On A Bold Notion for Baby Showers

Well, no. It's not necessarily "patriarchal" to hold onto your birth name. Changing your name has a lot of profound practical implications, ranging from relatively benign like changing your Social Security Card to very difficult, like trying to establish a new professional reputation under a totally new name (especially if you do something like publish under your name). Why change your name in the middle of your life? That's the point.

Most children have their father's last name given to them at birth, but it's certainly not universal; some have their mother's surname. I know a number of people with their mothers' surnames. Keeping your own name is the point, not changing it midstream -- and since 50% of marriages end in divorce, imagine how great it is for friends and for your career when you change it more than once.

Finally, my father got his surname from his father; it's not "his" anymore than it is the property of other members of our family, including me -- as @cuminafterall said up above. The idea that it's not legitimately mine but still "belongs" to him -- is really sad. I mean, if you don't like your surname of your father, change it at any point, including well before you get married, but connecting it to marriage is just unnecessary and links you back to a very bad old tradition where women were "covered" by their husbands and not considered independent legal persons post marriage (and had fewer rights than widows or even spinsters).

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 9:26 am 1

On A Bold Notion for Baby Showers

But that's exactly the thing… women are totally bored at baby showers too. So why do women have to do it but men don't/shouldn't/aren't supposed to? Particularly when making the guest list women-only makes it even more uncomfortable for a lot of women -- it becomes this thing where you feel like you have to perform your femininity, regardless of how you feel & regardless of how you might actually want to express your support of the mother and new baby?

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 9:13 am 0

On Friday Open Thread

Rookie is totally right about the tripartite pizza division. (meat, veg, cheese and herb)
Now on to toppings!
I would totally stir rosemary into the tomato sauce for the meat pizzas - it is delicious. Maybe rosemary leeks, bacon/pancetta for those? Or sweet potato & sausage & feta/mozzarella?
For the veg pizza: mushroom & caramelized onion?
have fun! if you are making them yourself, might as well use different (& more delicious!) toppings than the standard pizza-by-the-slice joint, no?

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 10:02 am 0

On America Is Losing at Coffee


Yes, I'm always curious about this difference -- are there more people in the US who are caffeine-sensitive, or are there just way more suggestions in the culture that you *might* be and it's considered a culturally weird thing to do to offer people coffee in the evening, so it gets reinforced placebo-style?

--from a family where my parents made espresso for everybody after particularly nice dinners once we were old enough, and nobody ever had trouble sleeping after -- we just didn't, it never came up, didn't even think about it.

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm 0

On What If I Am Never Anyone's Shorty, and Other Fears

i hear that L.A. is one of the more difficult places for a women to find herself a shorty, so keep on keepin' on! sounds like you are taking the best and only possible tack in addressing the situation. warm wishes!

for courage and learning to be a better person on one's own alone, i recommend barbara dodson's Cassandra at the Wedding!

Posted on January 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm 0

On On the Brain-Dead Texas Woman Being Kept Alive to Gestate a Fetus

I could be wrong, but I believe that technically Marlise Munoz is the person accruing debt by being treated by the hospital, so the bills will be in her name. And while you can collect money from a dead person's estate, you can't make inheritors be responsible for a dead person's debt once the assets of the estate are gone. So anything in Marlise Munoz's own name would be wiped out, but it would not be legal to hold the husband or parents liable for the costs. What happens with joint-owned stuff, I don't know, but they would not be liable for her debt -- the hospital would just have to swallow those costs.

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm 0

On Are You a Grown Woman? An Informal Survey


oh, sure, I don't think that feeling of intermittent incompetence ever goes away for anyone! I just meant that competency doesn't have to be one's definition of adulthood.

I do find I am a lot less likely to credit other people's magical competency the way I used to, though -- I sort of assume we are all quite similar in that intermittency, the older I get!

condolences to you and to your mother especially on your grandmother's illness. Losing a parent can be a visceral powerful terrible event no matter how old you are when it happens.

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm 0

On Are You a Grown Woman? An Informal Survey

Are her parents still alive? If I could lay a bet with you about it, I would -- that they are. Because personally I really cannot relate anymore to the feeling of not being an adult -- I can't even remember clearly thinking that way, though I'm sure I did in my early 20s -- and I think that's why -- having the second parent die and realizing that you are it, it's all up to you, and you're next in line.

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm 1

On Are You a Grown Woman? An Informal Survey

Maybe this is wrong of me, but I feel a little grumpy when people don't claim adulthood as theirs. Does that mean you don't have to take the consequences of your actions and somebody is going to swoop in and save you, and the rest of us should know that when we interact with you? I recognize, though, that this grumpiness is probably not entirely fair and it's because I am defining adulthood a little differently from other people and it's not about career success, or even stability per se, and definitely not about material trappings, working out, or salad to me -- it's about a fundamental attitude of accepting consequences and not expecting other people to take care of you.

My parents died young, and I took care of my mother for a while when she was dying, so there was never any choice about not becoming an adult. Now I'm happily married without children but can also imagine taking care of myself without my husband around, so yes, still there, an adult and prize it -- it's the price of independence and being honest with myself.

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm 3

On Welcome to Ross Douthat's Book Club

The first time I saw his byline in the Times, I mis-read his last name as "Douchebag," and ever since then it has been what I automatically silently think in my mind when I see he's come out with another op-ed. Oy!

Posted on December 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm 2