The Name Conundrum
After we had turned in the first draft of our manuscript, our editor asked us how we wanted to print our names on the book's cover. Would we be Amy and Marc Vachon, Marc and Amy Vachon, Amy Vachon and Marc Vachon? Seems like a simple query, but we know it is actually a mini-minefield.
Over these past few years, we've gotten used to the occasional question about why we've placed one of our names before the other, or why Amy chose to take my name when we married. After all, we're all about bucking tradition. So why do we sometimes sound like Ozzy and Harriet when it comes to our names?
There's been plenty of discussion elsewhere about how no perfect naming solution exists for parenting couples (either for themselves or for their children). Many ESP couples indeed do buck tradition - giving one child a mother's surname and the next a father's, or making up a new last name that combines the two names, etc. Many ESP moms keep their maiden names, some take their husband's last name as a new middle name (with their husbands doing likewise)...and some do as we have done by appearing to stick with tradition. Truth be told, our shared last name of Vachon just felt right to both of us. Amy had several reasons for wanting to shed her previous name, and genuinely loved my family's surname. We both like the idea, for us, of sharing a last name. It's our team name, and ESP is all about being a team together.
So back to the 'simple' question of how to appear on our book cover. Do we go with the classic feminist (and in this case, alphabetical, too) approach of 'Amy and Marc Vachon,' or do we perhaps separate our names to retain our individual identity, or is there something meaningful about my name appearing first...something that might draw attention to the idea that equally shared parenting is not just a woman's desire (as so much of the parenting literature is positioned) - that it appeals equally to men.
In the spirit of Team Vachon, we decided to go with joined rather than separate names. But who appears first? This book was written by both of us. The order of our names doesn't matter to either of us; what's inside - our message - is the key. And our equality message is neither 'women first' nor 'men first.' In the end, we took a very scientific approach. We got out our highly calibrated equality data collection instrument and flung it high in the air. "Heads," we called.
It will be 'Marc and Amy Vachon.'