As reported in this article in the New York Daily News (and immediately picked up in many blogs), 70% of Americans surveyed for a study think that a woman should take her husband's surname when they marry.
Okay. I don't agree, but okay.
But -- 50% think that women should be required by law to take her husband's surname.
Excuse me -- BY LAW?
If these people had their way, I'd be a scofflaw and a criminal, all because I did not change my surname when I got married.
I'm thankful that the sample was small; only 815 people -- but it's still kinda scary that so many think that a woman should be forced to change her name upon marrying.
When Joe and I got engaged, I told him that I wanted to keep my name. I must admit I was a little nervous about telling him this; after all, I'd only known four months and didn't know everything about him. I knew enough to know I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and I knew he agreed with me on Big Important Issues, so I was pretty sure he'd be okay with it. I just wasn't positive.
So I said, "How would you feel if I kept my name?"
And he said, "You know what? I'm in love with Mary Wise. I don't know anyone named Mary Flynn."
Yeah, awwwwww. Right?
But what of The Children? What will you name them? Won't they be confused? How will it play out in therapy later on in life?
SonnyeBoy has done perfectly well with his name. He was never confused about who he was and who I was and who Joe was.
However, a whole bunch of telemarketers have been confused.
"Hello, is this Mrs. Flynn?" (Or, "Mr. Wise?")
Our stock answer?
"Sorry, there's no one here by that name."
My Pop did not approve, but he didn't try to change my mind. My Mom did -- she was extremely upset with me. Several of my friends kept their names when they married; Mom used to sigh, "She doesn't even love him enough to take his name!" When I told her I wasn't changing mine, I cut her off at the pass and said, "Don't even think about saying it!" It was the only fight we had during the whole wedding planning phase. She eventually got over it.
Look, if a woman wants to take her husband's name, fine. If she wants to keep her name, great. If she wants to hyphenate her name, terrific. If she and her husband want to come up with an entirely new surname, live and be well. It's all about the choice.