We are at the mercy of ClearChannel.

The fault is a subject of some debate; I’m the one who left the lights on the VW and needed a jump from the Honda (where the CD player is located), but K. is the one who roared up in the Honda and left the stereo blasting while he gave it to me. This apparently caused a fatal shock to the wiring of our trunk-installed changer, which now does not work at all, and so we are dependent on radio.

This doesn’t bother me as much as K. because I often prefer to talk to my children in the car. But every once in a while you need a little rhythm and melody in your morning, which is where I was today as I drove Thing One to playschool. Of course, only one station was playing music, and it was U2’s “Mysterious Ways.”

I don’t have much truck with late U2 — In my opinion, The Joshua Tree was both an apex and the beginning of the end — but, like anyone who has lived in the developed world for the last ten years, I know the words to “Mysterious Ways.” And as I sang along, it occurred to me that I had no idea what the song was about. I preemptively imagined (as I often do), what I would say if Thing One asked, and all I could come up with was this:

“It’s about God. Because God works in mysterious ways.”

A triumph of reason over conditioning, is what I call that. Too bad he didn’t ask.

I blame the eighties.

Before the eighties, people, especially women, understood there were sacrifices to be made to support one’s lifestyle of choice. If you chose to live on a hippie commune and bake your own bread, you weren’t going to have a lot of new clothes or watch a lot of movies. If you chose to be a career woman, then you were going to be an emasculating ballbreaker with androgynous suits reminiscent of something that would have been standard-issue attire in an Eastern Bloc country; someone else would raise your kids, or you just wouldn’t have any. If you chose to be an artist, you would have to give yourself to your art with a single-minded dedication that precluded any consistently responsible engagement with civic duties, family, or relationship, and if you had a “life partner,” that person would either be another artist who didn’t mind if you disappeared into the studio for days on end or a long-suffering homefires-stoker who’d keep the scaloppine warm for you.

But somewhere around 1985, all of that changed. Suddenly, a career woman was supposed to also zip home in her Audi to scoop up a sniffling toddler and cuddle him on her massive shoulderpad. An artist was supposed to also get enough sleep and keep the house clean. Communes across America started selling their wares nationally, franchising, getting cable TV and materialist yardsticks for personal success. And as our mass media became ever more mass and ever more commodified, so did our ideas about lifestyles. Why buy one when you can buy two? You don’t have to settle. You can have it all!

Most particularly and most damagingly, you women can have it all, the TVs said. You do not have to choose between being successful at a career and being a good parent. You can get up, drop the kids off, go to Jazzercize ™, go to work, come home, relieve the nanny, whip up some tagliatelle with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula pesto, put the kids to bed with an intelligent, literate reading of some juvenile classics, and relax with your handsome spouse and a glass of Chardonnay. This is the eighties! You can do it!

As I recall, this was also the era when Barbie generated new personalities most frenetically: Workout Barbie, Western Barbie, Rocker Barbie, Career Girl Barbie (you know, the one with the suit and the briefcase). I’m every woman, Barbie crowed! And every woman was supposed to buy into the idea that all she needed was a different outfit and a phone booth to get changed in. The Baby Boomers (them again!) both propagated and suffered one of the biggest bullshit myths of the twentieth century, and not just (though most egregiously) for women, but for anyone trying an undertaking that involved sweat, effort, time, and its own unique culture or lifestyle (and that’s most of them):

the idea that You Don’t Have to Choose. You can DO BOTH.

And so in the nineties, when I came of age, we had women getting tenure or making huge deals on Wall Street while also trying to make organic mac and cheese for their toddlers and read The Atlantic and The New Yorker and check out all the most cutting-edge sushi bars with their loyal spouses who were also trying to wear three or four hats — men who had lucrative careers and were squash champions and squired their kids to music lessons and wrote speeches for their senators. And then everyone had to take vacations to The Hamptons or The Poconos and do some power playing with their kids while talking on their enormous car phones to the office.

I had a great view of this particular cultural turn, as I was in college in NYC, and a Barnard Babysitter, for most of this time. I helped grease the wheels of dozens of families on the Upper West Side as they went about their overprogrammed, overachieving business. I paid my way through college on the paychecks of these Power Couples who needed a literate babysitter to get their families from point A to point B with minimal collateral damage. And I saw my own future plans, and those of my peers, shaped by the expectation that we, too, would have successful lives like this: urban orgies of busyness, big paychecks and big expenditures and big culture and quick changes, in those phone booths, from Workout Barbie to Career Girl Barbie to UberMom and back again.

Now it’s the aughts and I’ve been a parent, in a city, with a full-time job, for nearly three years now. And I have my writerly ambitions, all of which are being wholesale neglected in favor of survival. And I can say, unequivocally, this one thing:

You can’t have it all. And you are crazy to even try.

Think about it, people. Those stereotypes — cookie-baking mom, tough-as-nails career woman, crazy reclusive artist, etc. — exist for a reason. The reason is they work. They create a lifestyle paradigm that fosters the life in question. They give excuses and built-in safety valves so that, when a person’s life is focused on success in a particular area, that person is allowed to fuck up or neglect other areas (oh, isn’t it charming that the crazy artist can’t remember to pay taxes, or even: oh, isn’t it cute that the career woman doesn’t know how to open a can, much less cook a meal). These stereotypes are protective. They function. They are not inclusive and hardly p.c., and I hope very much that none of my readers have so little imagination that they understand me to be saying that (for example) a woman can’t both make a home and be good at her job; of course she can. I’m proof of that myself. The issue is that people can’t try to be, to quote my hometown schlock rocker Art Alexakis, “everything to everyone.” Oh, you can do it for a while…

But it’s not so great for your mental health, not in the long term. There are costs to serving two masters (and I haven’t even made a token effort to “stay in shape” or “keep up my creative efforts”; if I were attempting that on top of everyone else, I promise you would be finding dead bodies on 60th ave., in a trail from my house to the bus stop). And you know how I know it’s not just me, but the truth, that the shining promises of “having it all” were a huge load of crap our parents sold us because they wanted to believe they hadn’t really failed at one or the other?

I’ll tell you: all those women I babysat for in college, those bright, successful, culturally literate, attractive women: they’re all on antidepressants. And perhaps some of them are no longer “succeeding” in their marriages or their parenting or their careers, which is sad, but unsurprising.

It’s taken a while, but I think we’re finally ready to not buy the myth. The question is whether we can create a new paradigm more interesting than the one that caused our mothers (and fathers) to create it.

The full text of the rhyme is like this, and I don’t think I learned it from the playground; I think I learned it from my excavations into books set in the fifties from our local library. They’ve cleaned out those books now, and the kids these days only read books about glossy, poreless vampires having dramatic sexual encounters with that brainy girl from high school, or something, but back in the eighties, my mythology was of a bygone era of jell-o molds and cream sodas:

My mother, your mother,

live across the way;

Fifteen, sixteen,

East Broadway;

Every night they have a fight

And this is what they say:

Icka bicka backa soda cracker

Out goes she!

That’s what those little girls in their knee-length skirts and ankle socks would chant while playing jump rope or hop scotch or whatever. With their pigtails and their Mary Janes and their “It Smells to Heaven” casseroles and their powder-blue convertibles (now I’m thinking of a particular book, Fifteen by Beverly Clearly. Was I the last girl alive to have read that book? The one where Jane wouldn’t eat that casserole even though it was her favorite because “It had onions in it and she did not want to breathe onions on Stan at the movie”?).

Probably. Hopefully. Because although I can’t attest to the feminist cred of poreless vampires, the message of Fifteen pretty much sucked. Jane orders a dish of vanilla ice cream rather than her favorite (a chocolate coke float) because she thinks vanilla ice cream sounds more “sophisticated.” Jane spends, in fact, an inordinate amount of time worrying about what Stan will think of her, and she frets and frets about whether he likes her as much as she likes him, and when he gruffly, charmingly asks her to go steady at the end of the book, she is over the moon, because that is the apex of happiness, apparently. In all, it’s a pretty sick manifestation of the whole Father Knows Best mentality, from the point of view of the willing subjugee.

I often wonder why I didn’t internalize these models more. My own mother, while no doormat, was also not a champion of positive self-assertion; she was also certainly not the economically empowered member of our household, and she didn’t get her master’s until I was in grade school (in a typically female field, teaching). She spent our early years home with us while my dad made the big bucks working for a tech firm. Perhaps it’s that he (apparently) would show up on the dot of five every day, throw off his suit jacket, and take over all household duties until bedtime and beyond, demonstrating that the labor of householding and domesticity was shared, period. Perhaps it’s that the one thing I remember about when she went back to school was him remarking to me that she got straight A’s, and that she always got straight A’s, and that it was clear when he said it that he, Stanford PhD., admired that and thought she was smart (I later learned that, during the one semester at Berkeley when they were dating — they dated three months before getting married — he got “terrible grades,” although “terrible” is a relative term). Perhaps it’s that my dad is the one who taught me how to sew. Whatever it was, something about my upbringing saved me from internalizing Jane Purdy’s wistful sighs as a model for my life, and I’m glad. I felt (relatively) free of those fetters — the fetters of having to be pretty and having to behave myself and having to be “nice;” if there’s anything that happened as my teens solidified into twenties, it’s that I had more agency and behaved more and more as if the way to succeed in life was to be a caustic iconoclast whose love life was completely independent of her activities or self-worth.

But part of that feeling was a subterranean conviction that motherhood was not for me, that if motherhood got its tentacles into you there was no way to have agency, no way to be free, and no way to get out from under a mound of laundry and postponed goals. I could say that it’s because my mother was like that, and she might think it’s true, but what was more true was that as a child, I saw my mother’s activities as threatening to me, and in my teens she basically disappeared entirely in the name of Finding Myself and Doing Something I Want to Do for a Change, and I wasn’t ready for that and so the age-old “good mother vs. fulfilled human being” dichotomy was once again in play.

Or maybe it’s the fact that my grandmother, married and the mother of two by age 22, ended her life with a shot to the head, and that my mother always attributed this to her having been trapped and powerless in her life, in her marriage, in her motherhood; my mom’s childhood was spent bouncing from relative to relative while her mother was in an out of mental institutions prior to the big, er, bang. And so motherhood just never seemed all that appealing to me. Womanhood, okay. Motherhood? Eh.

That was then. Now I’m a mother of two, and I’ve come to see womanhood and motherhood as mutually inclusive terms, from a biological standpoint. We are designed to reproduce; most of us will. While one of the triumphs of feminism is validating the choices of those who choose not to reproduce, another is supporting the viewpoint that just because a woman has children doesn’t mean she no longer can string a sentence together unless it involves the words “diap,” “bibby,” and “num-nums.”

Though I’ve seen it happen. Which is why I avoid baby showers.

Anyway, all of this is a way of approaching the idea of Mother’s Day. It wasn’t a holiday much celebrated in our house (pick a reason! And did I mention that my father grew up motherless?), so I’m pretty new to it. In early adulthood we started a loose sort of brunch tradition, but that was before my sister decided that she might catch a fatal case of the Normals by hanging out with me. When I was pregnant with Thing One, K. gave me a Playstation Two and Tekken for Mother’s Day, which I thought was weird, but I spent a fair amount of time kicking video ass and worrying that my unborn child would be negatively affected by all the adrenaline (stay tuned). I don’t remember if anything happened last year, or the year before, but if it did it probably involved an undesired, grocery store box of candy.

This year we didn’t plan anything, and I spent the day frantic with mundane tasks, from a dawn scrubbing the porch on hands and knees to a dusk grading papers until I finally collapsed in a heap. I didn’t get a Mother’s Day card or a Mother’s Day brunch or a Mother’s Day present, and I barely managed to call my own mother. Which is OK. I think Mother’s Day is kind of a fake holiday, anyway. Not that I don’t honor mothers; I just think that Mother’s Day, as it’s manifest in contemporary society, bears an uncomfortable resemblance to Secretary’s Day: it’s a time to say, Here. For doing all the dirty work, for never getting a night off, for tying up all the loose ends: here’s a card. Or a box of chocolates. Or a brunch where you can try desperately to keep your kids in check/away from allergens/from screaming down the house, while your male benefactor eats Eggs Benedict and beams. Knock yourself out. Here’s a vacuum cleaner so you can clean up after me more, or a gift card so you can end up buying somebody else something, or a “pampering spa day” so you can look pretty for the men in your life and feel slightly less bitter about scraping the poop off the dirty diapers. You’re a peach.

Yeah, there’s something intrinsically disingenuous about Mother’s Day and its trappings, that’s for sure. I can’t think of a single typical “Mother’s Day gift” that doesn’t involve either facilitating the unfun parts of mothering or offering token compensation for them. As a holiday, it’s pretty far behind the times. Or so I’d like to think.

If we are to really celebrate mothers, we need to think about what the meaningful work of mothering is, and recognize how much unmeaningful, but very necessary, work goes along with that. What would I like to see?

Next mother’s day, make the mother in your life a meal and clean it up. Weed the garden. Write her a letter sharing something from childhood that she doesn’t know you remember. Upgrade her software. Fill up her car. Tell her you’ve noticed how much intelligence and forbearance and heart she brings to mothering and how her children are lucky to have her. Talk to her about the other things she does that enrich her mothering (my sister may be batshit crazy, but the nicest thing she ever said to me was that I was a poet and a writer and a professor and spoke fluent French, and all of those things would be gifts to my children. I hope she was right).

In other words, I’d like to see people showing their mothers and the mothers of their children exactly how far motherhood as come, how far womanhood as come, because I know there are people out there who still haven’t been able to shake the nagging voice that says women are nothing but the sum of the men in their lives. And I know I’m not the only one who still remembers the last line of Fifteen, which pretty much sums up a too-long era of gender attitudes:

“She was Stan’s girl. That was all that really mattered.”

So think about all the ways the mothers you know are role models, intellects, and inspirations in addition to being nurturers, tenders, and factota. Ask them what really matters, and let them know how much what they think matters to you.

Then get down on your knees and scrub the front porch.

So I’ve been a little preoccupied with women’s right to keep their last names lately, as I wrote here. Or more to the point, I’ve been a little preoccupied with why it’s still so surprising to some people when a woman does choose to keep her last name upon marriage. And lo and behold, the New York Times published an article on just this topic, entitled, “To Be Safe, Call the Bride by Her First Name.”

Um, yeah. Right. Could that headline be any more offputting?
Call me a nitpicker; I am. I am a picker of nits, a comber for fleas and lice, a scrutinizer of the minutiae. But so are you, or you wouldn’t be reading this, and probably we agree that names are important, language is important, what you choose to be called is important — hence the reason Kanye West admitted in a recent GQ interview (yes, I read GQ, at least when Bill Clinton is on the cover), “I guess there are no white people who are really allowed to say nigga, so I guess there shouldn’t be any straight guys who are allowed to say fag.” He’s just echoing what Mari Matsuda et al. wrote in Words that Wound: what you’re called matters. And how people describe your choices matters, too.

The problem with the headline is the same as the problem with my mother-in-law saying that she didn’t “have a problem” taking her husband’s name: it implies that people who keep their names do have a problem, and it tells you that it’s not “safe,” i.e. you will have committed an act of gaucherie that may cause legions of angry feminists to come at you with bra slingshots, to assume the bride will change her name. This may well be true, but I’m appalled at the Times so carelessly seeding its readers’ minds with the assumption that choices reflective of autonomy, freedom, and self-respect for women may cause others to feel socially “unsafe.” Even if it’s true — and it probably is, as most changes that are worth anything cause people some social anxiety — it’s prejudicing the evidence.

So shame on you, careless editors of the NYT, for your retrogressive diction. But there are more horrors yet to be discovered in Grossman’s article, specifically that only seven states currently allow spouses equal rights to name-changing upon marriage; in other words, our legal system makes it difficult for a man who wants to take his wife’s name to do so. So if you don’t live in New York, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, or North Dakota (California will join them next month), write your congressperson. I’ve included a handy text for you to cut and paste:

Dear __________

Men can’t take their wife’s name upon marriage in this state? WTF???


Seriously, this is a shocking issue, more shocking even than finding out that it’s illegal to have oral sex in some states, because the name-change legalities are actually enforced and are actually current: people believe in them. People assume that when you get married, if you are a woman, you will become Mrs. HisLastName, even “feminists,” even “enlightened people,” even “liberals.” I have a friend who got married three and a half years ago; I was her maid of honor, and she fits all three of those categories. She and her husband had the ceremony outdoors in a rose garden in July, and they had a friend get minister status online so he could marry them, and there were people of all races and orientations present. And yet this dear friend who married them bellowed, on concluding the ceremony, “Congratulations MR. AND MRS. HISLASTNAME!”

This is still the prevalent attitude, and if you’re surprised that people like me keep harping on this sort of issue, you should read the comments to the Times article. You’ll find that there is no small number of people who believe that women should just shut up about naming rights, who believe that it’s “self-absorbed” to consider this issue, and who believe that if a man takes his wife’s name, it’s “emasculating.”

And even more insidiously, there’s no shortage of women who assume that, even if they choose to keep their last names, any issue of a marriage will have the husband’s last name.

It’s not what people choose to do that leaves me disheartened and disgusted. It’s the attitudes they betray in how they talk about it. And what I’ve learned today is this: you haven’t come a long way, baby. You are just beginning.

I like to think I have a reasonably Zen-like humility, at least in my good moments. I like to think that I am capable of at least having enough perspective to realize that, in the long run, any slights to my own self-importance are simply reminders of my infinitesimally small place in the universe, reminders that both free me and allow me to more fully live my life without the intrusion of ego.

Still, it bothers me that my in-laws don’t remember my name.

Oh, they remember my first name. But they keep sending me cards and checks addressed to some mythical person with my husband’s last name or, sometimes, with my last name demoted to a middle name, à la Hillary Rodham Clinton. (They’re big ones for checks. Birthday checks, anniversary checks, Christmas checks, birth of a child checks, etc., and while I feel a smidgen the ingrate getting snarky when I’m holding a check in my hand — I know the bank will cash it, they always do — I can’t help it, because this mythical person who took my husband’s last name exists only in their imagination, and I am not sure I like her.)

It boggles my mind. Really. Because we reiterate, several times a year, that my last name is not the same as theirs, that I did not change my last name when I got married, that we are a two last name household. Recently, it’s become even more of an issue, because we gave our daughter my last name, and for the more than seven weeks of her existence she has been the recipient of dozens of thoughtful gifts, all misaddressed; she has his last name as a middle name and mine as her last name, and somehow all the relatives on his side manage to blithely invert this in favor of the patriarchy.

Now, part of me knows that they are probably well-intentioned, it’s just that people have a hard time divorcing themselves from their expectations, and their expectations are that We Will Carry On the Family Name of the Adult Member of this Household Who Has A Penis because That is The Way Things Are. I get that. I understand it. But another, larger, part of me wonders how anyone can be so colossally dense, in the year 2007, that they don’t see the way things are rather than simply the way they expect things to be, that they can’t wake up and smell the century of civil rights expansion and realize that a few aspects of life have changed, maybe for the better. We no longer levy poll taxes on African Americans. We no longer refuse to admit the testimony of Asian Americans in court. And we don’t have to change our names if we get married, which is part of a larger cultural change that allows us to not change our identities if we get married and, specifically, to not subordinate our personal identities to our marriages (any more than is absolutely necessary).

So, yeah, when they forget that I elected not to become Mrs. So-and-so I’m a little surprised. Faintly amazed. Mildly appalled.

I shouldn’t be. We had been talking about marriage for weeks before, in the course of a casual conversation (I think about checks again, which just goes to show how we’re ruled by our bank accounts), my then-boyfriend revealed that he thought I’d be taking his last name. Or, more to the point, that it never occurred to him that I wouldn’t. He was amazed that I was amazed. Me, I was just. dumbfounded. Totally. You know when you think you know someone, you feel comfortable in your understanding of them, and then they go and do something totally out of character, like when you found out that the Dalai Lama ate a hamburger and then you learned that he was eating meat all along and he was not the person you believed he was? Yup. Like that.

So one of the major points of our engagement was the name talk. “Why wouldn’t you change your name?” he asked. “Why wouldn’t you change yours?” I riposted. We agreed that, in this case, separate but equal was inherently equal.

Of course, when we discussed naming our first child the same thing happened. “So, what last name do you want to give the baby?” I asked. After he finishing picking his eyeballs up off the floor, he gave me to understand that he assumed his son would have his last name. That was a longer talk, but eventually we agreed on my name as the middle name, then his as the last name. I gave in out of compassion for the fact that this was all very new to the poor man, he was obviously thrown by the concept of doing anything other than giving everyone, including the family cat, his last name, and, though he was trying to stretch his imagination to include a world where woman aren’t the factotum/sex toy combo plate in the restaurant of men’s lives, and he was almost making it there, there was still a little bitty comprehension gap.

But of course he eventually came around, which is why we’re still married, and when I proposed that we flip the middle name/last name combo for our second kid, resulting in her legal last name being the same as mine, I detected only mild resistance (“Don’t you think our kids should have the same last name?” “Not really; we don’t, so why should they?” “Well, okay then”), and I was very proud of him for overcoming his unreflective adherence to the status quo.

But his family is another story.

I’m actually stunned that his mother took his father’s name; they were married in 1978, both students at Reed College at the time, supposedly very liberal, enlightened feminists. I used to wonder what in the world possessed her. But we were talking about it the other day, and she remarked, “You know, when I got married a lot of people were shocked that I changed my name. But I had no problem with it.”

This is a statement that continues to haunt me. I know it seems innocuous, but it’s not; it’s insidiously anti-feminist and, in fact, anti-change of any sort, the kind of argument used to maintain school segregation during the Civil Rights movement, and all the more effective because it makes it difficult to disagree. After all, you wouldn’t want to be a person who had a problem with it, would you? You wouldn’t want your mother-in-law to have a problem with it when she was clearly over her issues and it was those pesky, interfering feminists (men and women, I might add, which is probably obvious to those who know anything about the Reed College scene in the late ’70s) who had a problem. The day after that conversation, I woke up with the phrase echoing in my head and I thought, hell yes, I have a problem with it. I have a problem with the implication that anyone who encourages a woman to consider keeping her name when she marries is somehow a troublemaker, or emotionally disturbed, or unable to just be cool and enjoy life. I have a problem with the idea that the only reason you should keep your name when you marry is if you have a problem with the idea of taking your husband’s, like maybe if his name is Hooker or Fuchs or (I swear this is a real name) Dumbkowski. I have a problem with the idea that a decision that is about identity and individuality should signal to others that you are somehow conflicted, a person with issues, unresolved, deficient.

But I was unable to articulate exactly why it bothered me so much, so I just went around with that little phrase working its way deeper into my skin like a tick that will eventually give you a bullseye rash and a dangerous disease, until I read this letter in Cary Tennis’s Salon advice column. Cary’s advice is gorgeous in its accuracy: choosing to keep your own name is “a way of extending a certain idea of freedom into the future and into future generations. It is a powerful step. It is a reminder.” He goes on to remind the letter writer that “every time we encounter a woman who has a different last name from that of her husband we are reminded: Yes, you can do that. Whereas when we encounter a woman who has the same name as her husband, although this, too, was a choice, we are not reminded, oh, yes, you can do that. Not so much. We more slip into the historical slumber of the status quo.”

Before I read that letter, the closest I got to stating why it was so important for me to keep my own name, and to pass it on, was to wax eloquent about the five thousand years of Chinese culture, about the fact that my name is the first of the Hundred Names, about how I’d spent my childhood being teased and ridiculed for my name and my epicanthal folds on the playground and, now that I’d finally grown into the name, I’d be damned if I was going to give it up. These things are all true, but they are not the whole story.

The whole story is that even though a lot of people, a lot of women even, think “feminism” is a dirty word or think “refusing” to take your husband’s name means you don’t love him or you have issues or you’re just a castrating bitch, I don’t think that’s what it means. I think it means you recognize the importance of both your history and your future. I think it means you view marriage as a partnership and not as a transfer of property. I agree with a reader who wrote in to respond to Cary’s column, describing her predicament as a national of a country that does not allow married women to keep their names and saying “There are many options that are consistent with a feminist world view. Taking his name, is not one.”

So this week, I’m grateful to Cary Tennis. My ‘problem’ is now something a lot more affirmative. I am a reminder. I am a person who reminds others of the way it is possible for the world to be, of the values of acting on ideals rather than out of pragmatism, of the importance of examining your choices and not sinking into complacency or cowardice. I knew this about myself — I do, after all, have a day job that motivates me chiefly because it gives me the opportunity to remind young and not-so-young adults of all the choices they have and all the knowledge that’s available and all the things education can be — but I haven’t often put it into words. It’s hard to lay your idealism on the line. It’s not cool. It opens you up to ridicule, to prejudice, to the suggestion that maybe you should just get over your problem. Get over it, and bake some muffins.

Well, I’m happy to do the baking (especially since I’m the one with the sweet tooth). But I wish more people would think about the implications of these conventions we have and consider starting new conventions, ones that more accurately reflect what we’d like marriage to be. And I’m keeping my name.

Now if only I could get my in-laws to remember it.