One of my biggest character flaws is making sweeping statements without knowing all of the facts. Sometimes I mean said statements, sometimes they are jokes, and other times I’m just jumping to conclusions for the time-being, quickly changing my mind soon after. It’s a reality that’s made me learn to take my own opinions with a grain of salt. Because not only am I judgmental, I’m bad at making non-committal small talk. It could be one or the other or both at any given moment.
One such judgment I’ve made – for years – is about ladies with two last names. Hyphening their surnames for one reason or another. Or those who don’t take their spouse’s name at all. Whether an inability to let go of the past or trying to make their name more stand out-ish, I probably called you out.
But now that I’m married and trying to figure out what in the hell to do with my own moniker, I kind of get it. I’m still not hyphening – or double last naming – because I think that’s stupid (there I go again), but I get the logic behind it. It keeps you unique while still sharing the best of both worlds, pre and post marriage.
Besides, we now live in a time where ladies are allowed to do things other than ironing or baking pies; society’s acceptance of how we label ourselves needs to be adjusted. My own views included – especially now that I’m a full-blown hypocrite.
(Side note: In college I had a classmate who said it was perfectly acceptable to be a hypocrite, so long as you listed yourself as being one. As though saying, “I’m a hypocrite and I know it!” was the odd-numbered mention that allowed hypocrisy to no longer cancel itself out.)
What’s My Last Name?
Legally, I switched to my husband Bo’s moniker. It’s on my personal accounts, my license, and every ID I own that hasn’t been sliced to pieces. (Not that I still own those, either.) But at my work desk, I stuck with my maiden name, Wallace. It’s my byline and now, my pen name.
The change has been a medium that leaves my personal and professional sides separate. It helps keep my links – and clout with Google – my own. Would it kill my career to switch? No. But it could set it back, and prevent others from finding my work. Not that I am famous or even recognizable,* but when writing, consistency is key and I intent to keep it that way.
What’s Your Last Name?
Who cares? It’s yours. And whether you choose to change it or keep it as-is, that’s your prerogative. Just like Bobby Brown and Britney said it was. Will I make a snide comment or be judgy? Maybe. I can’t account for what future me might do. But having lived through it, I get it. I totally get why you’re doing whatever version of name changing. So just blow me off, along with any other rude asses that might come along. And continue living your life and going by whatever name you see fit. Like the federal government always said you could.
*Once, at a dinner party with fancy retirees I introduced myself to a lady and she said, “Oh I know you, don’t you write for the K-Stater?” And I said “Of course I do,” like I was name-dropped every day, and then I asked her if she liked the story about exchange students learning to canoe. Which we discussed for multiple minutes. That’s the only time that’s ever happened, but I’m hanging on for dear life, obviously.