Over the summer, “Bridesmaids” actor Chris O’Dowd married British writer/TV host Dawn Porter, who was also not keen on changing her professional name. She has a piece in UK Glamour about wanting to take on her husband’s name in the spirit of blending families, but at the same time not wanting to lose the last name that’s always been hers. So, she compromised on “O’Porter.”
Porter (er, O’Porter?) writes:
I am often asked why my surname is so important to me. My name and I have been through so much together. I have spent most of my adult life trying to get people to remember it, to watch my shows, to read my work, to see my name and think, ‘Oh, it’s that girl, her name is Dawn Porter.’ Rather than just being ‘the girl from that thing I watched last night’.
My husband, Chris, is fine for me not to be called Mrs. O’Dowd; but still, I know he likes that people see us as a unit, a family, a married couple — and so do I. So, for now, I’ve worked out a compromise that suits us well: I have taken the ‘O’.
Members of my family think this is ridiculous, but we don’t care. I am lucky that I have the option to keep Porter prominent and take a tiny letter that, for me, expresses the unity with my husband that I am proud of.
Great for them if they’ve worked out a compromise. Not everyone will be so lucky, however, to have names that blend as easily as Porter and O’Dowd. Can you imagine if The Frisky’s own Ami Angelowicz marries a guy whose last name is Kopasopapolous? That will be a consonant-laden mess.
Personally, I haven’t figured out what I want to do about my last name if I ever get married. As a feminist, I don’t believe in taking on a man’s name just because that’s tradition. And as a writer, I don’t want to ditch the name I’ve worked so hard to get people to recognize, either by blending it or taking on my husband’s name.
But if I’m honest with myself, I would throw those principles out the door if I married a guy whose last name was badass. If I had the chance to become Jessica Rocket or Jessica Blast or something equally cool? Then sure, I might take on my dude’s name and just keep “Wakeman” professionally. There’s no way I’m passing up the opportunity to spend the rest of my life answering my mobile, “Hello, this is Jessica Rocket.”
What have Frisky readers done? I’m curious — tell us in the comments!
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.