I’ve been married for a week and two days–my personal (and only) record. Through the flurry of well-wishing and good tidings Jorge and I have received, one question rises above all the rest.
How do you feel now?
As a human being, throughout my bony structures and my intestinal functions, I feel exactly the same. Maybe even a little bit better, because that pre-wedding stress has disappeared, and my memory has improved (I can even remember plans I’ve made within a few days of making them again!).
But in my innards, in my soft spirit space? I feel buoyed by all the people sending notes, cards, and leaving comments for us. I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed by the amount of people in our lives that are able to share our joy. I feel so stupidly LUCKY to have so much support and happiness in my life; and it’s a sort of feeling that I don’t know if I even deserve, can only sit back and give thanks.
I feel a shit ton of gratitude that cannot be properly contained in a thank-you card.
I feel a little dizzy from all the recent happenings, from all the heartfelt sentiments coming from all corners of the globe.
And I feel pretty pumped for the rest of the moments that are yet to come.
The other question I’ve been getting lately: So what’s your new last name?
When I repeat my real last name in response, there’s usually a laugh and a disbelieving ‘Really?’. The fact that this surprises people surprises ME.
I haven’t changed my last name because I never intended to give away my identity, the name-identity I’ve held my entire life. It’s more than just being comfortable with it (which is also a big part of it for me). I am building a career around this name, and I don’t see a need to change it to represent a marriage that is real regardless of my surname.
I’ve been called by this name my whole life. Why should that change now?
People can call me by Jorge’s last name; that’s fine. I won’t be offended if someone makes the assumption that I took my husband’s last name. I’ll probably giggle and repeat it, because it’s cute and I love him and I often doodle his full name in the margins of my notebooks even as I near age 30. (Really, the name I’d prefer to go by, if you’re interested in knowing, is Mrs. Horgles. But I won’t be legally changing anything in that vein.)
I did ask Jorge if he’d like to take my last name, since I briefly considering changing my last name if he were into it too–like both of us adopting BOTH last names. But it didn’t appeal to him either. Our kids will have both our last names, which makes sense to me. They are born of both of us. But I didn’t come from Jorge, no matter how much I try to make my way inside his body via gnawing or burrowing.
I respect people who choose to take the name of their husband, or vice versa. I think it’s a symbolic way to represent a family unit. But for Jorge and I? We don’t need our surnames to do that sort of legwork. We’ve already got it covered, via our actual marriage, and our relics, and our altar full of representations of our family unit in the form of tiny sewn families from Peru.
There are a lot of different reasons that women do or don’t change their last names after marriage, as this Mic article explains. It references a 2010 Basic and Applied Psychology study that concluded women who change their last names are seen as “more caring, dependent and emotional”, while those who don’t change their last names are seen as “smarter and more ambitious”. As the article asks, how should a woman choose?
I don’t know if those findings would be necessarily true if I were to ask a random sample of people at the local mall, but what I DO know is that I don’t like the amount of stress and fretting surrounding details like changing a name-identity while men do not have to ‘deal with it’, per se.
Also, hell if I’m going to renew my passport, my driver’s license, every single credit and banking card, my lease, my utilities accounts, every online account ever conceived of, my work email signature, my work EMAIL ADDRESSES, and a million other things I can’t even fathom right now just to reflect a different last name if my partner doesn’t have to go through the same damn thing.
[Here’s another piece from Bustle.com interviewing 27 women about why they didn’t change their last names.]