The Name Game

When a woman gets married, in particular after being single for a while, it can be a very agonizing decision on whether to change one’s name. If a woman has achieved a significant amount of success in her career as a single person (i.e. a journalist or attorney or filmmaker) it may be hard to decide to take her new husband’s name. If she has a strong feminist viewpoint, it may be an affront to her value system to take her husband’s name. If she was a single mom, taking her husband’s name may mean she won’t have the same name as her child(ren) anymore. Perhaps, she’s her father’s only child and he has no sons, so there is a strong attachment to the name that was bestowed upon her at birth.

I guess I fall more into the traditionalist camp. I plan to change my name when I get married. I guess it just wasn’t that big a deal to me. I’m the only girl. My daddy has 2 sons. And it’s important to Myron that we have the same last name. It’s a simple thing to do that will make him happy, so why not. And for those of you who know my last name in real life…let’s just say that I’m not hyphenating it with anything. It would just sound too weird.

It’s kind of funny, though. When I was pledging  my sorority in college (I’m a Delta),  there was another Tiffany on my line. To distinguish between the two of us, my big sisters started calling the both of us by our last names and it stuck. To all my friends I am not Tiffany, but my *last name*, I am introduced to others as *last name* and more than likely after I get married there will be some who will still call me by my OLD *last name*. I’m OK with that and so is Myron. His MAIN concern is that my name is changed LEGALLY.

Would you change your name if you get married? Did you? Did you hyphenate? Did you both choose a brand new last name? (Apparently that’s the latest trend..which gets a side eye from me, personally)

Holla at me in the comments.

(Thanks to Tazzee for the blog inspiration!)

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28 thoughts on “The Name Game

  1. We just went on vacation I was called Mrs. *His Last Name* like a dozen times and I kinda liked it!

    He’s not pushing it one way or another. According to him, he just wants me to be his wife with his last name or not. We’ve decided that we aren’t having children at age 40 and 44 so children’s names isn’t an issue. And being practical…I JUST renewed my passport and driver’s license (I turned 40 this month) so I don’t really feel like having to re-do them – and pay more money – in October post-wedding.

  2. I’m still up in the air on this. I’m either going to drop my middle name and have my maiden name as my middle name or I’m going to hyphenate it. My guy says he doesn’t mind either way.

  3. I do not plan on changing my last name legally. I am my fathers only child, I love my last name and after me there’s only one male cousin(I have no clue where he is) to pass the name on.

    I don’t plan on having children, but if that changes, I will just write out my married last name as needed.

  4. My father also has three daughters and no sons. So the name will die. Whether I keep it or get rid of it, it will still die as my children will have my husband’s name. So I don’t necessarily get the need to save it for one more generation for it to die anyway.

    It’s simple for me. When my mom married my dad, she changed her name. So when I marry, I will change mine too. My dad is fine with that. I am fine with it.

    The only thing that was surprising to me was how quickly my sisters dropped their names when they got married. I do plan to use my maiden name as my middle, but do expect to feel a little bittersweet about it all. I’m no rocket scientist or anything, but I have been “CaliSlim” for over three decades!

  5. I never knew that this was a serious issue for most women. When I marry, I’d be comfortable with whichever surname my wife wanted to carry. My only thing is, I’d want our child(ren) to have my dad’s surname (which is my middle name) instead of my surname (which is my mom’s married last name)

  6. I plan on hyphenating my last name.

    So I can be…

    Asia Alexander-Sanchez
    Asia Alexander-Taylor
    Asia Alexander-Brady
    Asia Alexander-Martinez
    Asia Alexander-McDaniel
    Asia Alexander-Handel

    It’s gon’ be tight y’all!

  7. I was not attached to my last name and did not forsee any difficulty in letting it go. When I got to the social security office I could not let go of the middle name or the last. Turns out I could keep all 3 and add the 4th. The DMV limited me to 3 names.

    For work I use the maiden and life I use the married name. Works well because the name people use alerts me to what they want.

  8. When I get married, I will be changing my last name to my husband’s name. My maiden name will become my middle name unless my first and middle names sound find with his last. Both are very distinctive, so it has to flow well in order for me to do it that way. All in all, no matter what, my last name will be my husband’s.

  9. I’m my father’s only daughter, but my last name was something he chose when he converted to Islam before I was born. Needless to say, I feel little attachment to it. Not sure how I’d handle it professionally, though. Would I be known in academia as Dr. Maiden Name and socially as Mrs. Married Name? Tres confusing.

  10. I’ve always said that I would totally take my husband’s name – as long as I liked it LOL! Even if I didn’t, I would at least change my name legally and use my last name professionally. If I publish my first book before I marry, I will definitely use my maiden name for professional reasons.

  11. My name is Monica Mingo. From day 1 it has been Monica Mingo. I like…no…LURVE…my name and rocks it proudly.

    When we have a child…I’ll use my married name to deal with issues regarding my child.

    That is all.

  12. i love my first and last name…not sure what i’ll do. thinking i’ll make my maiden name my middle name and take my husbands last name. for my professional life, i’d like to still go by my first and maiden name.

  13. As a “post-feminist” at the tail end of the feminist movement, there was never a question: I kept my name. Moreover, I like my family name and my dad has no sons.
    Sometimes for practical reasons, I think “what if?” like when German airport employees were suspicious, because my little boy didn’t share thd same name and to top it off wasn’t quite the same “color” as me. Also, after 9/11, I wonder about how useful a non-Arabic name might be. Sad, I know. This was another reason to rejoice in our current president who doesn’t have an Anglo-Saxon name.
    All in all, however, I think I still feel every person, male or female, should retain their identity as represented by their name. Now… We’ll see what my possible future daughter-in-law will decide one day!

    Diane, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments..feel free to come again..this is a tough decision for many women!

    • First, I apologize for the spelling error in my comment–I feel strongly about this issue and was typing on my iPod so as not to waste a minute!
      This post has shown me other women’s thoughts on this issue. I have to look at it through their eyes, also. I wonder if there is a generational difference (in this case, the older generation is more… “modern”).
      Of course every country has different laws, and for many there is no issue, because there is no choice. In Germany, the husband may end up with the wife’s name!

  14. When I got married, I knew that I would change my last name. My thing was should I drop my maiden or middle name. My husband wanted me to drop my maiden name but seeing as though most of everything I had accumulated thus far had my maiden name attached to it, I decided to drop my country middle name and move the maiden to its spot. Got the social security card and drivers license to prove it. He wasn’t too thrilled but got over it quickly.

  15. I will change it before the ink has time to dry on the marriage license. You know my last name!! 🙂

  16. When marriage comes, the maiden name will be my middle name. I’m dropping my current two middles names. Yes, I have TWO middle names. Not hyphenating because that would be way too many names.

  17. I would totally hate ‘losing’ my maiden name. It’s sooooo part of who I am, I really like it and it flows well with my first and middle name (unlike someone else’s who I just happen to live under the same roof with). 🙂

  18. I was agnostic about this issue. I have a brother who has the exact same name as my father and grandfather. It was very important to Mr. SLS that I take his name. It IS important to me that my children, husband and I have ONE name and that’s why I changed. I figured, if a person can use The Google and find SingLikeSassy Doe, then they likely have the good sense to connect the dots that SingLikeSassy Doe White is me, too.

    That said, I didn’t immediately change my name legally, but I changed jobs a few months after we married and figured it was as good a time as any to make the change. Especially since my license was about to expire, too, and I didn’t want to pay to renew it twice. LOL!

    My parents have been divorced for 20 years now and my mama never changed her name and never will.

    One more thing: I did not hyphenate and lawd knows I wish I had cause folks cannot seem to grasp that my last name is “Doe White” not “Doe-White” or “White,” but two words, “Doe White.”

  19. My daddy is a great man that I admire so I had a hard time parting with his name. I dropped my middle name, moved my maiden name to the middle and took my husband’s last name. I am known as first maiden last and people (including you!) call me all three at once! I also chose to do the same with my new baby. His middle name is my maiden name…sounds distinguished!

  20. I legally changed my whole name. On my Social Security Card and Driver’s License, my maiden name became my middle and my husband’s last name became my last name.

  21. I’m definitely going to change my last name. Not even an option.

  22. Welll – since my fiance’ and I have the same last name, it won’t be an issue with me. But if we didn’t, I would legally change my last name with no hyphenation. Nor would I change my middle name to my maiden name.

    I’m traditional and I think it’s an insult to the man to keep your maiden name. Changing your last name represents your husband now being your earthly covering as opposed to your father. I view keeping the last name as keeping Daddy as an option to be my covering.

    Now my viewpoint might be different if I was real close with my father – who knows?

    Ironically, my father had girls and his brother did too – so the name stops with this generation.

  23. I’m not married, but if/when I do, I will change my last name. I have a friend who just got married back in May. I’ve always called her by her initials (KP). I still do. And her work email still has her maiden name. I’m not sure if she has changed her name legally, though.

    My parents have been divorced for over 10 years now, but my mom did not go back to her maiden name. I don’t think she’ll get married again, so that likely won’t change.

  24. I married at 26 and changed my last name. I never contemplated not changing or hyphenating it.

    My father-in-law has three grands – all girls – and our daughter is the only one who carries his last name. So, unless she keeps her name, the family name will end with my husband.

  25. When I got married I was 30. I never changed my last name LEGALLY. When my son was born I just started hyphenating on most documents, credit cards and my driver’s license. Surprizingly (pre 9-11) no one questioned or commented. Just recently the State made me change my driver’s licecnse to match my birth certificate. That’s cool because I’m divorced anyway. HA!

    My Dad only has us two girls so I will always keep my family name. But when I get married again I’m changing my name LEGALLY (with the hyphen). I like my S/O’s surname. 🙂
    Plus I’m older and more traditional now.

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