Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Name Game

Argh! Changing my name has been the most frustrating thing ever! Let me rephrase. Changing my name at WORK has been the most frustrating thing ever. I spent only 30 minutes at Social Security and an hour at the DMV to legally become Mrs. Kingston.

My work name change is a completely different story. First, I needed manager approval (why?!) to change my name on payroll and benefits. Then, I needed manager approval again (why?!) to change my email address. Then, I needed approval to get a new ID badge with my new name. Of course, none of the systems that HR, IT and the badge shop use link up internally, so you have to do them in the right order and wait some unwritten prescribed amount of time for the information to trickle down. Now, my issue is that my old name isn't searchable and my old and new email accounts aren't linked. I have no idea how many emails I haven't received and how many people are looking for me. IT in India doesn't seem to get what I'm trying to explain to them. I'm ready to scream.

And why exactly have I put myself through this? To me, I've never questioned changing my name. I'm traditional that way and always assumed I would take my husband's name. My maiden name is also a fairly long, hard to spell and pronounce Polish name, so I've "upgraded" in terms of getting something easier with Kingston. My maiden name became my middle name so that I would be able to keep it in a way but not have to say or pronounce it on a regular basis. To me, hyphenating wasn't an option. My mom has a hyphenated name and though it works for her, it also creates it wasn't for me. Hyphenating can come with it's own headaches. Besides, my last name would have been 17 letters long with 3 K's, plus a hyphen. No thanks.

I admit that I do tend to find it interesting when women keep their name to keep their identity. For me, I am me no matter what my name is. Granted, I'm not renowned professionally by a certain name, and that's an instance where I understand why a woman would keep her name professionally. Socially, however, I think there is a sense of unity in a couple having a shared name, even more so when there are children. I understand that changing or not changing a name is a personal choice, and I completely respect other wives' choices. I just wouldn't ever NOT change my own name.

Plus, there's the Mrs. factor. I wanted to be a Mrs. You're not technically a Mrs. if you don't share your name with your husband. Since Mrs. literally means "wife of," a woman who calls herself Mrs. Maiden Name is implying that she's married to her father, technically. Mrs. Brooke Kingston isn't even correct, since I can't be married to myself. I'm Mrs. Dan Kingston (yes, I know, I don't use our names usually, but our real names aren't hard to find in blog comments, so whatever). If you keep your name or refer to yourself as your first name with his last name, it's Ms. I understand the intention behind trying to attach Ms. to your own first name, but it's simply not correct in the traditional sense.

I can understand not wanting to lose yourself in marriage, but to me, you're not lost in changing your name. I'm simply reinvented as Brooke with a new last name and the same values and morals and goals, but with a husband to share them with.

Feel free to share any thoughts you have on the subject.

1 comment:

saltsays said...

I really like your commentary on this. I'm changing my name and making my last name my middle also. It seems like there is such a trend nowadays that women don't want to 'lose their identity' and why should they have to change their name and the man doesn't, etc. I'm a total traditionalist on this and I know M would have been sad if I hadn't wanted to take his name. Lucky for him, I'm all over it.

I can't believe you need your manager's permission to do something like that. WEIRD. I hope it gets sorted out soon!