I’ve Had My Name Since Birth & I’m Not Giving It Up When I Get Married

I’ve Had My Name Since Birth & I’m Not Giving It Up When I Get Married ©iStock/verve231

I always just assumed I’d take my husband’s name when I got married — it’s just the thing that’s done, and who am I to argue with tradition? However, now that I’m older and a bit more jaded, I feel a bit weird about throwing out my name for good and adopting an entirely new one. I don’t like it, it weirds me out, and these are all the reasons I won’t be doing it:

  1. I don’t want to lose my identity. My name is who I am and who I’ve been for 27 years. If I get a new name, do I not need a new identity to go with it? I know I’m moving into a new phase of life, but that doesn’t mean I have to completely abandon everything that came before my marriage.
  2. I actually like my name. My last name is “Major”. I don’t know any other Majors except those in my own family and I don’t want to lose that sense of individuality. My name flows well, and I’m used to it — which makes sense, given that I’ve lived with it for nearly three decades. Why should I give that up?
  3. I’m a Ms. now and I’ll always be a Ms. I don’t want my marital status to define me. I’ve always filled out forms with Ms. and I’ll continue to do that when I’m married. I don’t want people to be able to look at my name and know whether or not I’m taken — that’s just weird AF. I don’t need to advertise my relationship everywhere I go.
  4. My future husband doesn’t define me. I define myself — he’s just the person I choose to spend my life with. You know when women get letters addressed to Mrs. Joe Bloggs? That’s just weird, like she doesn’t exist as an entity outside of her relationship. I’ll always be a complete person outside of a guy and I never want to forget that, nor do I want anyone else to.
  5. There are no kids to think about. When I’ve told people in the past that I won’t change my last name, I always get the same response: “What about the children?” Well, since I’m not planning on procreating — we’re both far too focused on traveling and making money, and we like spending our time and money on ourselves — it doesn’t really matter if we all share a last name, does it?
  6. I want to carry on my family name. I have one sister, no cousins, and a vaguely unusual family name. If I change my name and my sister changes hers, then our line of Majors is dead. And that just seems really damn sad. I know it sounds silly, but it’s true.
  7. He wouldn’t change his name for me. He’s the best feminist partner a girl could wish for, but I know he would feel emasculated if I asked him to change his name. He comes from a large family, so their last name is a big part of their clan-like identity. If it’s so emasculating or anonymizing for him, why the hell is it the norm for women to do it? It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s an old and outdated tradition, and I’d rather not be part of it.
  8. It’s a hassle. All of the legal forms, contacting the bank, the DMV, your employer… who even has the time? I’m not that lazy, I’m just all about using my time efficiently. It’s harder to change your name on official documents than it is to get married at all. How messed up is that?
  9. Marriage shouldn’t be about ownership. I’m getting married because I’m rather fond of my guy. Historically, women got married so they could procreate and be a burden on their new husband, not their parents. Since I’m mostly self-sufficient (yay, equality), I’m not sure I want an outdated symbol of domestic slavery hanging over my head.
  10. It might be traditional, but this is the 21st Century. I’ve heard the whole, “You have to change your name, it’s tradition!” nonsense repeatedly. Since when was that a good argument for anything? Attending public hangings used to be traditional, and we got over that one eventually. Since when was tradition ever a good reason to do the wrong thing?
  11. No, I’m not hyphenating, either. I won’t be changing my name at all, not even to include his name with mine. This one is mostly about laziness, but I also don’t see why I should compromise — he wouldn’t. Plus, Major-Johnson does sound a bit phallic.
Kate is a freelance writer and beer enthusiast based in Sheffield, UK. She spends most of her time bouncing off the walls as a result of an unrecommended blood caffeine level, and enjoys reading, walking, and going to the pub in the rest of her spare time.