I Kept My Last Name And This Is Why You Should Care
I decided to keep my last name before I even got engaged. Actually, I decided to keep my last name before J and I even started dating. When I told him this, all he said was “I don’t want to change my name, so you shouldn’t have to change yours.” I think that is a brilliant way to think about it.
*Note: for privacy purposes, I will not be using my husband’s last name in this post. For privacy, and also because honestly it kind of completely defeats the purpose of this post.*
I obviously knew that once I got married I would still be called Mrs. Husband’sLastName every now and then because that’s just how society is conditioned to address married couples. In my opinion, I think that society should start embracing the fact that more and more women decide to keep their last name, but I understand that’s not something that is going to happen right away. What I wasn’t prepared for was for family and friends to not even ask if I kept my last name and to simply assume that I took my husband’s.
Well, for anyone who didn’t already know, I didn’t take J’s last name. And this is why you should care.
Legally and factually speaking, Mrs. Husband’sLastName simply is not my name. I am not sure who Mrs. Husband’sLastName is (probably one of J’s aunts??), but it’s not me. That’s not the name on my driver’s license, passport, or any legal document, so addressing me as Mrs. Husband’sLastName is just objectively wrong.
You don’t assume people’s religion or sexuality, so why are you assuming my last name? While I would like to think that people assume less in 2020, unfortunately, people are going to assume things no matter what year it is. That said, there are some things that people should probably generally try not to assume. I don’t just assume your name is Bob and then start sending you holiday cards addressed to Bob.
It’s my identity. I have chosen to keep my last name. After 28 years with it, I think I earned the right to have it and to have people call me by it. I have things published under my name. I have awards, certificates, and diplomas with my name. I have domains with my name. I have a family history with my last name. My last name is a quick way for people to identify that I have family roots in Greece, which is also a huge part of my identity. I am not Mrs. Husband’sFirstName Husband’sLastName. I did not all of a sudden become “Mrs. Him” or become another person just because I got married. I had and still have my own identity, just like my husband does.
Etiquette. Look, I’m a wedding planner, so I understand and appreciate etiquette rules more than anyone (even if sometimes I think that there are some etiquette rules that are very much outdated . . . but I digress). Technically speaking, based on “traditional” etiquette, since I kept my last name I am not a “Mrs.” but instead am a “Ms.” (Now more than ever, I am considering getting my PhD just to eliminate the Mrs./Ms. confusion altogether. Thoughts?) That’s a little annoying in my opinion, but to be honest, I don’t really care what title is placed in front of my name. Use whatever you want, but even if you want to go by “proper” or “traditional” etiquette, you still need to call me by my actual name.
Am I still going to be called Mrs. Husband’sLast Name? Of course. Did I expect it? Of course. But I appreciate more than anything the extra time and respect it takes people to just ask if they are not sure or don’t want to assume.
Giulia Stavropoulos signing out.