Thoughts On…Maiden Names (My Response)

Ever feel like you need to get something off your chest? Sometimes I’ve just gotta talk it out. That’s why I’ve decided to do a monthly feature called “Thoughts On…” At the beginning of the month, I’ll provide a prompt to stimulate discussion. The point is to get us to put our thoughts out there – writing it all down can be quite cathartic. If you want to keep your writing private, that’s your thing and I won’t question it. If you’re ready to put it all out there, I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments. At the end of the month I’ll provide my own thoughts on the topic of the month. Think of it as a book club for writing.

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This month I brought up maiden names.

Here’s the thing: I’m not engaged so this concept is not entirely relevant.  Hopefully, one day, this is something I’ll actually need to consider; however, at this point I just wanted to join the conversation since it’s become a legit news topic.  Basically, a lot of women are choosing not to change their last name.  They’re getting married later in life, after having established themselves in their careers.  Plus, it can be kind of a hassle to change it.  Nobody wants to deal with the DMV.

I guess I never thought about it, but my Mom changed her name. (Duh.)  In my eyes, she’s a Konter – just like me – but that wasn’t always the case.  Everyone knew her as the girl Weiland, the one with three crazy brothers.  Her name preceeded her.  And then, suddenly, at the age of 21, Weiland slips into the middle and her middle name goes buh bye entirely.  That’s kinda sad.  Now that more and more of my friends are married I realize that could be me one day.  But I love being a Konter!  In my hometown, that name means something (or at least I like to think so).  As my best gal, Steph, said before her wedding “I’ve built this brand, man!”  Also, if my last name were no longer Konter, I would feel like I was missing out on something and no longer part of the club.  If I were to keep my maiden name, it’s not because I’m a feminist; it’s because I love my fam.

Here’s the flipside: I kinda like the idea of attaching myself to a man – hitching myself to his wagon, if you will.  If there’s a guy who loves me, and we’re both down to make our lives one, I want to enter the world as a couple, with one name.  In a way, it’s the ultimate romantic gesture.  Also, from a practical side, I’d want everyone in my fam to have one name – kids shouldn’t feel fractured.  A marriage signifies a new chapter in life – maybe there should be a new name to go with it.

This is totally every woman’s choice to make, and it’s a very personal one.  Women (and their husbands and children) have thrived in both scenarios so there’s no wrong answer here.  In the end, I know I’ll change my name because I’m a traditional sort of gal…but I’ll be very sad nostalgic about it.  And let’s be honest: I’ll probably tell anybody who will listen “yea but I was born a KONTER.”  Is it a process to change your credit cards/driver’s license/social security card?  Yea, but it’s not such a big deal – there are scientists curing AIDS, after all.  Is it annoying to have to change your email address at work?  Maybe, but my colleagues will figure it out.  Honestly, my biggest worry is figuring out what to do with all the monograms I have around my apartment.