real life

"Why I will not be changing my name when I get married in 3 months."

Give me one good reason why I should?

I’m getting married in three months. I am not changing my name. In fact, I find the idea of “taking my husband’s name” repelling.

I understand the best thing about feminism is choice. And it’s great that women can choose. But I just don’t understand why you would choose to lose your name?

I’m divorced. If I’d taken my first husband’s name I’d be Shelly Cockerill. Kind of sounds like a porn name or sea bird. No deal.

But now I’m getting married again and my fiance has a great last name. Robinson. I could be Mrs Robinson.

Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson.

Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me aren’t you?

If I changed my name I’d be acting out this scene from The Graduate way too often.

But giving away my name feels like giving away my identity.

I’ve worked hard in my career. I’m known by my name. To me it would be like Coke changing their name to Penelope just because they love someone. It just doesn’t make sense.

A former boss of mine presented an argument for journalists to keep their maiden name throughout their careers. She was an industrial relations reporter in the UK. She got married. Moved jobs. Moved cities. But because she kept her maiden name, a whistle-blower in an asbestos case tracked her down. He said she was the only one he trusted and if he hadn’t been able to find her he would have taken the secrets to the grave. His story changed laws and lives.

Celebrities who changed their names (post continues after gallery).

Outside of journalism, what if you are made a named partner in a law firm and then got married and changed your name? Would the firm have to pulp their letterhead and business cards?

Why don’t more men do what Zoe Saldana’s husband did?


I threw the question open to friends.

“Men don’t change their names. Women are already disadvantaged at work and get paid less. Why add confusion about your name as well? Men don’t,” says a friend.

“I changed mine because: a) I liked his better, b) my dad’s family didn’t bother to stay in touch with us when he left and my husband’s family have welcomed me with open arms over the ten years we’ve been together, so they feel much more like my family. I don’t feel like I lost my identity.”

“I have a name I use at work and a name I use at home,” says a friend.

“I want my name back”, writes Kellie Connolly (now Sloane).

For some, it’s not a work issue.

“No way would I change my name, because I’m not my husband’s property. This is historically how this came about. Namely for the consolidation and protection of assets,” harrumphs one friend.

“I decided when I was five that I wasn’t changing my name and I’ve never wavered. I just don’t get it. I like my name. He can take mine if he wants to. I don’t see why it should automatically be the woman to sacrifice her identity,” says another.
“I added my husband’s onto the end of mine, because I wanted to, because I like it and because I feel very much a part of his family. My sister changed hers — doesn’t meant she’s lost ‘her identity’, that’s ridiculous,” says one friend.
Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?
Identity chat put the cat among the pigeons.  If you legally change the way you are identified, how is that not losing your identity?
“I guess it depends on where you find your identity. Because I view ‘a name’ and ‘someone’s identity’ to be two different things in a lot of cases,” she says.
That argument is becoming too “the artist formerly known as prince” for my liking.
A common reason women say they want to change their names is so that they have the same names as their kids. But this doesn’t make sense to me either. Surely these days, kids can cope with different last names. It’s not like they don’t know who their mum is. They have different first names and they seem to be okay. Give them credit.

“I didn’t change my last name for ten years but then all my son’s friends kept calling me Mrs Porter and then my son started calling our family the Porters, then added “except mum”. I changed it immediately,” says a friend.

“I changed my name. For lots of reasons. Including because it’s my kids’ name. Guess the fact is, I had the choice, and that was the choice I made,” says another.

What about you? Did you change your name? Did you have any regrets?

For more:

I am irrationally annoyed by Amal Clooney.

The Internet is calling it the best wedding toast ever. 

More details on Nicky Hilton’s wedding.