I’m on my 2nd surname, how about you?
To me, one of the most difficult things to get used to about being married was the new last name. There was never any doubt in my mind that I would take my husband’s last name. I was never romantically attached to my maiden name—I still know that I’m part of my own family, whether I share their name or not. I was happy to share Angel’s last name when the time came, but the road to becoming used to seeing myself as Rachel G. was not without incident.
First, there’s the fact that Angel’s last name is very difficult to pronounce for native English speakers/non-native Spanish speakers. I distinctly remember him giving me lessons on pronouncing the name over the phone, and I imparted those lessons to my relatives. The whole Social Security and driver’s license procedures are, of course, not particularly fun either. I remember feeling like I was carrying my marriage license with me everywhere for the first month of our marriage as we went from office to office, attempting to get my name changed on all necessary legal documents.
Some months after we got married, we both got new cellphones, and while I was recording my voice mail message, in my nervousness, I blurted out my maiden name. To this day, that’s the voice mail message on my phone. At this point, I figure that everyone who calls me should know who I am, even if the name is slightly misleading.
Also very memorable is the day, over a year after we were married, when my professor called me over after class, holding an essay I’d turned in, and said, “Rachel, I think you did a good job with this assignment, but unfortunately I’m going to have to deduct points because you forgot what your name was,” as he gestured to my maiden name typed neatly in the top right corner. He was just joking about the points deduction, which is why this is a funny story and not a tragic one, but considering that he did have 90 students, I’m impressed that he was able to deduce that that name, not registered in the class at all, was simply a previous name belonging to me.
Do you have any stories of awkward moments to forget your own name? Did you take your husband’s surname or keep your own?