Changing Your Last Name: An Internal Monologue

For the record, I am not engaged. I suspect I will be engaged, however, anywhere between one month to slightly less than two years from now. Being that this impending engagement is pretty much around the corner, I’ve been doing alot of hemming and hawing about what to do should that joyous occasion arrive and I need to decide what to do about my last name. For many, if not most, women, taking their husband’s last name is a no-brainer, which is perhaps the aspect of this debate that bothers me the most. It’s not that I don’t acknowledge the convenience, the ease, even the, gag, romance of sharing the same last name as the hubs, but it seems to me that spending 28 years on Earth with one name and then just throwing it out like yesterday’s garbabe is a decision that should be weighed with a little bit of levity. I am weighing it with an extraordinary amount of levity and have found that there is a bit of a dialogue going on between two sides of my brain on the subject. Right and left battle it out, after the jump.
Right Brain: Mom and Dad gave me both of their last names. Giving up both of those names is a slap in the face to my family and to the statement they were making about each being equal partners in their parenting of my ungrateful butt.
Left Brain: But having two last names has always been an enormous pain in the ass. Forget the constant misspellings. How about all the warped email addresses my employers have had to string together in order to encompass both McDonell AND Parry?
Right Brain: Oh, boo hoo. A little inconvenience is a small price to pay to make a strong statement against the patriarchal system which says that a woman gives up her father’s last name in order to take on her husband’s, as if the two men were exchanging ownership of cattle.
Left Brain: But that’s not what the practice is about anymore. It’s about tradition. And it’s romantic!
Right Brain: What’s romantic about giving the finger to my parents?
Left Brain: Fine, then what am I going to do about my children? Will they get three last names? Or will they get Michael’s last name? Or maybe we’ll do it like that couple I know who made up a new last name for themselves to share?
Right Brain: Giving my kids three last names is cruel. It’s not like they’re British royalty. If they just get Michael’s last name, I won’t share a last name with them. That sucks.
Left Brain: It’s not like Michael’s last name is Hymen or Bedilia. It’s a nice last name.
Right Brain: It’s a great last name, actually. And it would sound great with mine. And no one would ever make a McDonald’s joke again.
Left Brain: Exactly. Shouldn’t I do what’s most comfortable for me, not my parents, or my political ideals, or Michael, for that matter? I mean, clearly I’ve thought this through and am not taking this decision lightly like most women disappointingly do. Isn’t that the biggest Feminist statement I could make without selling myself short?

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