I suppose I did it because we had gotten married on a whim, and I wanted to prove to him that I was serious about our marriage now that we’d decided to stick it out. I also thought it might be simpler if our bills and accounts were in the same name. And it was, you know, what people “did.”
None of these reasons, however, had anything to do with me.
All my life I have been Naomi Lane. It wasn’t just my name, it’s who I was. I identified with my name, it was mine. Throughout high school and college, people called me “Lane.” “What up, Lane?!” “Nice job, Lane!” “Hey, party at Lane’s’ tonight!”
It was on my birth certificate and every school photo I’d taken. It was on my driver’s license, my passport, my credit cards. Lane. But now, I had to be… Happelberger.
In essence, I gave up my identity and took on that of my husband’s. I wasn’t Naomi Lane anymore, I was Mrs. Happelberger – my husband’s wife.
Does anyone else see the problem here?
If a woman gets married, why must she give up her name – her lifelong identify – because she becomes someone’s wife? Or to look at it from a different angle, because someone becomes her husband?
Time for a New Tradition
Many folks argue that a woman should take the man’s name because “it’s tradition.” In ancient times, human sacrifice to placate angry gods was tradition. I am all for tradition, provided that it makes sense. Tradition, it seems to me, is an excuse people use when they don’t have a better argument.
Others argue that both parents should have the same name as their children. I understand this, but if a child inherits a parent’s name, my vote is for the mother’s.
The mother stores the kid in her womb for nine months, endures the worst pain of her life through hours of labor, gets nipple rash from nourishing the little bugger — and her body is never the same for it. Mommy deserves to stamp her name on that baby.
Ask any man to change his name to that of his wife’s and he would scoff – after he finished laughing. Why should society expect any less from a woman? For the sake of patriarchy?
Upon the dissolution of my marriage, I changed my name back to Lane. The day I received the confirmation from the court, I felt liberated. I was myself again.
Maybe if my maiden name were Yuckybutt or something equally embarrassing, I would consider taking my husband’s name. But it’s not. My name is cool. And more importantly, it’s me.
(Of course it’s a fake name, silly buns. Did you really think I’d give it up just like that?)
Categories: In My Most Excellent Opinion