It appears that some 50 years post-feminist revolution, women are still struggling to identify themselves for society’s sake. Some keep their maiden names, others still hyphenate — although the dash has been adopted by gay couples anxious to signal their new legal status — and then there’s the current trend of double-barreled surnames. Women who’ve gone by simply first and last names all their lives are suddenly using three.
A woman who uses several names believes three is certainly more elevated than two. This is true of kennel club registries and horse studbooks, where there is actually interest in the ancestry. It’s also true of European aristocracy and British military officers — where names are long and carefully chosen to reveal lineage and connections. Queen Elizabeth has created the double surname for her descendants of Mountbatten-Windsor. Our own best example is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Although no one in America really cares about your maiden name unless it happens to be Kennedy or Rockefeller, it’s to this aristocratic end that many women subtly aspire. There is something regal and upper class-sounding about double surnames that single ones just don’t possess. And as women continue to exert their identities and families become more complicated, complex surnames have become frighteningly “It.” The old single-family surname doesn’t seem able to do the job.
Nor is the trend discouraged by celebrities Catherine Zeta Jones, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Daniel Day Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Rodham Clinton and, perhaps least of all, Camilla Parker Bowles.
By the way, to announce my military lineage and past marriages, I could actually go around as Patricia Gausman Kaiser-Gannon.
By God, they’re right.
Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bar Association banquet
We’ve never seen lawyers looking so good. The Lafayette Bar Association honored its own with a Hall of Fame induction ceremony at La Marquise. Paul Gibson put in some long hours, Onebane’s Ed Abell spoke and pre-dinner cocktails were enjoyed by all while those singled out for greatness included Pat Juneau, Joel Gooch, Miles Matt and Fabulous Young Attorney Award Cliff LaCour. Taking it all in were LBA President Kyle Gideon, director Josette Abshire, Eugene and Celia Davis, Jack and Marilyn Castle, proud daughter Adrienne Herrmann, Fete fan Blair Cabes and a polished Steven Matt, who finishes law school in two weeks.
Lest we forget
Cover band sensation On Call packed The Grouse Room on behalf of 9/11 and veterans everywhere. Consisting of six doctors and a nurse — Gary Guidry, Vernon Valentino, Ronnie Daigle, Rick Dearman, Steve Salopek, Bradley Chastant Jr. and RN Leah Stokes — the group not only kept patrons entertained but raised money for an all-terrain track chair to benefit a wounded warrior. If you’ve never heard On Call do their Star-Spangled Banner prelude to Bob Seger, you need to. Present and accounted for were Grouse Room owner Matt Chiasson et famille, Southern gentleman Will Salsman and wife Charleen, the Acadiana Veterans Honor Guard and Lafayette contractor Jimmy Andrus, who said, “They’re rockin’ docs, a prescription for a good time.” We’re stealing that.