What’s in a name? Plenty, judging by the reaction to the news that the husband of a Hollywood actress has decided to reverse tradition by adopting his wife’s surname.
The decision by Italian artist Marco Perego to take the surname of his Guardians of the Galaxy film-star wife Zoe Saldana created such a storm on social media that she felt moved to issue a stirring declaration about it on her Facebook page.
“Fathers, sons, brothers, men everywhere,” wrote the 36-year-old actress, “your legacy will not perish if you take your partner’s surname, or she keeps hers. On the contrary – you’ll be remembered as a man who stood by change. Let’s redefine masculinity.”
But Perego isn’t alone. Louise Bowers, of UK Deed Poll Service, a company which helps people change their name, said more and more husbands are taking their wives’ names. “It has gradually increased over the past four or five years,” she said, adding that other practices were also on the rise, including meshing – where, for example, Smith and Jones merge to become Smones – as well as double-barrelling.
The motivation for defying tradition, however, is not always impeccably new-man feminist. “The other day,” recalled Ms Bowers, “I spoke to a chap who is taking his wife’s surname. His name is Cock, and she refused to adopt it.”