Name that woman!

Most of my friends do not know my name. I find that quite odd. I knew that people in general would assume that I had changed my name when I got married, but I did not realize that almost everyone would assume. Friends with whom I have had long late-night abstract discussions about the meaning of marriage somehow thought that when it came down to “real life” I would conform to their expectations. One explained that she thought I might hyphenate, but when addressing her wedding invitations she thought of separate names as an indication that a couple was not married. So she addressed the envelope to husband’s-last-name since she knew that I am “very married.”

She meant that as a compliment. Even though I am odd she respects me enough to just pretend that I meet cultural expectations for a good married woman.

I have yet to be offended by someone calling me by my husband’s name.  If it was a sensitive issue I would have made sure that everyone knew the right name in the first place. But I do think that it is funny that almost everyone assumes that I changed my name. Seriously. Drop your cultural training for just a moment. It really is odd to assume that someone has a different name from the one you’ve always known, when you were never told that the name changed!

To make matters more complex, I do intend to change my name at some point. My husband and I decided to share a name. A completely new name not shared by our families. In theory, he is the one who cares most about us having a family name for us and our children. I am happy to go along with it because I want him to be happy. In reality though, he does not want to bother with paperwork. So we continue with the names we were given at birth. My guess is that we will continue this way until forced into action by a child.

When I do change my name everyone will think it is odd. And they should. It is weird to change one’s name. I accept that. I am odd. It is strange that I have no attachment to my name and am perfectly willing to take a new name. When I change my name people should be surprised. But they should not be surprised when my name is today what it always has been!

This is a sensitive issue for many people, but I wish they could see the humor. Is it not horribly ironic that the same people who assume my name has changed will be most surprised when I do actually change it?

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7 thoughts on “Name that woman!

  1. Jenna

    When we were married I had the exact same plan as you. Keep my name until I am forced to change. Now we’ve gotten so lazy that I don’t plan on ever changing! Husband told me at first that it was important to him for me to take his name, but now neither of us want to deal with the hassle of all the paperwork that would be involved. So, I guess our kids will just have to deal with two names. :)

    1. Rae Post author

      I don’t think that dealing with two names is actually that hard. Their early school years would probably a lot easier if they just had your last name!

  2. Jenny

    My sister (technically half-sister) and her husband both took on a new name for their last name when they got married. Neither one of them had good relationships with their fathers, so neither one really wanted to keep their paternal surname. So they decided one the liked that would fit them.

    I think it’s cool and it makes for a great story.

  3. kaitlyn

    Ha! I suppose it really is just cultural training. The only thing that I honestly don’t like (personal preference) is hyphenated names. It may just be that I work for a tele-messaging firm and it is awfully annoying to have to type out “Angela Smith-Davis” and then confirm “That’s A-N-G-E-L-A S-M-I-T-H hypen D-A-V-I-S” as well as using letter confirmations like “G as in GEORGE, S as in SAM, M as in MARY etc. etc.” …. see my point? It’s especially awful when you combine say, a very Polish and a very Greek name (i.e. Gryzbowski-Theophilus). We put those names into a “Funny Names” memo. In short, make up your mind, you know? Ha.

    End rant. I think it’s great you have an eventual goal in mind, and that you don’t take offense to silly assumptions!

  4. Kathleen

    The paperwork IS a hassle. My name is legally changed but it’s still not changed everywhere, and I don’t know if it ever will be. But I love having my husband’s name. It makes me feel closer to him, somehow.

  5. Kerri with a K

    I’m finding it so amazing that we have so many things in common. My fiance and I have had discussions at length on what to do about changing my last name after we’re married. I would love to share a name. And we have come up with a name that is unique for us.

    I really do love that we can do whatever we like… or not :)

    Great post.

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