Personally, I totally agree with liz’s decision to keep her last name after marriage. When I get married, I have no preference as to whether or not my future wife takes my last name or not. Ultimately, it’s her choice as to what name she wants to use for the rest of her life, and whatever choice she makes, I’m fine with it.
On the other hand, however, why am I so judgmental when it comes to first names? With an increasing number of my friends having babies, I cringe almost every time I hear the baby announcement. You named your kid…that??? Really? (If you are my friend and you have a kid and you are reading this, I assure you that you are in the minority and that I love your kid’s name. Really.)
Furthermore, I’ve also known people to change their first names over the course of their lives, mostly changing from an Asian name to a more “American-sounding” name. Since I grew up as “Christopher”, I can’t really fully understand the headaches these individuals have gone through having to constantly correct American tongues that are physically incapable of pronouncing “Hyung” as one syllable or don’t have any idea what to do with a name that starts with “Xi” or Qi”. So I sympathize, to a certain degree. But at the same time, I don’t think one should give away their name unless there is severe hardship involved. And also, the replacement “American” name that is chosen is for some reason invariably stupid. Like, “Hello, my name is Sangjoon but you can call me Trevor.”
Why so much hate? As with post-marriage last name changes, people have the right to choose, right? I don’t know. People have the right to choose their own (and their baby’s) names, but when they choose stupidly, it pisses me off. I suppose I’m not being entirely fair. Is the world a worse place because “Aiden” has been the #1 baby name for boys for seven straight years? Other than to that poor kindergarten teacher who can’t keep the eleven Aidens in her class straight, I guess not. My big problem with a name like “Aiden” is that it is an Irish name, and if you’re going to appropriate a name from another culture, why not choose your own? But I guess you could say the popularity of “Aiden” has basically made that an American name now. But that’s partly my point. I am imploring people to at least consider choosing an Asian name for their babies. The more babies that have Asian names, the sooner those names can be accepted as American names. And that would be a good thing. (And yes, I realize that “Christopher” is not Asian. I acknowledge the double standard, which now means that you are not allowed to point it out. Just to be clear, I would give myself an Asian name if I were renaming myself from Day 1 out of principle, but don’t want to go through the trauma of changing my name in my 30′s and I also honor the choice my parents made in selecting this name for me. And I assure you my children will have more Asian-sounding names.)
That’s it, that’s all I have to say. It’s a big decision to name yourself or your child, and I don’t think that most people are taking that choice lightly, so I’m going to cut everyone some slack. So go ahead, name your Asian baby boy “Liam”. I’ll try to keep all my vomit in my mouth. You’re welcome.