Poppin’ Molly – What’s in a name?

Molly Regan

Molly Regan

Poor Marco Perego. Like every exceptionally beautiful little boy with the flowing gold locks of a Norse god, all he has ever wanted was a fairytale romance. After meeting Zoe Saldana, Marco probably thought all his dreams had come true. Being the sensitive artist type, he was fated to fall hard and fast, and luckily Zoe was right there on the same page – the two wed in July 2013, after just beginning to date the previous spring. After a whirlwind romance, the two were ready to set sail to the land of happily ever after – there they could settle down and begin their ridiculously beautiful life, being a beautiful couple and doing whatever it is that exceptionally beautiful people do in their spare time.

This week it came out that, when they tied the knot, rather than follow tradition, Marco actually took Zoe’s last name – becoming Mr. Marco Saldana and continuing to possess one of the sexiest names in the world. Hey, good for them. It’s about time we celebrate all types of different life and relationship experiences.

But no. The world doesn’t work that way. We can’t possibly allow people to do something slightly off kilter without pooping all over their picnic. Rather than let the unfairly-gorgeous couple enjoy their lives as newlyweds, we had to pick apart the status of their relationship based on the fact that they did a thing that other people don’t do. Pearls were clutched. Gasps were heard throughout Sunday brunch buffets across the country. Millions of twenty-somethings were heard muttering about their secret appreciation for traditional gender roles and feeling like a real woman. The world was flooded with incredibly original opinions regarding Marco’s decision to become Mr. Saldana. We certainly live in the age of enlightenment.

I’m not sure how small you have to be in order to struggle so epically with climbing this curb (box turtle maybe?), but let’s clear something up – everyone’s relationship dynamic is different. Seems pretty obvious, right? Well, apparently not. What works for some may not work for others/to each their own/it takes all kinds of fruit to make fruit cup/you get the point.

Personally I’m an advocate of throwing gender roles out the window (shocker, I know) and sticking with whatever name sounds the most awesome. I know somebody who recently wed a man named Stark, so obviously that won out in the matrimony competition – not because a woman should take a man’s last name, but because you should definitely be Iron Man when given the opportunity. On the other end of the spectrum, my second grade teacher changed her name from “Asher” to “Doodus” when she got married, and no matter how traditional you are, this should be widely considered a bad move. Not only is “Doodus” an insanely awful name, she failed to take into consideration the fact that she works with eight-year-olds, a population that has trouble refraining from making poop jokes when there is no provocation whatsoever. When it comes to myself, I’ve been pretty set in my Regan ways – my name is awesome and, if I’m being totally honest, the idea of filing paperwork to change my name makes me so anxious my vision begins to narrow.

When it comes to Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego, I can only assume the decision came down to a sexy game of strip rock paper scissors (as I assume all decisions are made in their household). Both names sound as if they could be a dance move that’s too hot for television. Perhaps an exotic mystery ingredient on the most recent episode of Iron Chef – one that is so mysterious, we all know that only Masaharu Morimoto has any sort of familiarity with it. Even at their most pedestrian, the two names sound like a magician duo in Las Vegas. All this goes to show that Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego transcend traditional gender roles.

Marco changed his name because of some personal reason that is only really relevant to him and Zoe. Perhaps it’s out of some deeply held feminist philosophy, perhaps it’s aesthetic, perhaps it’s a move to gain some notoriety from her name recognition (but god, I hope not). Whatever the reason, the point is that it’s Marco and Zoe’s reason. It’s not inherently emasculating for a man to change his last name when he weds, just as it’s not inherently sexist for a woman to change hers. Having passed the beautiful name test with flying colors, the two were able to focus on what really matters in a relationship – literally everything else.

So can we all back off and let these two people go live their beautiful, progressive married lives in peace?


Molly Regan is an improviser and writer in Baltimore. She likes chicken pot pie, Adam Scott’s butt and riot grrl.

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