I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t feel a twinge of sadness in losing my last name when I marry Greg this October. For 32 years, I’ve been a Schatz. That’s a pretty substantial amount of time! Yeah, my last name gets butchered all the time, but it’s fairly unique, speaks to my heritage, and is a big part of my identity. I’ve also got a pretty big feminist streak that makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong in taking Greg’s last name of Brown.
The thing is, as strong as a woman I am, and as attached to my last name that I am, I still have a streak of traditionalness running through me. (And yes, I know that “tradionalness” isn’t a word, but I really think it should be, so I’m using it!) I plan to spawn a few minions with Greg, and I’d like us to be a family unit with the same last name. Hyphenation could solve this issue, but the thing is, I actually, kinda, sorta, don’t like hyphenated last names. I’m pretty sure my hippie card is being revoked at this moment. For one, if Greg and I were to hyphenate our names, we’d be the Schatz-Brown family. Let that sink in for a moment, pronouncing it the way most people do: “Shats.” Reversed isn’t any better.
While I like the unity of the two names, and even IF we had compatible last names, I just feel that it would then leave my future offspring (especially a female) in a conundrum when they got married. Growing up in a family of blended names, they might want to blend their names too. So would we be breeding a Schatz-Brown-Johnson for instance? I doubt anyone would want to have 3 last names, so we’d basically be forcing our female child to either keep her name and be different from the rest of her own family, or give up her name completely; something her mom (me) was trying to avoid. It just doesn’t seem fair that I would get the choice to blend my name, but my daughter wouldn’t.
I know, I think too much.
Besides, Brown is a nice, traditional name. If I ever get to teach again, I won’t constantly be asked how to spell Schatz, or get a note from a parent with some letters missing from my last name. Brown was a first grade spelling word, so I can imagine the kids would LOVE the freebie for the spelling test, assuming I taught first grade again. And I’ve gotta admit, I’m actually kinda giddy over the whole becoming a Missus thing. I love Greg with all of my being, and I’m so excited that we are going to become one and start our own little Brown family.
We joke that we’ll become a mixture of the two names: the Bratz family. It MUST be said forcefully with a heavy German accent. The more we laugh about it, the more normal the name sounds, but I have this thing about genealogy and it’d be a shame that my ancestors couldn’t find anyone before us because we created a whole new line. That, and I’m sure we’d regret naming ourselves after big, fat, sausages.
When my mom married my dad, she made her maiden name her middle name, and I’d like to do that too. Except, I want to go a step further. I share a middle name with my Grandma, and I’d hate to lose that part of me, so I’m going to ask the state of California if I can have two middle names, and cross my fingers they don’t tell me I can only have two first names or two last names. I’d like to be Erica Jane Schatz Brown. It might be a pain in the ass to sign on legal documents, but really, it’s not that often that I have to sign my entire name. On a trip up the coast a few years ago, I ran into this dude in a Santa Barbara thrift store:
If Fire Panda could do it, so should I.