I am not co-opting Groom's last name. There, I've said it. This is not a new topic of discussion, and I'm not trying to make history by chatting about this myself. In fact, everyone from the New York Times to Many Feminist Bloggers have discussed this topic, and no one comes to the same conclusion. I suspect that many of my friends thought I would complain about this aspect of marriage, but would just suck it up and change my name anyway. The thing is, it's not an easy change. Feminist Finance blogger writes:
Name changes are still a pain. I work with a woman who got married several weeks ago and took her husband's name. She's still dealing with the DMV, Social Security, and whoever it is at the county who tracks car titles. And she hasn't even started with the credit cards, the bank accounts, the passport, the job paperwork... Yikes. But we are one small step closer to a country in which everyone has an inexpensive path to lots of post-nuptial bureaucratic hassle.
The free solution is that no one changes his or her name. Okay, well that's one reason to not change our names.
Here is another reason. My name is important to me. I live in Washington DC, and a person's name is practically her or his brand. Reputation is really important here, and people know me by name, and I don't want to give up the recognition I have built up over the past 8 years. I run a fairly well-known organization, and people recognize my name because of this. People may not know me personally, but they will have heard of the organization, and associate my name with it. I'm sure people can learn a new name, but I'm still not a fan.
If I'm flipping through Facebook looking for old classmates, if they aren't using their own picture, and they have a new name, I'm not always certain that it is the person I am looking for. It's almost like that person disappears...which is a part of my fear. It took me 30 years to get to be who I am, and my name is part of that person. While I am ready to share my life with another person, I don't think that should mean giving up who I am. Groom likes me just the way I am (thank you Bridget Jones!), and frankly I gotta be me.
Another common argument is that a family should have the same name - "what about your children?" Well, I don't have the same last name as my mom, and I've never not felt attached to her because of this.
But here is where I could be convinced of a change...I would be willing to create a new last name that Groom and I share - perhaps we can both use both of our names, or maybe there is a hyphen involved, or we could use the letters of our current last names to create a new one. A girlfriend just got married, and her and her husband will now use both of their names. That seems to be a sensible solution to me...and a fair one.
Groom doesn't see this as an attack on his masculinity or that I don't respect him or that I don't want to be in a partnership with him. That he gets where I am coming from is one more reason he is pretty perfect for me. We haven't come up with a final decision on what we might do for last names, but we will. And whatever our solution, I hope that people will respect it. And even if they don't, know that we came to this conclusion on our own.