What’s In a Name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, said Shakespeare. And while bleeding hearts flowers are just as pretty as dancing ladies flowers (they are the same plant), would you be the same person with another name? Usually our names are carefully chosen for us by our parents before we are born, but somehow come to be just like us. For good or ill, we live up to our names.

Have you ever wanted to change your name? Why? Did you want a different image? A different past? A different future?

Did you actually change your name? What was that like?

I changed my last name when I got married. Somehow, I think of that as being different than changing a first or middle name. Usually women do change their middle names to their maiden names when they change their last names when they get married. I did not, feeling that changing my middle name would be too much of a change of identity.

Many women nowadays do not change their last names when they get married, feeling that it is a remnant of patriarchy to make their husband’s last name their own. In fact, some men are changing their names to match their wives’, and other couples are both changing their names to matching hyphenated ones.

What are your thoughts and experiences with changing last names upon marriage? If you are married, did you change your name? If you are not married, would you? And feel free to share about gay marriage name-changing practices, too, I have not heard enough about those to feel like I should write about what people are doing there.

Names do matter, but in ways that are not always obvious.

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2 Comments

  1. This made for a really interesting read for me because, as a single person I changed both my first name and my surname in 2008. I was 35 at the time and had thought of doing so for a good few years beforehand.

    I felt alienated with the surname I had because I had never met my father and was named after him…and did not like my first name of ‘Karen’ and never had.

    So I changed both and have not regretted it since!

    Chloe x x

    Reply

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