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Eaton-Cox and the Great Hyphenate Debate

Treva Brandon: Times have changed though, and in a few short weeks, so will I. Because on May 24th, I will officially become Treva Scharf…or will I?

To hyphenate or not to hyphenate. That is the question.

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If you’re Anna Wang and you’re marrying Brad Holder; or if you’re Katrina Busch and you’re marrying Matthew Hacker; or if you’re Kelly Long and you’re marrying Eric Wiwi, maybe hyphenating isn’t such a great idea.

Allow me to repeat: Wang-Holder, Busch-Wacker, Long-Wiwi.

Now, if your name is Treva Brandon and you’re about to marry a guy named Robby Scharf, most would say you’re safe from a life of hyphenated hell (and the uncontrollable snickering that comes with it) if you do choose to connect your last names.

Once upon a time, it was customary for a bride to adopt her groom’s last name and abandon her maiden name. No good bride ever questioned the practice; it was tradition. But if a bride dared to keep her maiden name, it was considered taboo.

Times have changed though, and in a few short weeks, so will I. Because on May 24th, I will officially become Treva Scharf…or will I?

I have options. I could keep my maiden name since it’s my identity – the person and persona I’ve proudly created and cultivated for over half a century. But what fun is that since it’s taken me over half a century to get married!? All that hard work and not have anything to show for it?! Screw that!

No, I’m definitely taking my husband’s name, along with my own. The question is how should I do it?

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Should I be Treva Brandon Scharf, or Treva Brandon-Scharf, with a hyphen?

Hyphenating feels very women’s lib, very feminist, very modern and ERA, but I’m still not sure it’s for me.

There’s a great hyphenate debate going on in my mind and I need help. To shed some light on the subject, I’ve turned to the experts: my married girlfriends.

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Two friends chose to hyphenate, one kept her maiden name, one connected her maiden name with her husband’s last name, and one ditched her maiden name altogether for her husband’s last name.

Here’s what they had to say:

Meredith Gordon-Hochberg

“I hyphenated because changing my last name completely made me feel like I was going into the witness protection program. Not changing it at all didn’t sit well with my husband. I rarely use the hyphenated name, for work I use my old name. For kid stuff, it’s the married name. It’s all kind of a pain in the ass not remembering which names I use for what. You end up with a lot of aliases. But changing it completely felt very archaic to me, though it would’ve been far more convenient.”

Here’s what the other Hyphenator has to say:

Kathi Sharpe-Ross

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“When I got married at 25, it seemed like a very romantic notion to take on my husband’s last name, but I was launching my own PR and marketing company at the time and thought my maiden name had more relevancy to the communications business. My husband had a nice short last name, so I decided to hyphenate it with mine. It seemed like a good compromise.”

Daryn Kagan

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“As to changing my name after I got married, here’s how that conversation went:

Daryn: Are we going to start calling you “Bob” after we get married?

Husband: No, why? That’s weird.

Daryn: Well, if we’re not going to start calling you something else, why would we start calling me something else?

And that was pretty much the end of the conversation.”

Sharon Hodor Greenthal

“I’m old-fashioned. I couldn’t imagine being married and not sharing my husband’s name. Maybe if I had planned on continuing to work, I would’ve felt differently. Plus, I don’t like my maiden name very much.”

Cathy Chester

Hyphenated Married Names

“When I got married in 1988, I was in love and ready to say good-bye to my maiden name and embrace my new one. It was sort of a rite of passage that I welcomed because I loved everything about my new husband, and our lives together would be one where we’d share the same last name. I relished that idea, and have never, ever regretted my choice. I realize it’s a personal decision for women and there is no right or wrong. But this was my choice, and if I had to do it over again (which I won’t!) I’d make the same choice.”

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And here’s what my fiancé Robby Scharf has to say:

“I’m happy to go with whatever you want it to be, and I’d be honored to have your name anywhere near mine.”

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I’ve considered all of the above, and here’s what I have to say:

Sorry Chris Everet-Lloyd, but if it’s good enough for Hillary Rodham Clinton, it’s good enough for me.

Treva Brandon
The Late Blooming Bride