A Rose By Any Other Name: Maiden, Hyphenated, or Married Last Name?
I’ve done just about everything:
I was Emily Clyde Curtis (without the hyphen) for the first year, but I felt like people were leaving out the “Clyde” most of the time. So, around the second year, I was Emily Clyde-Curtis. But, “Clyde-Curtis” was cumbersome to spell out over the phone, at the doctor’s office, etc. And after a little while, “Clyde-Curtis” didn’t feel worth the effort. It was inconvenient for everyone, and frankly, I didn’t feel like it was that great of a solution.
At that point, I’d been married 3 years, and I wished I had just stayed Emily Clyde. But, I felt I was too far in to all of the sudden request that people start calling me Emily Clyde. (Heavens knows I feel narcissistic enough writing a blog about this…I don’t know how I would have gone about making such a change known.)
As I continued to struggle with what to do, around year 4 or 5, I had a co-worker say, “Well, it became easier for me when I decided who I wanted to be affiliated with, my husband or my dad.” Excellent advice! She chose her dad. I chose my husband (I mean, I did covenant to spend eternity with him.).
Years later, I’ll answer to whatever people call me, but I introduce myself as Emily Clyde Curtis. That’s how I introduce myself, that’s how I sign my name. I really appreciate it when people recognize that and call me by that name, but I don’t take offense when people don’t.
Still, doesn’t feel quite right…I wish Harijans had taken one for the feminist team and decided to go with “Clyde” when we got married (It’s one syllable, you don’t have to even change your place in the alphabet, and wouldn’t you like to have a last name that’s a little less common than Curtis—were a few of my arguments).
I think part of my struggle is the androcentric nature of last names. And, it seems like other people struggle with this, too, but they’ve been able to come up with tidy solutions they are able to stick with.
One of my favorites is the combination of the husband and wife’s last names. I have some friends who did this, but I think they were particularly lucky to each have neat mono-syllabic last names that blend so well, the new last name looks perfectly ordinary.
How have you resolved this issue (or plan to resolve it)? What factors do/did you take into consideration?