It’s already happening. We’re still just over two weeks away from our nuptials, but the references to myself as ‘Mrs Dowel’ have been coming fast and thick for months. I’ve been laughing it off and reminding people I’m not married yet, and to be honest – I’m a little protective of the very little time I have left as ‘Miss Short’.
Making the decision to change my surname has been one I’ve battled with long before I even met my fiance. When I was younger, I was well and truly sitting on the bandwagon of having the one family name for all, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve started to slip off said wagon. It’s not that I don’t want the same name as my husband-to-be and one day, our children – I’d love nothing more for us to be a family united under a single surname. But at the same time, I’ve lived almost 29 years as Simone Short. Shorty. Short-stuff. Short-arse. I’ve enjoyed making puns with my surname, loved the irony of having a best friend with the surname ‘Little’, and even named my business and this very blog with Short inspired titles. I’m a proud member of the ‘My Surname is an Adjective’ Club and I think it has character.
Fondness aside, I’ve been reminded again and again since becoming engaged about how damn difficult it is to legally change your surname these days. It’s not just one bank account and a drivers licence I need to worry about – there’s my passport, multiple bank accounts, memberships, loyalty cards, email addresses, and signatures upon signatures on personal documents. It seems to me like changing my surname isn’t a short sprint, but a marathon that could see me being a Short/Dowel hybrid, depending on the situation, for years to come.
So here I find myself in this debacle.
I spoke to my recently-hitched friend Jess about this very issue, as she made it very clear in the lead up to her wedding that she simply couldn’t wait to take on the surname of her beloved husband. and I was curious to hear her reasons.
“Before we got married, I had more than a few people try and talk me out of changing my surname. I was repeated reminded that “times have changed” and that it wasn’t expected of me to take his surname “if I felt like I was obligated to”,” Jess told me.
“For me, taking my husband’s name was just another way that I could express to him how much I was committed to us doing life together as man and wife. As TEAM PADBURY.”
I asked Jess if, like me, she had an attachment to her maiden name – if she felt like by changing it, she felt like she was losing a little bit of herself.
“I would say I had an attachment to my maiden name, but after being asked so many times, “you know you’re not EXPECTED to change your surname…you know that, right?”, I definitely started to question whether I was doing the right thing.”
In fact, Jess even started to question if she was anti-feminist for being so excited to embrace her married name, and that’s just yet another angle or argument when it comes to the maiden name vs married name debate.
Whilst I thought I would continue to struggle to make up my mind well past our wedding day, one day, I just decided. I wasn’t even thinking about it – the feeling just kind of hit me that I’m totally cool with it. I’m even a little excited about it.
Ok, so perhaps I’m still not fully on board. Perhaps I’m hanging off the back, letting an arm or leg dangle from the side. Professionally, I’ve decided to hold onto Short for a while longer, especially when it comes to my published work, because I feel like I’ve done a lot of work as Simone Short – the writer. And I want to keep being Simone Short – the writer. But I also kind of like the idea of being able to go about with a completely different name in the parts of my personal life I’d like to keep private – you know, the one where I don’t spill all of my embarrassing secrets on the internet.
So on this blog, I’ll continue to be sharing Short’s thoughts, but I’d still like to know – did you change your surname when you got married? Or do you think you ever would?