Monday, March 13, 2017

Yes, I'm Changing My Last Name


I'm planning to change my last name when I get married, but I don't like the assumption that I'm planning to change my last name when I get married. I've already started hearing comments referring to me by Mike's last name. You guys! Lots of women do not change their names. Can we not assume they're going to?

In that vein, a few friends have reacted with surprise when I've told them that, yes, I'm planning to change my last name. "I wouldn't have expected you to," one friend told me. "You don't seem like the type who would," said another.

While I understand where they're coming from - for whatever reason, I probably wouldn't have expected me to, either! - I will indeed be taking his last name when we get married. Here's why.

1. I have no real attachment to my last name. 

Don't get me wrong, it'll be weird not to go by the name I've used for 33 years. It's my name. At the same time, it's not a last name I've ever loved, & I used to joke that I couldn't wait to get married so I could get rid of it (sorry, Mom). I don't feel that strongly against my own last name - I've actually become kind of fond of its weirdness - but I also don't love it so much that I need to keep it forever.

2. Mike's last name is super quirky.

Real talk: When I first learned his last name, I thought it was was so bizarre (sorry, Mike's parents), & hoped I'd never have to choose whether I'd adopt it as my own. After nearly two years together, though, it's grown on me, & I can barely remember a time when I didn't think it was actually a lot of fun. Sure, it means "dead" in Yiddish, but isn't that kind of funny? We joke that my future name sounds like a cartoon superhero in a children's book. Can't beat that.

3. I'm going to change my whole name...

If you know me IRL or have been reading this blog for awhile, you might remember that Kate isn't actually my first name. My full name is Sara Kathryn, but I've always gone by Kate or Katy. It's weird to feel like my legal name isn't my name, like when I have to put "Sara" on legal documents & doctors call me by it & DMVs refuse to put my middle name on my license. When we get married, I'm going to drop Sara & make Kate my legal first name, with my maiden name as my legal middle name.

I'm really excited to have an excuse to do this because it's hella difficult to change your name if you're not getting married. In some states, you have to go to court for it & even put it an ad in the local paper inviting townspeople to challenge your name change. Yes, for real.

4. ...so I'll still have my maiden name.

I haven't yet decided whether I'll go by the whole thing, or whether I'll use my maiden name in my writing & my married name in my personal life, or what, but either way, since I'm changing my whole name, the last name I've had my whole life will still be very much present & still a part of my new legal name. I'm just tacking on an extra one!

5. Mike's last name is important to him...

Why not both change our last names? Fun fact: Mike has actually already changed his last name. Basically, his last name at birth was his mom's maiden name, & when his mom & dad married when Mike was in grade school, he & his mom both took his dad's last name. He got to choose whether he wanted to do that, & I can't imagine asking him to change it again, as an adult, when it was so important to him to take this name in the first place.

6. ...& I want to have the same last name as Mike.  

When it comes right down to it, I want to have the same last name as my husband &, should we have them, our future children. As long as I get to keep my own last name in some form or another, whether I go by it or not, I am totally comfortable taking his last name, weird though it may be. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right?
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