Fantastic Ms. Fox
January 12, 2017
Given that it’s nearly 60 degrees in New England, I’d like to share some news that matches today’s sunny disposition. My wife Jen recently accepted a position with the Harvard Management Company (they’re the folks who manage the endowment of the second-best university in the greater Boston-Cambridge metropolitan area). She leaves her previous employer, the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, after roughly 12 years. The outpouring of support and well-wishes from her former co-workers has been moving (though, given her dedication and ability, not unsurprising) and I know she’ll carry those relationships on with her for the rest of her life.
I find it challenging to adequately express how proud I am of Jen, and how excited I am for her new opportunity. Jen is extraordinary at virtually all she does (except, perhaps, playing soccer); rarely a day goes by where I do not find myself in awe of her intelligence, tenacity, dedication, and efficiency. She is my role model, and I openly plagiarize the manner in which she approaches her work.
(Jen, of course, does not require me or anyone else to speak on her behalf; of the two of us, I’m simply the one with the web site.)
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This career move and the past holiday season have also prompted me to address another topic: after Jen and I got married in the spring of 2015, she kept her last name, “Fox.”
Candidly, this was never an item of contention between us during our engagement. Though I suppose it isn’t necessary to share, my position was straight-forward. If I wouldn’t have been willing to change my own name (even though “Daniel Edward ‘Ted’ Fox” would be a great moniker for a spy, or even Secretary of State), why should I have asked that of Jen? Not only did it seem inconsistent to make this request, but my wife also had valuable professional equity invested in “Jennifer M. Fox,” the name that appears on her degrees from N.Y.U. and Columbia.
I wholeheartedly respect other married couples’ decisions to adopt one surname, and I certainly understand the advantages (both practical and cultural) in creating this sort of ‘unified’ household. Furthermore, I am not insulted when I’m referred to as “Mr. Fox” by a clerk, nor do I believe Jen is offended–in any way–when she receives mail addressed to “Mrs. Tierney.” (So please do keep sending us cards!) Given, however, that our decision goes against many social conventions, I thought it was appropriate to make it known.
What will happen, you may be wondering, if Jen and I have a child? What name will he or she have?
If that day comes, my vote will be for Frankenstein. I’ll keep you posted on what Ms. Fox thinks.
UPDATE: In response to questions on what to call us, I like ‘Fox & Tierney.’ It sounds genteel, like a high-end children’s clothing store on the Upper West Side.