I hinted in our wedding post that there was a story behind our name. When we got married, Jon and I both changed our last name.
When we first got engaged and had the conversation about names, we both expressed that we could go either way. I can’t remember whether or not it mattered to him, but I wanted us to share a last name. In the past I thought I might be a hyphen gal. I don’t want to get in to the politics of it, because that’s not the point, but as a modern woman the symbolism of taking your husband’s name has always slightly bothered me. But I really liked Jonathan’s name, and it was a little too long to hyphenate, so we decided at that point that my last name would become both of our middle names, and we would share his last name.
The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t mind the ol’ patriarchy issue. Mostly because his last name was really cool sounding (it was Piedimonte, say it like an Italian to get the full effect) but also because I really liked the idea of taking a new name for this next stage in life. In the United States, there isn’t really a “coming of age” ceremony that is practiced by our culture as a whole. There are symbolic steps, but we could debate all day whether you’re really an adult at sweet 16, 18, 21, college graduation, etc. While I certainly think it’s different for every person, for me, a wedding is like a coming of age ceremony. It’s a symbolic ritual saying not only that you are grown up enough to make this life-altering choice, but you are mature enough to enter a lifelong partnership with another person. You are no longer reliant on your parents. You are an adult, making your own choices, with another adult. Marriage isn’t for kids. So taking the step in to the next stage of life, it makes sense that your name would change, too. I like that.
Of course, in our culture, it’s (usually) the woman whose name changes. If the guy is going through the same thing, shouldn’t he get a symbolic name change, too?
Jon told me that he had been thinking about changing his name for a while. In the time that I’ve known him (we first met in 2009), he has grown so much as a person. He has completely changed his life around, dropped bad habits, set goals, and is well on the way to achieving them. When we first met, he told me he didn’t think he was ready for a relationship with me (in fact, I wasn’t either). Obviously, by the time he asked me to marry him, we both were.
He wasn’t Jonathan Piedimonte anymore. He wanted to leave that name behind.
Now, before anybody comes in here saying “Well he could have taken your name!” remember that I wanted to change my name, too, so that wasn’t going to work. And Boehr-Piedimonte is just way too long. No, we needed a new name. A name that was ours.
I didn’t want to drop my old name entirely; I’m rather partial to it. I decided to stick with the original idea and keep it as my middle name. For our new name, we wanted to keep Jon’s heritage alive in it. We didn’t want to deviate too far. So we decided to shorten it, tweaked the spelling and capitalization, and came up with DeMonte. Now, what’s really cool about this, is Piedimonte means “at the foot of the mountain.” DeMonte means “on the mountain.” In case you’re not getting it, I’ll spell it out for you: we climbed the mountain.
And that’s how we became Jon and Lydia DeMonte.