The Mr. & I got our marriage license two weeks ago, and while we were filling out the paperwork I was confronted with spaces for me to put "Current Name" and "Married Name". While I'd always thought I knew what I wanted here, I was suddenly gripped by a flood of "You mean I have to decide this now?!" Nothing like a little legally-binding document to make me question myself.
I admit that I probably have a more complicated relationship with this subject than most. First, my point against: I'm not changing it for professional purposes. I've worked for years to carve out the beginning of a niche in my industry -- no way am I going back to "who?"
Second, my points for: I hated my last name when I was a kid. It can be rhymed with far too many embarrassing things, and even occassionally employed as a verb. I was aching to be rid of it since age 6. (Yes this is probably the silliest of my reasons. But at the time it seemed terribly important.)
More significantly: I am the product of a divorce. Growing up, I was the only person in my house with my last name, and I can't imagine why I'd continue that voluntarily.
My fiance's family thinks I'm adorably retro on the subject -- both his mom & sister kept their maiden names. But the phrase "maiden name" has always stuck uncomfortably in my throat. Am I waiting for Robin Hood to come rescue me from a dragon? Talk about retro.
All of these thoughts swirled around my brain in roughly 3.5 seconds as I paused while filling out that government form. And then it hit me: I could have it both ways. I added my family name to the "Middle Name" box, and put his as the "Last Name." So I have two middle names now (or I will in 12 days).
The truth is, for all my over-thinking the subject, I've grown rather attached to my name. It's followed me around the world, and it reminds me of so many people I love who aren't here any more.
Besides, if it's good enough for Charlotte York MacDougal Goldenblatt ....