The name game: Choosing a last name for your baby
Leaving it to chance
In this article

Leaving it to chance

Livi, a 33-year-old filmmaker in New York, agrees. Like Talia, her son took her last name. It’s a decision she and her husband came to after many hours of discussion—and an eventual coin toss.
“We had been talking for years about what to do about last names. We thought about hyphenating both of our names but the combination was too much—there was no way. We definitely wanted all of our kids to have the same last name because it felt more cohesive that way, but we also both really wanted to have the same last name as our children. We both understood that desire because we felt exactly the same about it.”
What could have become a stand-off turned into a game of chance. One night, over dinner, the two were discussing their options. Livi proposed a coin toss. “I just figured we should make it as arbitrary as it is so that we didn’t feel like one of us was giving up or giving in.”
Livi’s husband won. Presumably, that would have meant that the baby would take his last name. He enjoyed a brief moment of glee, Livi says, before reconsidering. “His whole expression changed and he said, ‘I can’t do it.’ He felt like if anyone was going to take the step to pass on a maiden name it should be us. So then we toasted again—to my last name. He felt like it would be good to set an example.”

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