joel dewald /malay pic
H is n BY BETSA MARSH People Today Reporter The minister furrows his brow. The hotel clerk arches her eyebrows. The landlady flares her nostrils. The banker purses his lips. The delivery room nurse frowns behind the mask. Sadie, Sadie, married lady, has retained her birth-given birth-given birth-given name, and the endless explanations explanations begin. Short of wearing a neon necklace necklace proclaiming "Yes, we're legally married," the wife with the different last name has little little alternative but to explain, again and again, over and over, her unconventional choice. "It takes a lot of extra explaining of something that's really no one's business," said Mary Ann Ellas, an Insurance underwriter underwriter married for l& years to Michael Hengehold. "I'm not going to change anyone's anyone's mind, and I'm not seeking approval I Just want acceptance. I like my name, I'm proud of it, It's me." Although a number of professional and working women, especially actresses, traditionally traditionally have retained their birth-given birth-given birth-given names after marriage, the trend gained momentum and acceptance with the upsurge upsurge in feminism in the 1960s and "70s. Some women rebelled against the cultural cultural custom itself, deeply rooted In the Middle Middle Ages concept of women as chattel: You brand your cattle, you name your wife. Others make a more personal statement about their marriages as equal partnerships, with both spouses maintaining separate Identities and living and achieving not vicariously vicariously through each other, but individually. individually. Still others are adamant about their names as central parts of their self-images. self-images. self-images. Some women refuse to rellnqu. h any part of themselves In marriage especially names that stand for persons they hav. grown to . genuinely like. "It (changing your name) represents a new identity that is not necessary to be happily married," said Mary Lisa Vertuca, a university Instructor married for more than eight years to Jim Brown, and mother of 9-month-old 9-month-old 9-month-old 9-month-old 9-month-old Andrew Nathan Vertuca Brown. "I didn't want to become someone whom I hadn't been for 24 years. It was important to me, and it didn't offend my husband. I think a woman has a right to do it. "When people first discover you use your own name," Vertuca continued, "they make a pretty Instant Judgment about you about what you are, and what you believe. Once they find out you're a pretty traditional woman, I think It does a lot of good for the cause,' quote unquote. You're not threatening threatening to men." "I feel obligated at times to convince people what a great marriage I have," said Marty Malay, an advertising account supervisor. supervisor. "I went to my 10-year 10-year 10-year reunion, and people thought I was divorced. I would mention mention Joel and they'd say 'Oh, do you still see him?' 'Yes, I guess I do we Just had a son.' " Malay, mother of 13-month-old 13-month-old 13-month-old 13-month-old 13-month-old Chad Malay Dewald, retained her birth-given birth-given birth-given name when she married Joel Dewald six years ago." At first I was very insistent In social social situations that everyone call my by my name. I've mellowed considerably, and now I dent make a scene." For Kathleen Wade, a reading specialist for the Cincinnati schools, retaining her birth name after marriage was perhaps more significant than for other women. After many years in the convent and five out, she married Forrest Brandt in 1976. "My name was changed several times In the convent, not by my choice. My last name fell Into oblivion. So names became a big thing to me, and I no longer wanted to deny my background and family affiliation. Being comfortable with myself meant having my own name. "When we married, it was out of the question that I would give up my name," Wade continued. "I had really struggled to establish myself, and It was very important to me to hold on to that." Only when her husband receives mall w ER NAME REMANS THE SAME i"J" t V'O 1 1 Ii a 'h n ik If m if 5 VWC 7 AT' 1 1 4i 4 t . " , . .A T I "i : l , M A fit A1 Enquirer photos BY GORDON MORIOKA A NAME is part of their per sonae for Marty Malay, with husband Joel Dewald and son, Chad, and Mary Lisa Vertuca, with son Andrew. . '-a"?!,-- '-a"?!,-- '-a"?!,-- '-a"?!,-- '-a"?!,-- H If 0" y 7 j it tier I J ft . 3 . addressed to Mr. Forrest Wade, or is accosted at a party as Mr. Wade, does Brandt bristle. "I tell him, well, now you know how it feels," Wilde S3id "When we had trouble with the IRS was the first time he knew it was going to be a social problem," Wade said. "He told me he really didn't know why I had decided to do this, but generally, he's supportive." Dealing with the bureaucracy is often the most taxing trial for a two-name two-name two-name marriage. marriage. Banks balk at dual-name dual-name dual-name accounts and loans, landlords frown on what they perceive perceive to be live-ins, live-ins, live-ins, and stores question ms. mr. credit cards. "We both carry a copy of our marriage license in our wallets," Wade said. "We included included it when we rented an apartment, with our IRS statement and our loan application. Malay and Dewald were denied a Joint checking account at one Indiana bank, and Vertuca and Brown encountered similar resistance resistance at a Cincinnati institution. "They didn't want to grant the account in two names," Vertuca said, "so they applied subtle little pressures, like saying to Jim 'Your wife's name will be first on the check.' They even called later to ask 'Are you really married?' " For one woman who retained her name, the thoughtlessness went beyond annoyance. "I had a miscarriage, and we went to the hospital so fast that we Just signed the names like we always would his and mine. ' My husband couldn't figure out why he was picking up this coldness from the nurses there, and why my service wasn't that good. "Then a friend stopped by to bring me flowers, and the woman on the floor said no one but the mother and father were allowed in 'or, in this case, the boyfriend.' So when we had our baby, I signed everything with my husband's name. That makes you wonder if it's worth it." Naming the children often causes more anguish and deliberation than either partner expended on the initial name decision at marriage. "When it was Just Joel and me, and people people thought we were living together," Malay said, "it almost added a spark to our relation-ship-we relation-ship-we relation-ship-we relation-ship-we relation-ship-we Joked that the mailman always seemed to be winking at us. But now that Chad is 13 months, it's really starting to get to me. After all the trouble of being pregnant, pregnant, I feel people don't feel he's mine. I want to claim him, too. "It may get to the point that I will have a work name and a play name," she continued. "I feel strongly that I have a career, and will keep my name as a work name. But socially, I like to think of us as a family, sharing a car, a house and name. I may succumb." The added complexities of separate-name separate-name separate-name motherhood are also weighing on Vertuca. "I wonder if maybe hyphenating (my name with my husband's) might have been simpler. When Andrew goes to school, is he going to feel funny? It's not terribly socially socially acceptable, but then I'm not sure I want to bow to that. "I see things blurring a little more now. How am I going to call a baby-sitter baby-sitter baby-sitter and explain explain who I am I'm not going to go through that whole harangue every time. It's too complicated for a lot of people." Complicated, confusing and confoundingespecially confoundingespecially for some family members and in-laws. in-laws. in-laws. Although none of the wives made production numbers of their name retention, reaction filtered back from the families. "Jim's mother said later she thought it was fine for women to keep their own names," Vertuca said, "and now she puts my name on letters." She is the exception; most wives who keep their birth names receive mail from their families addressed to Mr. and Mrs. "Some of my husband's family made a few comments," Elias said, "so I asked some of the men if they would like to take their wives' names. 'Of course not,' they said, and that was the end of that." Some tips tor women who want to keep their birth-given birth-given birth-given names, Page C-4. C-4. C-4.