By KATE HUNTER
When I was in high school, it wasn’t unusual for the loved-up girls in my class to while away the hours during maths by practicing their ‘married’ signatures.
Susan Delany would scrawl, ‘Sue Battersby,’ so she’d know how to sign a cheque when she became Mrs Battersby, wife of Damian. It never happened (Damian ditched her for Jodie Geary) but good on Susan for being prepared.
These days, apparently, girls are reserving gmail addresses just in case their fella pops the question. This is especially crucial if the fella has a common name – like Smith or Jones or Hunter. Yikes.
Of course, you could always keep your own name – and your email address. Lots of women do, but even in 2013, some 80% of women in the USA take their husband’s name.
It’s hard to find numbers in Australia, but some studies suggest about 64% of women change their name when they marry. Fewer than our American sisters, but still more than half.
The data is woolly – possibly because you’re legally allowed to call yourself whatever you like, as long as the intent isn’t to defraud anyone. Lots of women will continue use their birth name at work but their married name socially, or when kids come along. Or when booking restaurants – especially if your husband’s name is easier to spell.
Unlike most of my friends and colleagues, I did change my name, officially, when I married in 1999. I’m not sure why, I just assumed that’s what I would do. I don’t feel I lost my identity – it’s just a name. If I’d decided to call myself ‘Iris Free Spirit Unicorn’, I’d still have been the same chick churning out punny headlines in an ad agency. Back then, the name-change was a bit of a hassle – passport, drivers’ license and a few other official bits and pieces. I made a list of what had to be changed and within a week it was all sorted.