In the last year or so, several of my friends have been engaged and/or married. I am so thrilled for them all. However, there is one question that has been plaguing my mind. I cannot help but wonder if they have given the centuries-old tradition of changing their last names to that of their husbands any thought. Or if like most women they are eager to drop their given names to take on the identities of their new husband and his ancestry.
As for myself, I can honestly say that I have given this a lot of thought. Probably way more than any un-engaged woman should. You see, I can remember in my teens and early twenties wasting hours writing and re-writing that last name of my crushes or the particular guy I was dating next to my first name. I spent several hours of my youth daydreaming about getting married and changing my last name.
It wasn’t until about a year ago that I had what Oprah would call an “Ah-Ha” moment, well more like the beginning little inklings of an epiphany. As my fate would have it, I was unmarried and unexpectedly pregnant. I began to obsess over getting married to boyfriend and changing my last name. My primary reason was to “match” my son and his father’s name. I was not really concerned with the fact that maybe , just maybe neither of us was really ready for marriage. We just needed to match, you know, on paper. I went back to that strange ritual of writing and re-writing our names combined in that traditional way.
Then I had that “aha” moment. I like my name…it is mine. Aside from my physical self ans mind, my name was the first thing I ever owned. I’ve been Shelly Carpenter for 27 years. What the hell was I thinking trying to convince a man that I am worthy of having him change my namesake.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no issues with anyone else changing their last names for whatever reason. But it is my personal choice not to. I have no real reason for the choice other then that it is mine. I mean, do I really even need a reason?
As for my future husband, if he is the man for me then he will know and respect that I’m not ever going to change my name, nor will I ever wear a big goudy looking ring for the sake of it. That just isn’t me.
What are your opinions on this matter?