Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wedding Update: Name Changing

I had mentioned in an earlier post how I had thoughts about name changing but I would save them for another time. Now seems to be a good time.

See, I'm not really sure what I'd like to do regarding my last name.

Should I keep it? I am lazy, and this route means I don't have to change anything. I've had people tell me it's really not that hard to change your name on things, but you know what? I don't believe any of you. I'm sure these places make it as easy as possible, except I STILL have to go to the DMV. And the passport office. How much time do YOU like spending at these places? It would also mean time off work because their hours always seemed to be from 11 to 3, minus an hour for lunch break. Plus I have the added bonus of the fact that I have a bunch of stuff due to expire riiiight when we're getting married. Such as said passport. Which means I before the wedding I need to get a new one so I have it for the honeymoon, and THEN I'll need to get another one with the new name. That's lame. Plus, beyond the laziness stuff, I like my last name.

Should I change it? On the other hand, I do like the idea of changing it. At least a little. But then what do I change it to?

Do I go hyphenated? I could do this. Neither of our last names are particularly long so I wouldn't have a super unwieldy name. But I'm not crazy about hyphenated names. This is mostly coming from having to set up usernames for people in our systems at work and the hypenation always gives us trouble.* And while the name wouldn't be too long, it would still be sort of pain to sign on things. But these are stupid reasons to write this off as an option, which is why I haven't yet. I have a bunch of friends that have gone this route. Besides, as I said above, I like my last name. But I like his name too.

Do I just change the name? This is certainly the expected path. And this is the one that would be the most amusing. See, I'm a little red-headed white girl. Boyfriend+ is part Chinese and his last name is Chen. Which means I would be Alley Chen, which means I could Donna Chang people. And confusing strangers seems like an equally good use of a name change as the whole "so we have the same last name" thing. I should also point out I have a bunch of friends that just changed their name as well.

I would throw out the options that he could change his name, or we could both hyphenate, but those have already been vetoed. I blame society. (I actually have a friend, or really a sibling of a friend, where both she and her husband hyphenated their names and I want to give them both big high fives for that.)

So I haven't come to any decisions yet. I'll probably make them when we're actually getting the marriage license. Or maybe after that, because I'm pretty great at procrastination. And I should point out here that, outside of changing his own name, Boyfriend+ said he's cool with whatever I'd decide. He said he'd like me to change my name to his, but ultimately it's up to me what I want to do and he's not going to be mad or disappointed if I don't change my name.

I also have a couple links I found regarding name changes, that I feel I should share cos they're pretty great.

The first one is from Jezebel's Lindy West who wrote "Men Who Insist You Change Your Name Make Terrible Husbands" and she pretty much nails every thought I've had on the subject cos West is pretty great. I don't like the whole idea and basis behind a woman taking a man's name BUT I do sort of like the idea of taking his name (beyond just the Donna Chang thing).

The second one is from the Vagenda titled "The Penis Perspective: A Wife By Any Other Name..." which is a guy's point of view on the whole name changing thing. Now it's a guy's point of view on a feminist website, so this isn't going to be the average "I want her to take my last name FOR REASONS" as I'm sure you'd get if this were to show up on a typical site. Or you know, in those Men's Health responses West quoted in her piece. I should say for the most part people have been asking me if I'd take his name, rather than assuming I would. So that's nice. Though the part that most hit me here was about the kids' name. The fact that many women would want to change their name so they would have the same name as any future kids, because OF COURSE the kids would take the father's last name. No question there. Which got me angry because I didn't even think of it until it was pointed out. Then I was mad that I hadn't thought of it. Or that I also assumed kids would just take the dad's name and while I'm not saying they couldn't, I'm angry that's the ingrained assumption.

Also, the part about how invitations were being addressed to Mr. and Mrs. His Full Name. No. That shit will not fly. I already got into a (sort of) fight with my mom about this with our wedding invitations. I told her I wouldn't be addressing invitations this way, and each person is getting their own name spelled out. This is mostly an issue with her friends that are invited, and she said they wouldn't care and would expect it to be written Mr. and Mrs. His Name. I said I knew the women better, and also they are their own people, and they're my invitations so this is how it's going. They may not care, but I do.

What do you think? For those of you who are married why did you or didn't you change your name? Did you get a lot of shit for your decision?

*Those and apostrophes in names. You O'Rourkes and O'Tooles are really messing things up. And by that I mean, we didn't program the system to do know what do with an apostrophe in a name. So I guess our fault, but I'm still going to blame you a little.