DEAR MISS MANNERS: My boss' son is having a baby -- well, not him, but his girlfriend. And he would like to know, what is the "norm" when a baby is born out of wedlock and the parents want to hyphenate the baby's last name? Does the mother's name go first standard? Alphabetical? Any input you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
GENTLE READER: Norm? There is no normal standard about names in this society. It's total chaos, and it's driving Miss Manners crazy. Nobody knows what to call anybody else.
But much as she would like a standardized system, she would hardly countenance one that had a specific way of identifying those born out of wedlock. Just tell your boss to be grateful that society no longer decrees what such children should be called.