as brian and i get closer to our wedding, many people have been asking a natural question: will you take his name? and for me, the answer is no. i remember when i was growing up and realized this is the way things work and thinking to myself - that is not for me (little colleen was not amused by this business). as i got older, many people used my last name as a source of nicknames (big mack and mackdaddy are popular ones), as well as just calling me by my last name. and as i've spent more time in the working world, most colleagues know me by my current name. while it's not like after some time they couldn't figure it out, it's, you know, one less headache. but the real reason, at the end of the day, is that my last name is me. it's who i am. perhaps i'm more connected to my last name than some others, but my name also reflects my history, my culture, my heritage. and, at least in my case, brian's last name reflects nothing similar to mine. i look at his last name as something completely foreign to me. and i think brian would feel the same way - changing his last name to something completely different would feel just as odd. it would feel like if we got married and i was forced to dye my hair red. i'm not a red-head - why, now that i'm married, do i have to be?
however, on the other hand, i get it. you are becoming a family the day you say i do, and a family unit shares a last name. and from that perspective i get it. yet, of course, no man would change his last name in order to fulfill this. so yes, i get it, but i suppose the tradition of one gender conforming does rub me the wrong way. and in this way, i'm in the minority. in america, approximately 90% of women change their name when they get married. that's a lot. and out of my friends, every single one of them has changed their name except for my college roommate (must have been something in that water in our apartment!) so for all appearances, most women still seem to love and embrace this tradition.
for my part, i've made it clear this isn't something i'll draw a hard-line on. if someone calls me by brian's last name i won't correct them. if we have children they will have his name (no hyphens here, folks). and i've also made it clear that i'm fully aware that this may not last. it could be too much of a legal and paperwork headache as the years go on to have separate last names within the same household. if we do have children, i may consider it more important for us all to have the same last name. all i know is that right now, and for most of my life, it's just not something i've wanted. basically, i want to get married but i don't want to become a red-head in the process. is that so much to ask?