The other day, someone who I don’t know all that well asked me if I was going to change my name after the wedding. I hate this question. Especially when the person asking is someone who THINKS they know me well enough to then try to debate my answer.
I am changing my name. As a feminist, I have the right to do what I want. And although I do understand why some of my friends have not changed their name, my last name is not something that particularly defines me as a person. This shouldn’t be all that shocking, really. Those who know me from different parts of my life probably don’t even know me with my actual last name.
I should explain.
The second day of my freshman year of college, I was asked to fill out a form declaring my “Stage Name”. As I was in a conservatory program for acting, this wasn’t entirely shocking. I just didn’t ever think about it until the paper was in my hand. My eighteen year old self was a bit capricious, but still a little practical. (My personality, in a nutshell.) I wanted to pick something different, but not crazy. So, what did I do? I dropped the “i” from the end of my last name. Just slightly different. A slightly new name for the slighty new acting-student-living-away-from-home Me.
And over the years, just slightly confusing.
When I got my first head shots printed, I used my stage name. My first season of summer stock? Stage name. When I joined the stage actors union? Stage name.
Many, many actors with whom I’ve worked don’t even know that this slightly abbreviated version of my last name isn’t my legal name.
I was even my stage name on Facebook. It wasn’t so different that people from my past couldn’t find me, and it was the name most people, especially in Los Angeles, thought was mine.
It stayed that way until we got engaged, and I got nostalgic for my legal name. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I knew I’d want to take Bob the Builder’s last name, and I wanted to go back to my legal name while I still could. I don’t know. I’m not even sure if anyone even noticed that I changed it back. After all, it’s just an “I”. But one day, I just switched it back.
Now, we are six months away from our wedding. I am actually looking forward to taking B the B’s last name. It’s a good name. Not weird sounding. Doesn’t have any alternate meaning, or negative historical context. Not hard to pronounce or spell. All in all, a solid last name.
Still, there are so many options available to me. Should I hyphenate? I’m not really a fan of that. Although, it could be a contender – both last names are short enough that it wouldn’t be obnoxious.
Change my middle name to my maiden name? I really love my middle name, though. Could I keep my middle name and then add my married name? Then I would have four names. Four names is obnoxious, right?
Should I add my stage name somewhere in the mix? After all, that’s my union name. Shouldn’t it get it’s due? I worked hard for those credits, and I want to be linked with them.
Hmm. Huh. So. Many. Decisions.
All I can say for sure is: I am changing my name. I’m just not sure what I’m changing it to. I’ve got six months to figure it out. Stay tuned, peeps.