I was in Boston doing some research these past two days. Stayed with Liz Monaghan and Ed Thompson, who are getting married in a few months.
I asked Liz today whether she was planning on changing her name. She said that indeed she was. I consider Monaghan-for-Thompson to be a pretty even tradeâ€”the Larry Johnson for Anthony Mason of name swaps. Alas, most are significantly more one-sided. My wife was Catherine Guggenheimer. I consider Pearlmanâ€”while far from the Thompson of namesâ€”a huge upgrade. My mom, once Joan Herz, now Joan Pearlman, made enormous gains. Not since 1967 has anyone asked about her Uncle Dick. My friend Laura Fasbach, also a journalist, married a Donovan. That’s a brilliant swapâ€”Delino for Pedro-esque.
But, really, one must be careful. I would say my friend with the best pre-marriage last name was Rebecca Tollen, a reporter based out of San Francisco. For my ears, Tollen is perfectâ€”smooth, easily spoken and spelled, not overly common, but not weird, doesn’t rhyme with any body parts. However, a few years ago Rebecca married. Her husband is Roberto Nhuch. He’s a great guyâ€”cool, Brazilian. I’m sure, in Portuguese. ‘Nhuch’ means “Wonderful person with wings of gold.” But it ain’t Tollenâ€”not even close. (That said, it can be worse. I have a second cousin. His name is Arthur. His last name is Baer. His wife’s first name is Benji. I don’t know her maiden name, but she goes by Benji Baer.