03 August 2009

To change, or not to change (my name)?

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 ....

5 comments:

samantha said...

i hyphenated mine because the military told me I couldn't - so then i just ran the two last names together.

the beauty of the hyphen was I could continue to use my credit cards / business stuff etc with my maiden name, and when we were out with friends, getting xmas cards etc - my husbands last name was perfectly acceptable, and by hyphenating it, I had it on everything - everywhere.

voila.

glad you kept yours -- although you will always be shagger rabbit to me.

Mr.Un-Bride said...

Shagger? Something I need to know, Sunny?

Eco Yogini said...

oh- seems like the name thing is the topic for both of us!
I was going to keep my last name until I started thinking about children... and how I really really really wanted them to have the same name as me- how unfair to work so hard to create them and then they get Andrew's last name! no way.
BUT- also, I didn't want to have to hyphenate and Andrew not... SO- we are BOTH hyphenating our last names. :)
I am pumped about this (and nervous about changing my last name) but his parents FREAKED about the whole thing. Hopefully 14 months from now they will be ok with the concept... :S

samantha said...

Mr. UB - It has to do with my inablity to type when drunk and naming an email address "nickname" quick type thing - ergo she will forever be shagger rabbit in my phone, my email and anything else.

You are actually in there as "Rabbits man"

I cringe sometimes when I see how I have named the peeps in my phone book, but I'll tell you this, I do know who all of them are, including "do not answer" and "snow cow" and chipmunk.

the un-bride said...

@Samantha: god, I love you.