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Rules in the Name Game

April 12, 1987

Molly Selvin's article, "Which Name Goes First--Hers or His?" (Other Views, April 5), rang a bell. She is being neither peevish nor hypersensitive.

Like her, I had owned cars, established a financial history and published articles in my name before marriage. Unlike her, I didn't choose to keep my maiden name, but chose to hyphenate my new surname (mine-his), quite common in Europe, where I lived for nearly four years.

The reactions still amaze me 18 months later. The DMV said at first that they could not type a hyphen in a name on a driver's license. My auto insurance company (a large one) flatly refused to insure our two cars in both our names.

Worst of all, after a month's hard work editing a small computer magazine, the (male) publisher took it upon himself to remove the maiden-name half of my surname from the masthead. He claimed it "spoiled the symmetry." I had to point out the obvious--that if my surname were merely long, he would not dream of cutting out letters in the middle of it to make it fit.

Hang in there, Molly.



Garden Grove

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