Nervous American

Trying New Things. Reluctantly.

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Cuzco: Many shades of brown

Cuzco was so… brown. The dry season had rendered everything very dusty. And when we arrived there, after our sleepless redeye flight, I blearily realized that I’d forgotten what Latin America is like. Every place is different, of course, but the working-class areas have a few things in common: The gritty, blocky building exteriors, the casual litter, the many stray dogs. The presence of corrugated metal as a common building material. That guy over there, peeing against the wall of a school like it’s no big deal. Stuff like that.

But don’t get me wrong: Cuzco definitely has its own personality.

First, there’s the altitude. At more than 11,000 feet, the air was noticeably thin and sharp, and the light had a strange quality — in full daylight, it’s blown-out and intense. It burns gringos like us to a crisp, so buying sunscreen is a top priority.


Tourism is clearly a big deal here, and it’s the industry that dominates the main Plaza de Armas and surrounding warren of alleyways. The streets are full of locals who hassle the Obvious Tourists any time we walk down the street: “Shoeshine, lady, shoeshine?” "You want necklace, 10 soles?" ”You want massaje?” You just get used repeating, “no, gracias" every dozen steps or so.

We originally wondered if the massage offers were entirely legit, but it turns out massages really are a thing there — with so many backpackers hiking everywhere, muscles get sore. Still, we declined.

And Inca artifacts? Oh boy, they’ve got Inca stuff lying around. The Inca empire was pretty huge (I’d forgotten about how big it was — it stretched into six South American countries!), and Cuzco was its capital, full of important religious and civic buildings. All of which got savaged by the Spanish, of course.

European diseases had beat the actual Europeans’ arrival here by a few months — I guess those sicknesses made their way overland from the east. What’s more, two princes had drawn the empire into a bloody civil war just prior to Spanish arrival — they had only recently resolved things, so the place was actually fairly ripe for the plucking. The Spanish destroyed the old city and remade it in their own image, and the Spanish empire’s gold-extraction machine kicked into high gear. 

Still: Cuzco has its own, distinctly South American flavor. The intriguing little flourishes on the buildings are different, and the place has a more rugged feel. It seems like a stern place, but with a rough beauty to it.


The pillar of the Cathedral at the Plaza de Armas


Elaborately carved wooden balconies are everywhere


It’s a rather hilly town - the narrow streets reminded me of Santorini in Greece, except with a mustard-and-brown palette


An Inca statue on the Plaza de Armas, facing the ruins of Saksaywaman


A close-up of the Compania de Jesus church in the Plaza de Armas


The view as you walk up to Saksaywaman


The Compania de Jesus

Under the colonial layout, you can see the bones of the Inca culture (and you can also see the bones of the Inca themselves, but that’s another post), but it’s aggravating to think of how much got destroyed. 

For example, the old fortress on the hill above town, Saksaywaman, was once a giant, complex structure — and once, it was the site of a bloody Inca last stand against the invaders. (The Siege of Cuzco lasted for 10 months but was, of course, ultimately unsuccessful). Spaniards used its stones to build their houses down below, and now only the big boulders remain. Still, you can see the famous Inca building skill at work.


It’s a popular spot for school field trips. Obviously.


So many angles! and that’s just a random example

Still to come: Coca leaves, eating fluffy animals, mummies and more.

Filed under peru cuzco honeymoon

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Peruvian Honeymoon: Romance, Adventure, and Deep-Fried Guinea Pigs

"This trip, like Peru itself, has had its ups and downs." — Geoff

Why I picked Peru for our honeymoon:

1) Hadn’t been to Latin America in forever

2) Heard it was nice.

So, Peru. Why not?

Peru has a crazy variety of landscape. We couldn’t hit it all — we skipped the deep jungle and the coast and made straight for the mountains. Cuzco, Machu Piccu, the white city of Arequipa, Lake Titicaca. Driving to ear-popping altitudes, hiking up extremely steep hills, undergoing startlingly frequent changes in weather. Feeling kinda sick sometimes, losing our laundry at one point… Ups and downs, as the man said.

It’s also quite a pretty place. I’m a so-so photographer with only a smartphone to snap photos, but this place makes it ridiculously easy:



Terraces on the hillsides. I’d read about terraces in my sixth-grade social studies class, so I was pleased to find them looking just as my textbook indicated.


A distant Machu Piccu


A storm rolling in on the Altiplano. I snapped this one from the window of our tourist van. 

Why did my husband go along with this plan? Because he is extremely laid-back. However, I have married a man, who — under his calm exterior — is a bit of a nervous one, himself. Nervous times two! 




There were itineraries, there were print-outs, there were reservation numbers. I arrived in the country loaded down with drugs: drugs for altitude sickness, for pain/fever, for dizziness, and obviously, for traveler’s … um, digestive troubles. I’d heard a lot of food poisoning stories from Peru, and I was taking no chances.

I have lots to say about Peru — more to come in future posts!

Filed under peru peru travel honeymoon

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How to bungee jump: A guide for nervous people

The 1990s was a very unforgiving time for nervous children. Pop culture was constantly encouraging you to be as X-TREME as possible. Skateboarders and BMXers were having a big cultural moment. Mountain Dew was encouraging people to go to very high places and then jump off of them. People walked around wearing “No Fear” T-shirts. 

Then I guess, like, YouTube happened and we all saw videos of what it looks like to shatter a leg bone, and our ardor for extreme sports cooled. At least that is what happened to me — I was never X-treme, obviously, but I did actively make fun of kids who wore bike helmets, and I jumped quite irresponsibly on those big trampolines, even though one of the many Jennifers in my class messed up her knee really bad on one and had to wear a brace for like a year. But I hadn’t SEEN it, so it made no impression on me.

Anyway, somewhere between being a stupid teenager and a grumpy adult, I developed phobias involving bones poking out where they shouldn’t/dying in a really stupid way. But it was too late: I had already promised myself that I would someday bungee jump.

I blame MTV

This is the fault of “Road Rules,” the MTV “Real World” derivative, where they made stock-character 20-somethings live in an RV together and do extreme things. Like, again, go to high places and jump off of them. It felt like every season had a bungee jump episode, which I watched with fascination. What would I do, in that situation? Would I be like the cool kids and just jump? Or would I be like the lame girl (it was always a girl) who froze up and freaked out and didn’t want to do it?

I was secretly concerned I’d be one of the latter. But when I went to Costa Rica a few years back, I’d decided “Yeah, I’m going to do this.” There are tons of bridges from which to jump in Costa Rica, as it is a haven for adventure tourists, so it was the perfect place. I felt I owed it to my 14-year-old self, who was rooting for me, somewhere back in the mists of the past.

I convinced an unwilling friend to accompany me. We booked a ride with Tropical Bungee (motto: “100% Adrenaline!”) and got in a van with a bunch of enthused backpackers, and found ourselves on a bridge in the forest. It was dense green tropical forest, and peaceful. The river, far below, was flowing gently. We felt like vomiting.

To do this, you step into a harness thing that has thick cords hanging loosely around your ankles. When it is your turn, they hook you into the bungee cord. You walk to the edge of the bridge and jump off. 

"Easy as pie," my friend and I said to each other as we watched the other backpackers giddily leap into the abyss. "Simple."

How to bungee jump 

The trick to bungee jumping, of course, is not to think about it. Don’t think about anything. If you stop at the edge and look down and consider things rationally, you probably will not jump. Or at least, I wouldn’t jump. So, there on the bridge, I embarked in an aggressive form of meditation. I made a fist with my brain, and beat out every thought in there. I pummeled my higher-order thinking until I was down to just the lizard core. Then it was my turn. Blankly, I climbed the platform. Numbly, I watched them hook up my harness. Woodenly, I walked to the edge of the platform and let myself tip off the edge — just let my face greet the river below, and the rest of me followed.

Then I was just a torpedo of meat, heading for the ground. The white ribbon of river, and the green of the banks, zoomed toward me and I could hear my own short, panicked breaths. Then, still a comfortable distance away from terra firma, I felt the cord lightly squeeze my ankles and then I was rushing backwards and up, only to be snapped like a human towel-snappy by the bouncing cord. I made a “chuff!” sound that only I could hear, being as there was no one around, and eventually found myself just swinging upside down above the river. 

Step two: Continue to not panic

Then, in order to not consider your position — that you are dangling like a fish on a line, high above the ground — you must concentrate on getting back up. If I remember aright, you wait until the operators send you a line that you snap onto your harness, and it brings you back up. So you must grab it, latch it onto the correct latch, and let it bring you to a sitting position. It draws you up like a kitten in a bucket.

They pulled me back onto the platform and I once more felt the ground under my feet. My 14-year-old self, back in the mists of time — wearing plaid and badly in need of an eyebrow wax — was beaming at me through her braces. I had comported myself with all the dignity I could muster. I gave her a thumbs up.

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Really, why don’t Americans travel abroad?


The Mezquita in Cordoba, Spain. If you want to see it in person, you must leave America.

Why so little foreign travel, Americans?

I am assuming you are well aware that 1) Relative to the rest of the developed world, Americans travel abroad much less and 2) This is usually blamed on Americans being insular or ignorant, whichever you prefer to think. Also, that we’re fearful of small hotel rooms and strange toilets and weird food.

There is truth to that stereotype. When I got back from Spain, I was surprised at how many Americans greeted me with, “Welcome back to the good old USA!” in tones that implied they were relieved on my behalf. Which, yeah, sometimes that year I had missed 24-hour convenience shops. I had also found certain things to be maddening. But hey, Spain is awesome. I was feeling bummed about leaving, which is why it was weird to have people congratulating me on safely making it back.


A ruin in Edinburgh, Scotland. Also not visible from America.

So yes, a percentage of our population is truly quite happy to stay put. But a lot more of us would travel if we had the dang vacation time.

It makes sense — America is huge. It takes a lot of money for us to fly overseas. Why spend a grand on a plane ticket when you’re just going to have to turn around and come home in a few days? Two or three weeks’ vacation isn’t enough. If we had six weeks, I have faith that my countrymen would put together the cash to get out and about more often.

But our meager vacation allotment is only a symptom of the deeper cause — that we value work above all else, including travel. Example: In high school, I went on a three-week, supervised European tour with a group of classmates. Our young German guide, Claudia, chatted about her gap year with us, after she explained what a gap year actually was. It blew our minds when she said she’d traveled around Asia and South America for a year. And this was quite common, she said. Everybody who could afford it, did it.

We were shocked. We didn’t know anyone — not sibling, older cousin, neighbor, anyone — who hadn’t just graduated high school and gone on to work, or who hadn’t just worked a summer job, then gone straight to college and worked their way through that. After college graduation came more work, and that was that.

So yes, a lot of this is about culture, but it’s about the “work comes first” American ideal as much as it is about the “other places seem lame and sort of exhausting” mindset. And that’s unlikely to change any time soon, so if anybody has any great career advice for how we sorry workaholics can finagle more vacation time, I’m all ears.


A Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor, Maine. This one = in America! Yeah!

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How to drink like a Spaniard

My year in Spain left me richer as a person in many ways (except the part where it made me poorer, which was in my bank account). One key lesson: When it comes to alcohol, quit being such a snob.

Lesson 1: Mixing soda pop in your wine is A-OK.

Spaniards love to drink red wine mixed with lemon fanta. It’s called “tinto de verano,” or “red (wine) of summer” which sounds much better than “wine spritzer.” 

This makes perfect sense. Spain is mostly a warm-weather country; Spain is a country that produces an abundance of red wine; red wine is not at all refreshing on hot days. You can fix this by making sangria, but who has the time? Just mix half lemon Fanta (or sprite) and half wine into a bottle, and go drink in the park. Problem solved.

This was a big switch for me, as I always thought wine spritzers were tacky. I think I got this idea from watching sitcoms in the ’90s, when I was too young to know what a “wine spritzer” was, but knew that shows like “Just Shoot Me” had a low opinion of them.

Spain broke me of that habit, and for that I am grateful. 

#2: Sometimes, crappy lager is the best possible thing.

Spaniards also love light beers. It comes as a surprise when you first show up in Spain, but very few people are drinking wines in those outdoor cafes in Madrid — they’re drinking Mahou, the local lager. I didn’t understand this at all, until it got really hot out in the late spring. Suddenly, Mahou was all I wanted. I was compelled to drink it. Couldn’t get enough of it. Every Mediterranean country has its own crappy lager, and in every place I visited on a hot day, that’s what I ordered and gratefully drank.

#3. That soda/wine thing? It doesn’t work with Coke.

Another classic wine drink from Spain is the kalimotxo (pronounced “calimocho”). It’s Basque — note the “tx” in the word, which is just a super Basque way to spell something — and it’s half cheap red wine, half Coke. I really like Basque’s culinary scene (who doesn’t?) but this booze is not for me. It tastes like Coke’s evil twin. Like, it looks like coke, but tastes vaguely sinister. The Coke flavor actually enhances the taste of the alcohol in the wine, somehow.

#4. When possible, add fruit to your alcohol.  

I now do this with my gin & tonics. Chop up ripe fruit and let it hang out in there. This isn’t strictly a Spanish thing (sangria notwithstanding), but I picked up the habit there and now love it.

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Visiting Boston’s Dead: Fancy Cemetery Edition


Lots of dead people are underfoot in Boston. For starters, every tourist who comes to this town will pass by cemeteries from Colonial and Revolutionary days, like the Granary Burial Ground just off Boston Common.

The Granary has 2,300 markers but probably twice as many bodies. In 2009, a tourist on a walk there discovered one unmarked grave by falling into it. She put her foot on just the right spot, where a broken slate slab had finally given way, and found herself hip-deep in a stairwell leading down to the tomb. The lady never identified herself to the press, which is a shame — I would have loved to read that interview.

Another of my favorite things about the Granary Burial Ground: After paying your respects to Samuel Adams, you can walk across Tremont Street, enter the Beantown Pub, and order a Sam Adams. Sometimes Boston is just fun like that. 

At places like the Granary and at Copp’s Hill in the North End (both begun in the 17th century) the gravestones are now just thin grey shards that lean and sink into the earth, but at least they are identifiable as graveyards. Other skeletons didn’t get that kind of ceremony — according to one historian, a couple dozen British soldiers probably lie underneath homeowners’ gardens in Charlestown, not far from Bunker Hill. Nobody knows for sure.

Sorry to ramble — that stuff is all just pretty awesome. I could talk about graveyards all day! But I write today not to discuss humble churchyards; no, I want next-level graveyards. I want Victorians.



Forest Hills Cemetery and Mt. Auburn Cemetery

I’m surprised by how many locals haven’t visited the Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain or Mt. Auburn in Cambridge. Rich Bostonians went nuts with obelisks and tombstones, even above-ground, walk-in tombs of the sort I imagined were only used for undead French people in movies. 

Mt. Auburn was supposedly the first “garden cemetery,” where monuments were arrayed artfully among hills and trees.


Behold! I have finally gotten an Instagram account. #sometimesIneedfilters


Prime real estate for Mr. Tufts here. #forgottoaddafilter


#shouldhavehadafilter? #probably

Mt. Auburn’s big draw is the tower right in its center, from which you can perfectly view the Boston skyline. The zoom on my smartphone camera isn’t great, so you’ll just have to trust me on that.


#yep,filter #AmIUsinghashtagscorrectly? #IDontReallyCare

But that’s just Mt. Auburn — Forest Hills came along slightly later, and is more grandiose and quirkier, and therefore my favorite. I go every year in the autumn, which is why these photos look so autumnal:


Forest Hills seems to be the place where people asked themselves: “But no, seriously, which type of tombstone really reflects me, as an individual?” There are huge examples self-aggrandizement and monuments to military badassery, as well as moments of genuine pathos. I mean, look at this stuff:


Little stone sculptures of children’s empty beds. In a cemetery full of children’s and infant’s graves. I mean, good God.

The place is dotted with sculpture as well: It’s an outdoor museum, impeccably landscaped. The perfect place to walk on an October day. When it’s cold and misty, it’s like being in an Edward Gorey sketch. When it’s sunny, it’s just gorgeous. 


Pottery shard obelisk.


Why are these tiny houses carved into the rock the walls off this path? I don’t know, but I love it.

Filed under graveyard cemetery history boston

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Maine: Acadia National Park and my craven, abject fear of heights

Hey, do you have a problem with heights? No? Well I sure do! I don’t like ‘em. Not one bit.

This may shock you, but I am a lady of easily unsettled nerves. I also am pretty clumsy, and I don’t always have the best balance. So hey, here’s an idea: Let’s put me on the side of a mountain and see how that goes.


The Beehive Trail at Acadia. That ledge seems a lot narrower when you’re as panicked as a horse in a burning barn. Credit: Garden State Hiker/Flickr

I didn’t take the above picture; it’s tough to calmly snap photos when spikes of dread keep stabbing you in the brain and melting your leg muscles into jelly. At that point on the trail, I was focused on keeping my eyes resolutely away from the gorgeous views and lack of safety apparatus.

Or…perhaps I should give myself more credit. I did, after all, successfully climb the thing. Not to brag, but I didn’t even cry. Someone else hiking the trail did start crying at one point — I could hear her on the next ledge up above me, all trembling and tearful. Was she a small child of about six years old? Maybe. (Yes, she definitely was.)

Maine’s Acadia, a vast park of mountain and pine, is full of sweeping vistas, woodsy walks, crashing waves, and yes, the exciting Beehive and Precipice trails. These two trails have exposed rock ledges, so iron ladder rungs are built strategically into the rock to help you scramble up. Without them, the trail gets quite dangerous.

But with them in place, it’s a slightly scary but (for most outdoorsy people) do-able trail. Elementary-school kids were scrambling up, as I mentioned, and my mother-in-law had taken her sons on the trail when they were about five and six.

Everywhere you walk or drive in the park, the views are spectacular — especially Cadillac Mountain, the East Coast’s tallest oceanside peak. For much of the year it’s the first place in North America to see the sunrise.

Acadia is small, as national parks go (74 square miles. For reference, Yellowstone is about 3,500 square miles). Still, lots of trails upon which to scramble in the afternoon sun, or biking paths to cruise along. Even a beach, if you don’t mind New England’s freezing ocean water (Which, I very much do. I stuck to the trails).




I will say this: Now that I’m safely down, I’m glad I went up. I spend most of my life walking on flat concrete or climbing stairs, and my sense of balance and my upper-body strength are rarely called into action. Once I got used to using them on our hikes, I realized they weren’t as faulty as I’d thought.

I’m also glad the only person to witness my terror was my husband. This man lives with me. He knows I am not a dignified human, and has accepted it.


Filed under maine acadia hikes mountains

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Mead, drink of Vikings, gets a sexy makeover.

So, of all the boozy drinks out there, what’s the sexiest? Would it be wine? Champagne? A martini, maybe, because of James Bond?

Mead, I think you will agree, is an unlikely contender. Unless you think Beowulf is sexy — and if you think this, it is because you have not read Beowulf.

Mead is the stuff of grim Medieval halls and of bearded men who regularly go a-pillaging. It’s likely the oldest form of alcohol, because it’s easier to make than beer or wine. It’s just fermented honey and water. Anyone can make it, anywhere, and we’ve done so for at least 7,000 years. It’s referenced in ancient literature all over the world. And in “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves,” it’s mead that Kevin Costner and the boys are drinking when they’re sitting contemplatively around the campfire, which provides as scholarly an authority on the subject as any I care to know.*

In these craft-booze times of ours, is it any surprise that mead is making a comeback? From 30 to 40 U.S. meaderies a decade ago, to around 250 now. The American Mead Makers Association just formed in 2012.

Of this pack of resurgent honey-wine makers stands Moonlight Meadery in New Hampshire. In a bold branding move, the Moonlight Meadery has tagged itself “Romance by the Glass.” All its drinks carry far-fetched names, like, “Stiletto,” “Flutter” and “Deviant” (oh my!) in a bid to sell mead as a delicious love-elixir. 

My husband and I went for a tour and mead-tasting at Moonlight for the sexiest reason of all: We got a Groupon for it from my brother-in-law last Christmas. 

We rolled up to the tasting facility, and the romance began!



Then we went into the warehouse for the tour, and saw where they made the mead, bottled it and packaged it:




So sensual.

I joke, but the mead was actually really delicious. I eagerly held out my glass for another sip of Deviant, and would do so again. We bought bottles of mead entitled “Smitten” and “Flame,” and drank them at home, sexily watching John Oliver’s show and learning about FDA regulations. Romance by the Glass, indeed.

You’d think a honey-wine would be cloyingly sweet and unpleasant, but no. Apparently we’ve improved our recipes in the days since blond men with suspiciously American accents did battle with Alan Rickman. They add vanilla beans, berries, spices and the like, and just let it hang out in the mix for awhile, with tasty results.

I recommend the tour, especially if you’re a booze nerd and you want to hear somebody talk about fermentation and bottling. And it’s the best way to sip lots of different mead — I can’t argue with that.

If you have candidates for the sexiest beverage, let me hear them! No dirty-sounding shots, please. I reject any suggestion that include shots named after sex acts or body parts.


*Remember, it’s that one scene where they’re all bonding together and becoming best friends, and Robin asks Bull, “Why do they call you Bull? Is it because you’re short?” and he says, “no! It’s because I”m so long!” and then nearly whips his junk out to show everybody, but stops because it’s PG-13. 

Filed under mead new hampshire romance

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The Sex Talk from Catholic Marriage Prep

In the fifth and ninth grades, I sat in a classroom and listened to adults talk about sex. In both cases, the teacher tried to pretend she was totally cool with talking about this, and the students did not make eye contact with each other.

In January, I got to do it again! Except this time, it was a priest doing the talking. And he didn’t say “sex.” On no. He used this phrase: ”To express yourself genitally.” 

"To express yourself genitally," or "when you express yourself genitally." He said this repeatedly. I was awestruck.

Of all the sex euphemisms the English language has produced, that’s the one he picked. He could have said any number of other, less filthy-sounding things, like, “intercourse” or “express your love physically,” or even “doin’ it,” or “bone down” or “take the dump truck to the bone yard.” Anything is an improvement on “express yourself genitally,” which sounds like something only perverts do. 

To be fair, it wasn’t him who invented that phrase. One of the class worksheets quoted a book passage about how you shouldn’t have sex before marriage because you should really love the person you’re doin’ it with, or something. “Genital expression” was the author’s phrase of choice, there, so I assume we have him to blame.

Otherwise, nothing got too strange. I find that people are always curious about these Catholic prep classes. These are mandatory if you want to get married in the church; we got ours knocked out in a day, although they often require a much bigger time commitment and multiple sessions.

Most of these classes just make you fill out worksheets on your conflict-resolution style and your financial goals, and then talk about them with your intended. They make you talk about whether you want pets, or how many kids you’ll have. So, basically it was stuff my man and I had already discussed throughout our engagement. Except for hearing the word “genital” more than I have at any other point in my life, it was a very chill day. 

A priest led the class, but they do bring in married couples to lead sessions. Most of the sex talk was simply about how sex is important and special, and how maybe we should possibly consider Natural Family Planning as our birth control method of choice. Which, heh, the priest knew he was dealing with a skeptical crowd on that one. He put it out there, but you could tell he wasn’t convinced he’d have many takers. 

We got our certificate for completing the class and got ourselves properly hitched in April. At the reception, our friends requested that the DJ play “Express Yourself” and they tried to yell “GENITALLY!” at us through the music. We have weird friends. 

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Yes, I’m going to keep my weird, hard-to-spell surname.

Note: The Nervous American is not currently abroad. She just got married, and has some thoughts about it.

My last name is “Schreier.” In German, this translates to “Screamer.” This amuses Germans, although in my experience they are too polite to laugh. 

My family fully expected me to take my fiance’s surname (Mitchell) when I married, and I think I rather startled them when I declined. They were full of worries, like, How will you explain this to your kids? How will you declare to the world that you are a properly married woman? How will we address letters to your household?

My answers, in order: Life is confusing, and my children will be stronger for having faced this puzzlement early in life; I will declare I am married by use of the word “husband” and the gold ring on my finger; You can just call us “the Mitchells.” I don’t mind. 

Most people are cool with this, but a couple men of my acquaintance rolled their eyes. ”Oh, so this is like, a power thing?” one asked, as if my decision were some kind of power-play in the relationship. Wah?

Another man tried to convince me it wasn’t really a big deal to change my name, and to just do it. Which: I find it amusing indeed when men weigh in on a decision they will never have to make. Oh yes, please, do tell me how I should feel about this! 

For some men, it’s important that their wives take their names. I don’t really understand it, but there’s plenty I don’t know about how to be an American man in 2014. For me, I am simply very much attached to my name — it suits me, I like it, and I want to keep it. It’s a big part of my identity.

If my fiance had a serious problem with that, well, we would have had some awkward conversations in store. As it happens, though, my wary suggestion that I keep my name was met with a shrug, and we continued merrily about our business. Our kids can just be “Mitchell,” and if I feel like taking the name later on, I will do so.

I also don’t understand why my different surname is some sort of impediment to achieving full familial unity with my spouse and our future children. In Spain, women do not change their names when they marry, and it doesn’t seem to have had any adverse effect on their family structure. Seriously, have you seen any Spaniard families lately? “Tight-knit” is the appropriate adjective. They make American families look like a loose confederacy of people who just happen to share the same features. 

In this country, 19th century suffragist and abolitionist Lucy Stone declined to use her husband’s name after they got married. One of my textbooks in school said women who followed this example were called “Lucy Stoners.”  It appears I will be joining the ranks of Stoners everywhere, then, and my hat’s off to the sainted Ms. Stone for setting the example back in 1854. 

Filed under wedding spain