What’s in a name?…
Well, as it turns out quite a lot given my recent experiences!
I’ve been married now for 5 years, with my now husband for 12 and I (so far) have yet to take his name.
People frequently ask me why not and I can’t deny I find this quite strange and intrusive. I would have thought that given the modern era of women’s rights, same-sex marriages and all manner of individual relationship arrangements the idea that I would want to keep the name I’ve had for the best part of 30 years wouldn’t seem so bizarre, but it appears it’s a bigger deal to some than I originally thought.
I would love to say I have some dramatic moral reasons for keeping my name but I really don’t…as a young girl dreaming of her wedding day I always assumed I would want to take my future husband’s name but as time went on I obviously spent more time developing an identity with that name and I’m rather fond of it now! When people quiz me (which is often) I don’t have one definitive answer for them. Some days I say it’s because my passport was in my old name and I couldn’t be bothered to change it, some days I can’t perfect the signature (which given some annoying moments in the past when HSBC refused to acknowledge that I was actually me when I collected a new bank card from them, because my signature did not match the one they had for me on file from when I was 13 I’m now rather wary to risk a similar situation!) and from time to time I just feel that my long-suffering Dad who has lots of daughters and no sons deserves to have his family name continued for as long as it can. I’ve always thought if I ever published a book I would want it to be under my maiden name, and funnily enough the more academics I meet the more I realise this isn’t quite such a strange concept among this circle of people!
I have no doubt that one day I will want to change my name; I may wake up and just decide it’s the right time. Certainly constantly having to justify my reasons and explain that it has nothing to do with a lack of commitment to my husband (which by the way my husband fully supports), or my marriage is rather tiresome to say the least. It has now almost become a battle of wills though, I almost don’t want to change my name because of the reaction I get from people who can’t get their heads around it. Even today my local post office refused my husband when he tried to collect a package on my behalf, he provided documentation showing we live together yet even he was met with the disbelief of a stranger that we were married and yet I hadn’t changed my name. I felt bad for him, why should he have to justify this to some ignorant stranger?
I don’t care whether people think it’s strange for me to have a different name to my husband; it has nothing to do with the nature of our relationship. I suppose I ultimately feel that this is a matter of ignorance in others and quite frankly I’ll keep the name I have on my birth certificate as long as I like thank you very much 😉