Why ancestry.com is going to have a bad time

OK, so.

Five months after getting married, I still haven’t come to the name-changing decision.

Honestly, I thought I would have decided by now, and it’s not because I’m ambivalent, it’s just that I find I have the best view while sitting on the fence.

The things that are bothering me the most about this are two-fold.

I don’t feel like a ‘married’ woman.

I really, really don’t. When I’m at the traffic lights and see the light refraction that comes off my ring, similar to a that crystal dangling from the rear vision mirror you put up when the police told you to take your fuzzy dice down, I get that same feeling when mucking around at 8-years-old, trying my mum’s wedding rings on. She was freshly divorced, so the rings remained unworn, safely tucked away in easy reach in the second drawer, under the singlets on the left-hand side of her bedroom bureau. Not that I was looking.

I still feel like I’m dressing up. I still catch myself in the mirror saying in a funny-British-comical voice ‘Oh why yeeess, I am marrrriiiied’. It’s ridiculous.

Everytime I go to say ‘my husband’ or ‘Mrs’ I have to eat my laugh. To me, The Mister is still ‘my boyfriend’.

I know some single people that act more married that I am.

But this whole name thing has been dogging me for, well, only about a year, but I really thought I would know exactly what I wanted to do by now.

Right now I’m not doing anything.

I am totally envious of those newly-marrieds on Facebook that change their name post-haste. I can’t bring myself to do it. It seems so permanent.

This is the exact same reason why I’ve never had a tattoo. Even in a drunken stupor back in 1998 while considering the dolphin, butterfly or Marvin the Martian, my ‘but what if I change my mind?’ voice still managed to kick in. It’s never going to happen. I’m way too fickle.

So lets go though the options… again…

I could just stay the way I am and leave my name alone.

PRO – It’s already done.  My boss will appreciate not having to order new business cards.

CON – The pre-prepared speech of ‘oh, yes we’re married, I just have a different name to him’ can get tedious. Especially when The Mister hardly ever has to give it. But I guess that’s the price you pay, which isn’t that bad, I mean, you’d only have to explain it once. If they even ask.

I could take his name

PRO – People’s assumption that I’m married would be correct. And his last name is two syllables and goes reasonably well with my first name.

CON – I feel sad about dropping my last name. I like it. And I’m scared of having an identity breakdown at the Department of Transport next to the guy picking up his HOTDONK personalised number plates.

The Mister could take my name

PRO – you don’t have to do anything

CON – I honestly don’t see this happening. For no other reason than I’m not really hell-bent on him doing it. There will be an argument or two out there about how this could emasculate him. Well I don’t see him being emasculated, not anymore than he already is (BAM. Amirite ladies? That’s what we’re supposed to think what big bad feminism is, right? RIGHT?).


The thing is, he can if he likes. The truth is, if I sincerely asked him too, I think he would seriously consider it. But I haven’t, so he hasn’t.

Hyphen it

PRO – This isn’t a terrible compromise. Good for those like me that are classic fence-sitters. I think I might do it, but only if he does too.

CON – Double-barrelled names always look a little faux-posh to me. Like Octavia Davis-Hendricks or Pamela Anderson-Lee. I think if I was going to do this, I would just change it. On a practical note, my current name is 10 letters long (5 letters for first name, 5 for surname) and fits on most forms easily. With a hyphen, I’ll be gaining another eight letters including the hyphen. Yes, that’s splitting hairs, but these are the things that annoy me.

Creating a mashup

PRO – go straight to the con list.

CON – I don’t like Doyson or Pearoyle. At all. Those names just look like spelling mistakes.

Inventing a new name

PRO – I know someone who did this rather well. He took the last name of his newly-divorced mum and his dad and joined them together. It worked well as these names were Green and Smith, so it’s Greensmith. Not bad.

CON – I keep thinking of the scenario that could play out in years to come. You already have to be a reasonably sleuth to being the geneaologist in the family, and that’s just with regular family names. In years to come, even with all the change-of-name records in place, it’s this generation, right now, that’s changing their own histories by choice. I mean, 100 years ago, it would be near impossible to find a newly-married couple that decided to invent a new name for themselves.

The producers for Who Do You Think You Are in years to come have their work cut out for them.