MY FATHER WANTED SONS

My feminism began with my father, who wanted sons. Had I been one he’d have named me Paul after my mother’s father, or Bruce, after no one he knew. He must have liked the sound alone, the angry strength of it, harking back to a long-lost Scots-Irish ancestor with an oblique connection to Robert The Bruce.

His wanting sons over daughters didn’t make him unique. A man wants his name to go on. This was before women kept their maiden names…