Thursday, February 24, 2005

What's in a name?

Can someone tell me why Paula Abdul can't seem to bend her elbows when she claps? Thanks.

Several people have asked me recently whether I'll be changing my name after I get married. The truth is that it never occurred to me that I'd change my name. It turns out that it never occurred to my dad that I wouldn't be. It's funny, because I grew up not really liking my name, first or middle or last. Over the years I've become attached to all three. I've had friends who have gone both ways on this: some changed, some didn't. A few didn't change at first but decided to later. It ends up surprising me more when people do change their names than when they don't, even though it shouldn't. I don't like that a woman's decision to keep her name is so often viewed as a progressive, feminist statement. Although I'm fine with making progressive, feminist statements, I don't think this is one. It's more just that after 30 years of being me, I don't really want to be anyone else.

3 Comments:

Blogger heathalouise said...

I'm not changing either. My last name is too cool.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous An outsnyder :p said...

My wife went through the same sort of quandry. While I had no problem taking *her* last name, she did not want that. She wanted to use both, but did not want to be a hyphenated woman either! So she changed her middle name and is First, Madien, Married name now.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous m said...

I was once having dinner with two friends of mine, Jeff and Ann, both highly educated and accomplished professionals. We started a discussion about women's last names post marriage, and Ann said when she marries, she will change her name to match her husband's. Jeff, not her boyfriend obviously, said she was a sellout to the cause. As if it's really his cause.

My reply was that she's contributed enough for the cause by demonstrating that a woman can rise to a high level of professional achievement, and that whether she chooses to follow an admittedly silly yet relatively benign societal convention has no bearing on the "cause" Jeff was so passionately advocating.

As for me, my wife kept her last name, but I really wouldn't care either way. I did once know of a couple who hyphenated both of their last names to match, but they were freaks on a variety of levels that I could never analyze that approach with any degree of objectivity.

4:57 PM  

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