When Hyphenated-Americans collide, hilarity ensues.
Hyphenating has waned since its peak in the ’80s and ’90s, in part, experts say, because it’s become less of a feminist statement and more of a bureaucratic nightmare.
But also — as most “hyphens” will now tell you — it wasn’t really sustainable anyway. Hyphenating was destined to hit a wall after one generation.EnlargeCourtesy of Sasha Harris-CroninSasha Harris-Cronin and her partner struggled with their daughter Shannon’s last name. They finally decided on two middle names and a hybrid hyphenated last name: Shannon Bayard Cronin Harris-Taylor.
“Yeah, it was gonna happen eventually,” says the man formerly known as Ian McKenna-Thomas. “And I did ask my mom, ‘What were you expecting me to do?’ ”
His mother’s answer, Ian says, was basically, “You figure it out.”
Growing up, he was always teased about his name, Ian says. The big joke — what would he do if he married another hyphen? — was less humorous when it happened.
“So, sure enough, we had the potential of being the McKenna-Thomas Camera-Smith household,” Ian says. “Which sounded too much like a law firm, really.”
That mouthful wasn’t going to fly, so the couple sat down with a family tree and counted all of their cousins. When they concluded that “Camera” was the most endangered of all their last names, they decided they’d both take that one.
They worried about offending the other family members. But at the big reveal at their wedding, the pair kept their eyes on the bride’s maternal grandfather, an elderly Italian immigrant named Matteo Camera.
“He was very confused, but he did smile when we announced,” Ian says. “He smiled pretty big when we told folks what we were doing.”