When my husband shared his experience of accidentally being called by my last name, I was fascinated with his response to something I experience quite frequently. When I got hitched in 2011, I didn’t anticipate that not changing my name would be an issue. After all, it was 2011, not 1961 or even 1991. However, I learned that just because more women choose not to take their partner’s surname, doesn’t make it a non-issue.
In high school I decided not to change my name when I got married. My initial decision could be chalked up to teenage rebellion, but that decision hung with me to when marriage transformed from an idea and into reality. I saw my name as an intrinsic part of who I was, and I wasn’t willing to change it. For anyone. To me, I had spent my whole life becoming one person with one name and marriage wasn’t going to change that.
My relationship with David got serious early on and within the first six months of dating, we were casually talking about getting married one day. You know, just as an idea. One of the first things I told him was that if we ever got married, I wouldn’t be changing my name. I figured if he didn’t agree, then he wasn’t the guy for me. He was a bit perturbed, but understood my reasoning.
A few months later, we had another conversation on the topic while standing around in my kitchen. I asked him, “Well, would you change your name?” to which he responded, “Hell no!” I think that’s why his experience at the drugstore of being called Mr. Mirenzi was so jarring–because it wasn’t his identity at all.
In conversations with other women, it’s often brought up that, well, isn’t their name just their father’s last name which is really just another man’s name? Sure, that’s true, but my name is also the one my parents chose for me, and for the past 27 years, I been growing into the person I am today.
Will I ever change my name? I would never say never, but I’m 99% sure that I won’t do that. Every now and then, someone will ask me, “Well, what about when you have kids? Won’t that be confusing?” My sincere hope is that in Boston years from now, that, no, it will not be an issue. That was at least my hope when I got married, so that being said, I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.