Monday, January 7, 2013

What's in a name?

I've been pretty steadfast on the issue of last names ever since I can remember. It started when I was little. My father's side of the family is rather small, and I worried that my male cousins wouldn't marry, or would have daughters, and the family name would die out. I didn't understand why I couldn't carry on the name.

Later in life, like many other girls, I imagined what my name would sound like ending in a boyfriend's family epithet. "Ick." was my usual response. I was accustomed to seeing my name as it was. Furthermore, being a scientist and showing the earliest warning signs of turning down the road of the absent-minded professor, I felt that having to adapt to a new name was a lot to ask. After all, I had to remember a new age every single year as I got older, as well as anniversaries and birthdays of my non scientist friends (friends in science are courteous enough to remind others of their own birthday). Wasn't that enough without having to remember a new name to answer to?

The issue came to a head when I became involved in a serious relationship. Beware, modern ladies- you can't start dreaming about your wedding without your potential spouse dreaming about wrenching away your familiar cognomen and replacing it with his own. Why IS this? I've never figured it out, to the distress of my former beau. Why must I change myself to be bound to him? If we are both changed by entering into marriage, why couldn't he take my name- or better yet, couldn't we take a totally new one that we picked together?

I know changing names doesn't bother most women at all; its just tradition and doesn't symbolize anything but moving into a happy new union. But now, more than ever, I can't imagine losing the name I've lived with for so long- answered to, introduced myself with, and been published under.

In one of my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls, a bride to be asks Lorelei, "Do you ever think, if you got married today or even in the next few years, you could be married for fifty years -- for most of your life." And while this may be true, as I approach my 27th birthday, I can't imagine bot making a testament to the name that has carried me this far.

posted from Bloggeroid

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