I’d love to ask your advice…
This past May, my boyfriend and I traveled to San Francisco to celebrate my birthday. We decided to splurge on a fancy Nob Hill hotel (it was a big birthday), and the porter led us to a beautiful room on the 14th floor. My last name is Cahn, but since my boyfriend had made the reservation, every time I called the front desk I was greeted with, “What can I help you with, Mrs. Glovinsky?” I’ll admit, it filled me with a secret flash of excitement each time.
Maybe I had sensed what was about to come. That Sunday morning, as we cuddled up in our California king bed, gazing at the skyline out the window, with room service eggs on their way, my boyfriend asked me to marry him. He laughed about how he’d had the ring in his pocket the whole day before, but since we were running around the city meeting friends, the right moment had never come up. I was thankful for that — my day-old-mascara streaked face, uncontrollable grin, and blubbering ‘Yes’ was not meant for public consumption.
I’m excited about the fun wedding-y decisions ahead — flowers, food, dresses, music — but there is one question that feels more serious: Will I change my name?
My brain has now entered a googly-eyed, post-engagement state of love mush. Although I never thought I’d change my name, suddenly the idea of the two of us — and any future children — having the same team name makes my heart swell.
But on the other hand, I am proud of my name. I have been a writer for over ten years; my byline is my badge. I remember the first time I saw Megan Cahn in the masthead of a magazine. It gave me such a thrill — much more so than hearing “We’ll send your food right up, Mrs. Glovinsky.”
The majority of women in the U.S. change their name after marriage, but I understand the 20 percent or so who chose not to. I recently read an essay by a woman who had taken her husband’s last name, but changed it back two years later — even though they were still happily married. “I learned during this time that you may do something for love, but if it’s incongruent with your own values, it will resurface,” she wrote in her thought-provoking piece.
My fiancé (still feels weird to call him that!) is neutral on the subject. His mom never took his dad’s last name. No matter what I decide, it will be my choice. And it’s nice to know, I can always change my mind.
I’d love to know: Will (or did) you change your last name after getting married? Would you hyphenate your name? What about your kids’ names?
(Photo by Leon.)