The bride taking the groom’s last name is a traditional part of marriage. However, for one couple, finding a hybrid last name to share reflects equality among the two people.
Jordan Hanson and Zahra Nasrazadani plan to find a new last name for them both to share, reflecting their progressive-minded feminist viewpoints.
Hanson, senior in English, attended the Emporia State Debate tournament in October 2006, his freshman year of college. He gave a speech on accurate grammatical interpretation of a phrase. Nasrazadani, graduate student in pharmacy at the University of Kansas, then in her second year of college with four years of debate under her belt, was invited to watch his debate round.
“If you haven’t caught on yet, we are both incredibly nerdy,” Nasrazadani said. “I get a sick pleasure out of the finer points of grammar and technicalities — which can often help win a debate round — so I excitedly volunteered to sit in on the round for fun. Afterward, I commented to a mutual friend that I just wanted to pinch Jordan’s cheeks — I found his dimples entirely too cute and I’ve always been a sucker for blue eyes.”
Hanson said he felt slightly awkward while arguing and thought he made himself look “dumb.” Hanson’s debate partner introduced the two, who flirted the rest of the night at the tournament’s after-party.
The debate tournament marked the beginning. The two love birds texted constantly, so much that Nasrazadani had to move up to an unlimited texting plan for her cell phone. Following a number of exclusive but casual dates, including a trip to the Spencer Art Museum, Nasrazadani asked Hanson to be her boyfriend in November, 2006.
Two years of dating passed, and Hanson and Nasrazadani planned to get engaged at the end of the year. Because the relationship had already made it through Hanson attending K-State while Nasrazadani went to the University of Kansas, they knew they could handle a higher level of commitment.
Both are feminists and are interested in social justice and politics. Their values are very similar and they both describe themselves as nerdy. Nasrazadani and Hanson do not necessarily believe they found “the one,” but cannot picture themselves with anyone else.
Hanson said he loves Nasrazadani’s intelligence. While she said adores his belief in their partnership. Their entire relationship is founded on mutual respect and honesty.
“We knew that we didn’t want a pop-the-question moment; public proposals always make me cringe with vicarious embarrassment and proposals that are total surprises just don’t make sense,” she said. “Proposals shouldn’t be surprises if you’re an active participant in a healthy relationship — that level of commitment shouldn’t be a “gotcha” moment. So, there was no bended knee, no velvet box and asking my father for permission.”
On Dec. 4, 2008, Hanson and Nasrazadani chatted through their webcams from their respective Manhattan and Lawrence homes. Nasrazadani hid out of the camera’s view and wrote “Marry Me?” on an envelope along with a doodle of the engagement ring meant for his left ring finger. She held it up for him to see, and Hanson responded with a “yes!”
“It was a very cute paper sign,” Hanson said.
Hanson’s engagement ring is a plain white-gold band. Nasrazadani’s is a one-karat lab-created solitaire gemstone called moissanite. The two chose their own rings.
During winter break, the couple informed both sets of parents of the engagement. The couple said they told their parents because they wanted to share their bliss with their families, not to ask permission or to receive a blessing. Both Hanson’s and Nasrazadani’s parents supported the couple and saw the engagement coming, just not particularly that soon.
Hanson and Nasrazadani plan to find a common hybrid last name to take after the wedding. They will also write their whole ceremony, start to finish, and leave out the phrase “man and wife” to symbolize the equality in their relationship. Both sets of parents will walk the couple down the aisle. The ceremony will be one without thousands of dollars and stereotypes thrown into it.
The couple plans to wed in May of 2011. Nasrazadani will be done with pharmacy classes, and Hanson will have graduated. For now, the couple will continue to love each other and find out exactly what getting married means to them.