The Name Change Debacle

It has been a bear of a day.  Between being epically late thanks to a serious WMATA (DC’s subway/bus system) fail, getting a talking to at work (and deserving it), and my computer choking on itself and converting all words in icons, buttons, boxes, etc to Wing Dings, I have not been at my perkiest.

The week, however, is coming to a close, thank goodness.  And seeing as it has been over ten days since I last blogged, I thought I would take the time to recap some of the things that I have been meaning to write about recently, but frankly have not had the time or the energy to do so.

After hemming and hawing for over a year and changing my mind countless times, I finally decided on my married name.  I made this pronouncement sometime last week, and this internal debate has been going on for so long that Patrick said, “Okay, see you when you change your mind next week!” Well, it’s next week, and guess what?  I didn’t change my mind!

See, originally I thought that this would be an easy thing.  For years I was determined! I was convinced that my maiden name was so horrendous that, as soon as I got married, I would plow down old ladies with walkers to get to the Social Security office to have my name officially changed.

(You might be thinking to yourself, her name can’t be THAT bad. Much like Obama, yes it can.  My last name is a blatant sexual innuendo that made high school an absolute hoot!)

Well, when Patrick proposed, I was excited. (Duh.) What I was surprisingly not excited about was changing my name.  It was tough, though.  Because my first name and his last name alone make pretty little music.

Not only that, it’s significantly shorter than my current name, which clocks in at eighteen letters. My name is so long that I have to shorten my signature by using only my first initial and my last name.  Even then, I kind of phone it in with the last name, which usually ends up being a giant squiggle.

Well, I can chuck all of my dreams of happy name-writing goodbye, because in the end, I couldn’t part with my last name.  It used to be some sort of perverse scarlet letter (like when parents name their kids Candi or Foothill), but now it’s like a badge of courage.  I earned that name.  It’s mine.  Not only that, but I’m in short supply on family and family identity.  To give up the name feels like giving up a bit of my past.

But I wanted his name too, because I’m a greedy only child.  Cue up the hand cramps.  Now my name will clock in at TWENTY-FOUR LETTERS.

Elizabeth M********-M*****

I’ve started practicing it.  It was a bit of a mouthful at first, and my hand is still getting used to the workout, but I like it.  My new name might be the fat kid who isn’t picked for dodgeball, but it’ll be my fat kid… or something.

My choice, however, is not okay with some people.  An elderly woman schooled me the other day on what is “proper” and “right” when it comes to taking a man’s name when you get married.  I was told in no uncertain terms that women “like me” (who apparently don’t shave their legs, hate bras, etc) are what’s wrong with society, and we are the downfall of what the American Family should be like.

It was downright shocking.  Get on me because my choice in married name is long and cumbersome, but to call me a feminist with a disdain that is usually only reserved for people who beat their puppies (shame on you!) is rather bizarre.

She also said I was probably one of those people who listens to that “women-libber crap” like “Ani DeFrankfurt”.


Well, whatever.  Little old ladies may find me distasteful, and my hand may cry out in pain because it takes extra an long time to write my name out, but I’m happy with my decision.

Now, I don’t know about you… but it’s Friday. It’s happy hour time with one of my favorite people.

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2 Responses to The Name Change Debacle

  1. Meg says:

    Choosing to change your name (or not — or hyphenate!) is a very personal decision… and one that old ladies have no right to really comment on, honestly! I seriously question whether I’ll change my name when I get married, because isn’t that asking us to give up the basic part of our individual identities: our names?! The one we were born with? The one people have called us since, um, forever?

    Yeah, that scares me.

    But you’re making the decision for you, and that’s what’s most important. 🙂 As for me? I’ll panic a little more when I actually find the guy I’ll someday wed.

    And see how bad HIS last name is. 🙂

  2. None says:

    Why not the non hyphenated last name? Just to add to the confusion…

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