Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Change a Name -- Part I

While it used to be the norm for women to take their husband's last names upon marriage, the times have a-changed, and these days modern brides are left with the huge decision as to whether or not to do the name change. I've always sort of thought of this as a problem faced by our generation of women... but it turns out that certain members of my parents' generation (namely, my parents) were also in on the name changing conundrum. My mother, as an enlightened woman marrying in the late 1970s, decided that she would rather keep her own identity (and therefore her own name) when she married. When my parents had kids (me and my sister!) they decided to hyphenate their children's last names. That's right, my last name is 'mom's last name dash dad's last name'...

...and it is a huge pain in the you-know-where.

It turns out that having a hyphenated last name is not exactly easy. Pretty much everyone butchers it. You always ALWAYS have to spell it for people. Also, many companies' computer systems can't handle the hyphen. This is particularly a problem with airlines when it comes to flying. How many times have I heard "The name on your ticket doesn't match the name on your frequent flier account"? Ummm... thanks airline, but really it's your fault, since your computer system doesn't allow for punctuation as part of a last name. Doh. ...and need I also go into the drama that was standardized testing and college admissions?

Ok, so I think I've made my point. I have spent the better part of my life pining to get married, simply so that I could change my last name. In fact, my #1 criteria when deciding whether or not to date a new guy was always -- does he have a nice last name? Yes, that's right. I could have met pretty much the hunkiest, nicest, most awesome guy in the world, but if he also had a hyphenated name then I was totally not going out with him. Luckily, the Architect has a very nice last name. It rolls off the tounge well... although it does make me sound quite British, which I am decidedly not. When the Architect and I got engaged I COULD NOT WAIT to change my last name to his and be over with this hyphenation thing once and for all.

Unfortunately, there is a small twist in this story, which ultimately caused me to reconsider my name change. Stay tuned as the saga continues next time...

Do you have a hyphenated last name? Do you love it? Hate it? Feel indifferent?

** As a side note, ladies (and gents) I do not mean to imply that you shouldn't hyphenate your last name when you get married. I just think that you should know what you are getting yourself into. Hyphenation is the right route for some people. But you should also know that hyphenating the last names of your children may cause some psychological trauma... as it clearly did in my case :-)

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