Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I'm not surprised to read that fewer women have kept their maiden names in the last ten years. However, some of Roiphe's reasons seem less than persuasive. Is having the same name as your children really a big factor for women today? With so many people divorcing and remarrying, there are scads of families with an assortment of names. When my mother remarried, she replaced my father's name with that of her new husband. A year later, my last name was changed when he legally adopted me. However, their subsequent divorce and my lack of any real connection to him or his family have left me saddled with an unwanted and alienating name.

Despite my lack of attraction to the name as such, I would almost certainly not change it if I married. (The only exception would be if it were an especially lovely match for my first name - unlikely.) I've established a identity, ill-fitting or not, as Amber Taylor, and I can't imagine throwing it over for some man. Having one legal name and one professional and social name seems needlessly complicated and undermines all the traditional feel-good reasons for changing one's name (having the same name as the kids, forming a new family identity, etc.). I suppose it's fortunate that the situation is not pressing, since the few times it's come up in conversations with significant others their reactions have been uniformly negative. I usually just ask them if they'd mind changing their name instead and they make ugly faces.

We can't all be as fortunate as one friend of mine - she wed someone with the same last name. I told her they should hyphenate but she didn't think I was funny.
blog comments powered by Disqus