A few years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to change my last name if I ever got married. It was something that had always bothered me about marriage, and when I realized that I could get married without changing my name (Thanks Feminism!), the idea of marriage looked a lot more appealing.
My mother and I were having a conversation about my decision after Adam and I were engaged and I said, “I’m not changing my name. But if someone makes a mistake and accidentally calls me Mrs. Lee, then I won’t get offended. People make mistakes and it won’t be worth constantly getting bent out of shape for.” To which my mother responded “Well I certainly hope you wouldn’t get offended! It would be an honor to become Mrs. Lee!” An “honor” she knew I wasn’t going to receive.
All of my female friends who have gotten married have either hyphenated or changed their name. Some said they liked the tradition. But a few told me that “It’s just easier.” I don’t understand how hours of paper work and standing in line at bureaucratic offices and on hold is “just easier” than…doing nothing. But as Amanda Marcotte has written what “just easier” really means is that it’s easier to suck it up and do the paperwork than stand your ground and be seen as a castrating feminazi.
I’ve gotten a few pieces of mail addressed to Mrs. Adam Lee which is oddly unsettling even though I know it’s an archaic form of address – neither my first or last name is on the envelope, and yet it’s a communication meant for me.
Now that it’s our second holiday season as a married couple and we have sent out our second batch of holiday cards with return address labels that have both of our first and last names written on them clearly, Adam is getting frustrated that most cards are sent to “Mr. and Mrs. Adam Lee.” I really don’t care if it’s addressed that way to both of us, I just want to see the sparkly cards and see the pictures of people’s babies and pets. But this morning Adam remarked to me, “Is it worth sending out these cards if everyone just ignores you and erases your name?” I was like “Yeah! Glitter penguins! Duh!”
But I’m touched he’s offended on my behalf. Maybe I should gently remind people that I did not change my name. If I never tell anyone about it, aren’t I playing my own game of “it’s just easier?”