I Didn’t Take My Husband’s Name – Did You?
Unlike Jessica Timberlake nee Biel I didn't take my husband's last name when we got hitched. By the time I met my husband, I'd spent five years slaving away as an intern opening up my editor’s mail until my fingers bled and fetching dry cleaning and coffee in the hopes that one day I’d get that coveted byline. When I finally did get the opportunity to see my name in ink, there was no way I was going to change it.
That name was a symbol of my identity; it was a reflection of that girl who pounded the pavement to get “scoops” and who voiced her opinion at community outreach meetings. That name, for me, was a symbol of all I’d achieved with a hard earned a degree from a city college I helped fund by waitressing in some very seedy restaurants and the dream of one day supporting myself as a writer.
When I met my husband, I suggested that we hyphenate our last names - or better yet, we take MY last name, he wasn’t on board. So I told him I would simply keep my last name. When we had kids, I let them take his. At the time It was the best compromise I could conceive of although now,13 years later, I wish I would've given my kids my last name as their middle one. So here we are 13 years later; two kids, two dogs, a mortgage- and I am STILL Melissa Chapman. The outsider in a family where three members share their name - and whenever we do anything legal I've got to take the necessary precautions to ensure that my lone last name is included. Yes, it is a royal pain in the rump at times - but I don’t regret it.
So I wondered - was I the only woman who felt a need to keep her name - or were there others who felt just as strongly as I did. I asked a couple of other women for their thoughts on the matter and found out that I was anything but alone in my decision!
Andrea Peskind Katz: I did not change my name for professional reasons. Legally I did but professionally, I used my maiden name. I had been in sales for over a decade and didn't want to rebrand myself. It was great for me. I would hope my daughters keep their maiden names forever.
Lani Horn: I did. I came from a blended family and spent my childhood fantasizing about having a single surname uniting me, my spouse, and my brood. Add a rough family history, and I was fine changing names. I got some flak for it from young feminist friends but I am very happy with my choice. I think it is a personal decision. I am a switched vowel away from Lena Horne, which I find awesome.
Anna Sandler: I changed my name, the only issue is I am now Anna Sandler which is too close to Adam Sandler so everyone thinks of him when they hear my name and asks if we are related (we're not)