A bit of a contrarian (the nickname my father gave me as young child), I’ve never been keen on this tradition. In fact, I have no plans of changing my name. Sure, I might just be lazy and don’t want to become a herded sheep in an exasperatingly long Social Security line. That’s absolutely part of it. However, I simply like my last name. It’s the last name of my father and my late Opa. I like that piece of them; I like my Dutch heritage. This name is a part of me and I cannot imagine letting it go. Why should I have to change my name merely because society says so? Why can’t I be one of the few women who keeps it? Well, I intend to do so. This is no disrespect to my future husband; this is merely a choice that is right for me. I want to be a DeJong. And I can still be part of my husband and his family without taking his name.
I got to thinking about changing my name. You know, after marriage. To my future husband’s last name. I see girls I know getting married all around me, changing their names immediately on facebook. I think it’s safe to assume that they’re changing their last names in the eyes of the law as soon as possible, too. Sometimes they tack on their new name to their old name. But they’re adding the new name nonetheless. And I wonder what their fathers think when they see their daughter’s new name in print: are they happy for her? Ambivalent? Slightly sad? Do they think they’ve lost (or halted) their family lineage in a small way? What exactly does changing a last name do to a family? Or does it do anything at all? I can’t seem to come up with an answer. But I do know that it’s rare to find a girl who does not participate in this tradition.