We hit a pop culture milestone this weekend when it was revealed that Bennifer had tied the knot.
After a 20-year hiatus, marriage scandals and breakups, Super Bowl gigs, and the iconic Sad Affleck meme, it was finally time to say yes to her.
Jennifer Affleck (née Lopez) released details of her wedding through her personal newsletter (like A-list celebrities issue press releases these days). They flew to Vegas, queued with four other couples for their driver’s licenses, and tied the knot at the Little White Chapel after midnight.
They decided against officiating an Elvis impersonator because it cost extra and – according to the hustlers Stern – already in bed. She was wearing a dress from an old movie and Ben was wearing “a jacket from his closet,” and they posed for photos in a vintage pink Cadillac. There were only close family members there. It’s a far cry from their canceled 2004 wedding, when they planned to have three bait brides to ward off unwanted media attention.
Two things struck me about this wedding; The first is that we’ve certainly gotten over the wave of nostalgia of the noughties now. Between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney’s wag-atha Christie courtroom drama and the looming return of low-rise jeans, we’ve hit the crescendo of Y2K romance.
But where do we go from the Bennifer marriage? Their love story (breaking up and reuniting two colorful decades later) feels like the pinnacle of noughties pop culture. Surely we must now find another decade to idolize?
The second topic of conversation is the last name. Jennifer signs her newsletter with her new title. “Love, Jennifer Lynn Affleck”. The name change will come as no surprise to hardcore fans who vividly remember their first engagement. Back in 2003 when Lopez was being interviewed Access HollywoodShe said she wanted to take Affleck’s name. “My name will of course be Jennifer Affleck.” Though she knowingly admitted that J-Aff sounded less than J-Lo.
Names and marriage are a fascinating area for many of us. On one hand, changing your last name to match your spouse can feel a bit “ye olde worlde.” On the other hand, many see it as a romantic tribute and the start of your new family merging.
I don’t pretend to understand; From a young age I knew I would never take anyone else’s last name. The only exception to this rule was when I married Julian Casablancas from The Strokes, because as a teenager I thought Kirsty Casablancas sounded incredibly cool. But unfortunately this dream never came true.
But I’m in the minority. The majority of women want to change their name. According to the BBC, a 2016 UK survey found that 85 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 30 intended to take their future husband’s surname. The women interviewed gave various reasons – they wanted to distance themselves from their family of origin, some thought it was pure romance, others were not so on their own behalf. Many said they were changing their name as it gave the impression of a strong and “united family”. That surprised me. Are we really naïve enough to think that lasting marriage is more achievable when everyone has the same “brand name”?
There is an argument that taking your husband’s name is anti-feminist, after all it was done back then to establish who owned women. Some sociologists say its maintenance is a reflection of generational patriarchal structures. It’s not always that busy though – sometimes people just feel like a change and want to mix things up. Sometimes people just want to buy that fairytale romance. And who could blame them, or the newly crowned J-Aff, for wanting to?
My only request is that there be more pressure in the other direction. There has already been a proliferation of hybrid and hyphenated surnames and a doubling of double barrels in the last 10 years, according to Irish charter surveys. But I’d like to see more men going all in and taking their wives’ names too. Just to balance things out a bit. Or if that doesn’t fit, maybe we could just start inventing whole new surnames.
How cool would it be if Bennifer made a Switcheroo surname; Jennifer Affleck and Ben Lopez? Or if they both legally changed their last names to Bennifer?
A bit embarrassing, yes, but it would have been so wonderfully subversive. And certainly more memorable than becoming The Afflecks.
Beware of the anonymous rating
US restaurateurs are under attack from Google one-star ratings. A “tidal wave of bad reviews” surfaced for famous restaurants in Chicago and San Francisco, and then a note saying the bad reviews would continue if the restaurant owners handed over $75 on a gift card. whoops Anonymous reviews on Tripadvisor and Google should be treated with caution. Comedian Alan Carr once said he came across a two-star Tripadvisor review of Stonehenge, in which he complained “there was no cafe”. Of course, a little discretion is required.
Service with a bad attitude
Speaking of restaurants. Fed up with good meals and first class service? Well it seems you are not alone.
There’s a new restaurant in the UK called Karen’s Diner, where waiters are told not to be rude to customers. That’s the USP. The immersive rockabilly restaurant chain started in Sydney, Australia and became so popular that they settled in Sheffield and Manchester.
That United Kingdom Times sent a reporter to explore the place. Inside, staff taunted people for being vegan, menus were thrown around like Frisbees, someone gave a diner a jester’s hat that said “I’m a virgin” and everyone laughed at a man’s unfortunate dental implants.
There are some breaking points – employees are not allowed to make fun of people with disabilities or make racist or sexist comments. But beyond that, everything and everyone is fair game, and people seem to love it. “It’s quite a thrill to be called a ‘cheap little bitch’ and pay for the privilege,” he said Times reporter notes.
Listen, I’m getting the call from the server’s POV. After years of dealing with nightmarish clients, it must be liberating to be able to listen to them. But what do the players get out of it? That Times claims that in a world where brands are so eager to appear progressive, a restaurant that goes against the tide is daring.
I think the answer is simpler – we all love to come back from a night out with a good story. And it’s hard to outdo someone who slams a menu at you and calls you a loser before handing you a basket of fries.
https://www.independent.ie/life/jennifer-affleck-why-dont-more-men-take-their-wives-surnames-41849725.html Jennifer Affleck: Why Don’t More Men Take Their Wife’s Last Name?