What’s in a name? Click, find out!

7 Jan

Would you retain your maiden name, after your marriage? I am just curious as to how many actually click ‘Yes’ on the poll at the end of this post.
My name is 'The Alchemist'

My name is 'The Alchemist'

In ‘olden’ days this was not even an option. Women just changed their surnames to their husband’s as soon as they got married. There was no thought to it. It was just like that. But I would like to share a secret that my paternal grandmother retains both her maiden name and her married name in all her legal documents and also social network. So, does my grandmother’s sister. I am proud of them both. But my mother, paternal and maternal aunts don’t. They all have their married names.

I personally am more inclined to retain my maiden name and DDH apparently does not mind. DDS takes his father’s name though and I definitely don’t mind. There needs to be a balance in all things 😉 and I am bestowed with my paternal surname not maternal. Oh well, anyways, read on…

I have had lengthy discussions about this for so long with a few of my friends. The discussion never ends. We only disperse. Of course it’s actually a non-issue if you look at the world in a very broad way with global warming, deforestation, pollution, plastics and whatnots. But us, the highly evolved species are identified with a name and it’s the most essential and predominant part of an individual’s personal heritage and identification.

Oh yes, professionally, it is just easy to go along with your maiden name. It reduces so much of legal work. End of discussion!

But, I cannot write a short, simple blog. I just cannot. So, here goes.

Out of the women who resist this change, the most predominant reason is surprisingly not the cumbersome activity of changing your passport, driving license, credit cards, etc, but it is vastly psychological. Many of my friends confided to having bouts of sorrow after they changed their name, though they did not expect it. It feels like closing the most favorite chapter of your life book. It feels like your birth certificate does not matter anymore. Face it, childhood is the best part of anyone’s life and everyone is nostalgic about it. And changing names from that of your childhood name feels so different, not good different, but sad different.

Certain women are born in a very rich heritage and would like to still feel belonged in it though married. Come on, marriage cannot mean to break all familial ties in which you were born. Some women feel loved and cherished to be identified with their maiden name because they are proud of it. Whats wrong in being proud of a very nice thing?

Suppose, an English woman with a surname of Smith married an African with a surname of Gueyeah she would feel strange taking up his surname Does Jane Smith sound good for a blonde or Jane Gueyeah? Or an Asian with a name of Ching changing it to John? I mean, if you have looked and felt a name for 20 to 30 odd years, you would prefer to retain your feelings. I somehow do not feel like naming a baby with a very huge name. It feels heavy on the baby. This is quite a similar feeling. Changing your name just does not feel you.

But most women feel that changing your surname after marriage is a sign of love, commitment and belongingness towards your husband and his family. The couple is lucky in this case. In the other case too, the couple is lucky, because the second category does not need any material, emotional or intellectual action to symbolize their love and commitment. Oh, the discussion in either case..!

Nowadays, the trend is this, FirstName MaidenLastName HusbandSurname. You retain your maiden name as your middle name and append his last name as your last name. It avoids so much confusion, feels good psychologically on you and him and makes him feel having possessed you. This is a very simple and easy approach and is gaining popularity. It’s a win win situation in many ways.

But you know, socially, whatever you decide to do, you would have to smile and politely reply to comments like, “Oh, you retained your maiden name. Are you so insecure that you need this statement of independence every now and then”? Or rather, “You changed your surname? Are you not the liberated modern woman”?

And then, there is this huge activity of naming the children and choosing surnames for them. I do not even want to think about the options, discussions and implications. There is a huge list to choose from … Mother’s maiden name, Father’s surname, Mother’s Maiden Name-Father’s surname, Mother’s maiden name as middle name, oh the list is just endless… The easiest thing is for all to have the same last name. Looks good on the passport, doesn’t it? 😉

While discussing names, we all eventually, remember the bard’s famous words, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” ironically from the play, “Romeo and Juliet”.

And a woman or man is definitely herself/himself no matter what she/he is called. Can I conclude without these clichéd words? 😉

And here comes the poll… Being a woman, what would u do?Being a man, what would you prefer your better half to do? Change or not?

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7 Responses to “What’s in a name? Click, find out!”

  1. Lilikka January 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    When I got married to my ex-husband, I kept my maiden name because of how much work it is to change it. I had a newborn daughter and didn’t feel like sitting in the social security office until I could see someone to change my name associated with my social security number. And, since our marriage ended in divorce, I’m sure glad I didn’t, because I’d have to do it all over again just to get my maiden name back!

  2. memoirsofamadonna January 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    I kept my last name and added his after a dash. I would agree with most of what you have written! 🙂

    I didn’t want to close the door on my family and my father’s last name completely… When my daughter was born, I was single so I had given her my last name…. His name was not attractive or appealing at all…

    I didn’t mind and neither did he. His family, on the other hand, would send gifts (occasionally checks) written to my first name/my daughter’s first name with his last name… It was ridiculous to try and cash that at the bank…

    Now that that marriage is over… I’m glad I made the right choice.

  3. Shalini January 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    One thing to say….maiden name is the only identity left for a girl to keep her originality live.
    All others change – ‘My home’ becomes ‘Mom’s house’, in-laws house becomes ‘My home’, etc etc (atleast in most cultures!)

    • The Alchemist January 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

      I dont know what to say Shal. You are right, It takes a long while for some women to start feeling belonged at their in-laws house and meanwhile already feel unbelonged at their house. Well, even though its the ‘modern’ era, a heart is still a heart and home is where the heart is.

  4. RP January 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Hmmm…Well not sure how or what to comment for this post as i never thought this to be a topic in my life. I never thought of changing any part of my wife’s name so far.

    Still few of my relatives do that, but its done to avoid the naming confusion as two or more members had the same name.

    Fine, to me, as you said what’s in a name? 😀

    • The Alchemist January 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

      I am sure your wife would be relieved to feel that her birth certificate would look authentic 😉

  5. stilladreamer January 30, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    At the time I’d gotten married, so young and so many years ago, I happily took my husbands’ name; I liked it much better than my maiden name, (an artistic choice perhaps), which was also being eternally mispronounced. But after we split up, I kept the name, as it is the name of a beautiful tree and a reflection of my deep love of nature. I realized it was meant to be mine. And after all these years, it has truly become so, to the degree where, if I were to marry again, I would not change it.

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