Home Columns Anantha Narayan Every wife’s dilemma

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    It’s not easy for married men to understand what married women go through. Sharing the bed with a jerk like you and signing a treaty to share the TV remote is the least of their worries. They have bigger issues to grapple with. Stuff like giving up their family, quitting on their childhood friends, scaling down their ambitions, relocating to a strange new home and donning your surname just because you happen to wear the pants in the society, weigh heavily on their heads.

    Most men can relate to everything but the name change. “What’s the big deal about giving up a maiden name?” you may ask. Well, try renaming yourself post wedding and you’ll understand. Imagine Rajiv Gandhi marrying Sonia Maino and changing his name to Rajiv Maino. Do you think he would have become the prime minister? That’s the point I am making. Every surname comes with its own destiny and by forcing women to surrender theirs, you’re actually tinkering with their future.

    Unfortunately, the practice of taking a man’s name is the norm in large parts of the world. In the US, 65 per cent of married women confessed to have opted for a new surname. That includes stars such as Jessica Biel (now Jessica Timberlake), Salma Hayek (Salma Pinault), Eva Longoria (Eva Parker) and Jennifer Garner (Jennifer Affleck). But the silver lining is that for every Garner there’s an Aniston who refuses to forgo her identity, even if she finds a Brad Pitt.

    The trouble with adorning the hubby’s surname is most apparent after a divorce. Demi Moore learnt this the hard way when she became MrsKutcher on Twitter. After the break up with Ashton, her Twitter handle now reads JustDemi.

    That’s one of the reasons why celebs are opting for unhyphenated double-barrelled surnames. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Malaika Arora Khan, and Kim Kardashian West are some examples of this genre.

    The visionary ‘Beatle’, John Lennon, tried something different. When he married Yoko Ono, he became John Winston Ono Lennon and she became Yoko Ono Lennon. In my book, it’s always better to retain your identity a la Vidya Balan, Gauri Shinde, Kiran Rao or Sania Mirza, as it gives your child an option to choose another surname.

    Know any men who adopted their wifey’s name? Write to anantha@albertdali.com
    - Anantha Narayan

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