A non-sexist strategy for picking last names
Just this week I learned that there is a dermatologist in Berkeley, CA, who has taken your advice to heart. Formerly she was Dr. Devika Patel. But she took her husband's name when she married and is now Dr. Devika Icecreamwala, M.D. I admire this choice!
For any Chinese readers who don't want to adopt a cool European surname, consider 司徒, romanized as Szeto.
Just realized that this is basically what Aragorn did.
The surname Eden can actually be found in the wild - it was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name!
Alternative proposal: Each person has a hyphenated last name. When two people marry, each chooses one half on their last name and they put them together to form a new hyphenated last name. This way there is still selection for coolness, but they don't have to agree on taste. Each person uses their original half as the first in the new pair. For example, if Alice Smith-Debussy marries Bob Yang-Gladstone, they might become Alice Debussy-Yang and Bob Yang-Debussy. When the first child is born, you flip a coin to decide in which order their last names will be. The following children alternate. So, the above couple might have Jane Yang-Debussy as their first child, Haruki Debussy-Yang as the second and Karuvaki Yang-Debussy as the third.
Speaking of ridiculous names... there's a Canadian news anchor named Anita Bathe. Google her if you don't believe me!
Men aren't necessarily stuck with a terrible surname; it's not very common, but it's entirely possible to change one's legal name for no other reason than you don't like it.
For example, "Schmuck" is a surname of German origin that meant "jeweler", but in Yiddish it's a vulgar term for penis - and American English borrowed the Yiddish word instead of the German one.
I do not condone naming oneself after Satan, but I will admit that that is a RAD surname.
I did once read of a valid case of surname hyphenation, that of Mr. and Mrs. Dark-Wolfe (or Darke-Wolf?), and I heartily approve in that case.
Both partners in a couple hyphenate after getting married to a new surname (which should be cool, obviously). The kids get only the cool, joint surname. Some continuity, but no surname length that increases exponentially with generations.
Incidentally, my own situation illustrates a problem with your suggestion that you didn't consider. My surname is in many ways cooler than my spouse's. She is Korean and like 20% of all Koreans has the name Kim (“gold”). But we live in the United States and for her to take the name Dominus would have seemed like a rejection of her Korean heritage not only on her part but on behalf of our kids. If we lived in Korea we might have gone the other way.
I briefly considered changing my own name to Kim, but Dominus is much too cool to give up.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit that my husband and I went through this exact same thought process upon having a child ("because now we really have to decide") and settled on making up a last name no one else has... and um, also picked a name that means "raven"... so sample size probably not indicative, but I welcome the day when half the people I know pay nominative tribute to corvids <3
I like this, and would like to add that, if nobody in the relationship has a sufficiently cool name, then a̷d̷d̷ ̷a̷n̷ ̷a̷d̷d̷i̷t̷i̷o̷n̷a̷l̷ ̷p̷a̷r̷t̷n̷e̷r̷ ̷t̷o̷ ̷y̷o̷u̷r̷ ̷r̷e̷l̷a̷t̷i̷o̷n̷s̷h̷i̷p̷ ̷ you can also consider a portmanteau of your surnames.