The Last Name; or, Don’t Ask Me What My New Last Name Is

19 Apr

I am not changing my last name.  I hate having to answer ‘why’, like I am SO abnormal.  Give me a damn break.

“Don’t you want the same last name as the man you love?”…”Uh, SURE, but not if I have to change my last name, so I guess “NO” by default.”

I don’t consider myself some kind of uber-feminist.  Am I a feminist?  Yes.  Do I think Sarah Palin is bad for all women?  Yes…oh wait, so does everyone who is not a rich white male Republican…nevermind.  Bad example.

I exist in a very traditional relationship.  The fiance makes more money than I do…much more.  I work in the Arts, so my jobs are infrequent and pay poorly.  When I am home, I wash clothes, clean, sometimes cook (he really likes to cook), but if I don’t cook, I prep the food.  Our roles are traditional.  I am fine with it.  We would also be fine if the roles were reversed.

Here’s the thing: I am my name.  I have no desire to suddenly make my last name into my middle name, and I will admit, I don’t entirely understand women who do this.  I don’t judge them for it, I certainly don’t care, but don’t you judge me either!  The thought of changing my name makes me ill.  Not kidding.  Totally ILL.  I love my name.  I love how it sounds.  I love the care with which my parents picked out my names and if I took his last name I’d have to give up one of them.  I love that my last name identifies me with my family.  Some people seem to not care to keep their identity, but I CARE.  Have we solved the last name’s for our children?  No.  We will get there when we get there.

But here is MY question: why can’t he take mine?  I am not asking him to, don’t need him to, but why do women always take the man’s last name?  Why is it automatic?

Let’s not start at the beginning…we know how it started, mostly.  Let’s go to now.  If I took my fiance’s last name, I would automatically be easily identified as a member of his family.  His family SUCKS.  Abusive, terrible people.  Why the HELL do I want to be identified with that?  I know lots of women who have crappy in-laws, but took their husbands last name anyway.  Why?  Why want to be associated with them?

There is no easy solution, and if I hated my family, I would probably change my name in a heartbeat. But I love them, and I love my name.  It is not just a name, it is my IDENTITY.  So I won’t ask why you changed your name, and you can stop asking me why I won’t change mine.


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