carried on. She has only 1 sister. We have our first baby on the way in a few months, and I have agreed our child and any future children will have her last name.

As for marriage, I don't like the hyphen, and I would prefer both of us to have the same last name as our children, so after a lot of thought and discussion, I will be taking her last name. I love my family name, but I love her more, and she feels strongly about it, so I'm excited about it.

Anonymous said...

I took my wife last name and turned into the sissy I am. At the wedding I was made to wear a the wedding dress and take on the role of the wife. She invited a real man to our honeymoon.

Anonymous said...

How sad that the concepts of being "owned" and "submissive" are attached to every discussion of FLR. People who give up their freedom to the control of others, male or female, should give their heads a shake. It is possible for free people to be married and enjoy the right to make one's own decisions, to keep control of one's own money, have outside friendships as our 40+ years of happy marriage have shown.