Up until a few years ago, in every relationship I’ve had — both long-term and after a surprisingly good first date — I’ve considered what my name would sound like if I married whoever I was seeing. Some of my boyfriends had uninteresting surnames, others humorous, many quite plain. While I won’t oust them here, I never felt like my first would match their last.
Now, I understand a few things here: A. I’m single, and B. changing your last name has little to do with how it sounds. But as an independent, hard-working, successful and devoted 26-year-old, I’ve worked really hard to build a name for myself.
And though it might not seem like such a big deal to forgo ‘Tigar’ in favor of some last name I don’t even know yet, when I meet this mysterious future husband … it feels like one to me.
And nope, falling madly in love with someone one day isn’t going to change my mind.
My name — and frankly, my SEO footprint — is part of my identity, as a writer and as a person. It encompasses the family I was raised by, the name I scribbled on notebook paper as a child, the name I put on my first apartment lease, my tax forms, my holiday cards, the adoption papers for my pup, and it’s the name I imagine on my best-seller one of these days.
So why is it that I, in the 21st century, lose part of who I am just because I decided to say ‘I do’ — based on a tradition from the 15th century?
Here’s why I don’t (and won’t) want to follow suit:
1. I’m not property.
In the 14th century, when women married, they lost not just their last names, but their entire name except for the pitiful title of ‘wife of [fill in the blank of the bloke].’ Then in the turn of the 15th century, based on scripture, the church decided that when you marry, you become one perfect, religion-obeying pair, so thus, you must have the same name to tie you together. And obviously, because women could not own property, vote, or really, do anything, it was declared that the woman shares her husband’s name.
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