Colleen G. is getting married and so yet another beautiful Consumerist reader becomes immune to my lascivious advances forever. Congratulations, Colleen… you tramp! No, just kidding — really, our most hearty congratulations, even if you have gouged one of those stiletto heels I like to imagine you wear through my heart.
But after signing up with numerous companies’ wedding registry services, Colleen’s noticed a trend that irks her: they always assume she’s taking her husband’s name. She’s not. She equates the assumption that she will take her husband’s last name to be bordering on the misogynist.
Our bet is basically that it’s not a calculated slight, or even misogynistic… it’s just companies being lazy. I’m personally not entirely sure it’s worth getting pissed over — after all, the rampant accumulation of outlandishly priced material goods is the real point of a wedding registry. They can slap “Mr. and Mrs. Asshole” on the label as long as me and my bride get our swag, as far as I’m concerned. But then again, I’m a guy, and don’t have to deal with the petty misogynistic persecutions of a male-dominated society. And really — is it so hard for these companies to add a tick box to indicate that a bride is keeping her name on their forms?
Colleen’s great email is after the jump
You know what really grinds my gears, Consumerist? What grinds my gears is all the presumptions people make about you when you are getting married. Obviously there is the white dress and the minister and cake and all of that — none of which we are having. The biggest one is that the bride will change her last name.
Of course, 90% of women do change their names after getting hitched. I am not one of them. I don’t care if anyone else changes their name, in fact I think it is a sweet gesture, but it’s not for me.
There are a lot of reasons why I’m not changing my name. They range from the selfish (my partner’s last name in unpronounceable and unspellable) to the feminist (I do not automatically become his property), but it ultimately boils down to the answer that Steve gives people when they ask why I am not changing my name: “It’s her name.”
I have resigned myself to being defensive about the name change. I don’t have to say anything except, “It’s my name, and I don’t want to change it.” If pressed, I say, “Family isn’t defined by last name and neither is devotion.” There isn’t anything more to say, and I’m at peace with this decision.
So, dear Consumerist, we recently registered for wedding gifts. Two weeks ago, I got the first shower gift from one of our registries, Bed Bath and Beyond. It was addressed to “Colleen G. and Steve R.” Today I received the first shower gift from the other registry, at Marshall Field’s, which will soon be Macy’s, and it was addressed to “Colleen and Steve R.”
Not only are we not married yet, but the presumption that I am taking my partner’s name upon marriage is both wrong and a big leap for a company to take. Does Marshall Field’s/Macy’s as an institution not recognize that we have different last names? The shipping address is “Colleen G. and Steve R.” and so is the billing address. Apparently someone coded their database to automatically put the groom’s last name on the package. While I’m sure some brides are delighted to see their “new name” on a package full of kitchen implements, I’m not one of them.
This is lumped in with all those other wedding things that I find extremely offensive, like the Bedazzled tank top that says in pink script, “Future Mrs. Groom’s Name,” or the bouquet toss or, for fuck’s sake, the whole handover of the woman from her father to her husband at the altar. I have stopped being pissed about these things because it’s a losing battle. But this thing with the registry, it’s got to stop.
I wrote a letter to Marshall Field’s a few minutes ago. I didn’t threaten to un-register for gifts (which could cost them more than $4,000 in sure-fire, no-hassle sales), but I did mention that I was sad, confused and offended. I also asked them: What do they do with homosexual couples? Or couples who will combine their names after marriage? Or is everyone who registers there a white dress-wearing, garter-dancing, Best Day Of Her Life-ing girl?
If you follow the Bridal Industrial Complex’s rules, this is supposed to be My Day. So why are they not following my stupid fucking shipping instructions?
Any ideas, Consumerist? My gears are so ground by this, I have to go to the machine shop on Monday.
UPDATE: “Dearest Consumerist,
Thanks for posting my email! It excites me to no end, and by that I mean I linked to the article on my blog and all my internet friends will think I am famous.
Something I neglected to say, in my long-winded attempt at charming your pants off while expressing feminist rage while still being funny, is that while registering we gave Marshall Field’s specific shipping instructions — just my name, actually — that they overrode. Which is really why I wrote to you in the first place.
Yours in stilettos and Calphalon,