As Zoe Saldana reveals her husband has taken her surname, why aren't more men comfortable with the idea of following his lead?
You’re out for dinner with your boyfriend, when you notice he seems a little bit distracted. He can’t keep his wine glass steady in his hand, and when he places it on the table, he knocks it off with his elbow three seconds later. Then, just when you’re about to accuse him of being hungover on a schoolnight and loudly berate him for his drinking habits, he’s down on one knee, and asking you to marry him.
‘Alright,’ you say, through tears of relief that he wasn’t secretly knocking back shots of tequila until 3am. ‘Go on then.’
‘There’s one condition,’ he replies. ‘I want to take your surname.’
Sound unlikely? Well, if Zoe Saldana’s husband gets his way, maybe not for long. The actress has revealed that her partner, Marco Peggo, insisted upon taking “Saldana” for a surname, even though he knew it was (unfortunately) a controversial move.
‘I tried to talk him out of it,’ Zoe admitted in her interview with InStyle. ‘If you use my name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world.’
To which the 36-year-old painter apparently replied, ‘Ah Zoe, I don’t give a sh*t.’
And while your little feminist heart explodes with joy, (and a thousand illustrators rush to create a series of Tumblr cartoons featuring Marco quoting Simone De Beauvoir while clutching a basketful of kittens), it raises the question why so many men are still reluctant to sacrifice their own surnames when it comes to tying the knot.
After all, a recent statistic revealed that more than 50 per cent of all Americans believe the woman should be legally required to take her husband’s name when she gets married. And while the concept of creating a unified family identity makes sense (at least as much sense as spending £300 on a wedding cake that you’re only going to leave in the freezer for 18 years at any rate), why should it be assumed that the woman who gives up her surname for the man?
In fact, the inequality is so ingrained that if a man wants to change his surname, he has to pay £33 to do it by deed poll – whereas a woman gets to tick a box on the marriage certificate too.
Of course, if the couple wants to double-barrel their surnames (as approximately half of all UK couples now choose to do) all is well, but what happens in a few generations’ time – do our great, great, great, great, great grandchildren have eight surnames to squish onto their Twitter handles?
Or is it time to start taking the initials from each one, and go all out for an acronym? Because if that’s the case, we really can’t wait for Mr Smith-Eccleston to meet Miss Xylophone-Young.