Of maidens and matrons
Oddly enough, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether I want to keep my maiden name. I say “oddly,” because I don’t have any current prospects for doing anything else, so I’m not exactly sure where this unexpected concern is coming from. (Well, aside from my general proclivity for worrying about things that aren’t a current issue and possibly never will be.)
Anyway, if I had to put my finger on it, I’d say that it’s been on my mind for a few reasons. One reason is that a friend of mine recently got married and has been torn about whether to keep her maiden name. Another reason is that I turned 30 last year, so I feel like I’ve had this name for a while, now, and I’m not going to go trading it in without a good reason. The last reason, silly as it may seem, has to do with authority control and the fact that publishing under two different names (or even different forms of a name) is a bad idea. (This last one isn’t really a big deal, though, because you don’t have to publish under your legal name, so if I write an article now and then write another article after I legally change my name, I’d probably still publish the second one under my maiden name, regardless.)
The weird thing is, if I married a guy named John Smith*, for example, I don’t think I’d mind at all being called [Katya] Smith or Mrs. Smith or Sister Smith. I’ve acquired enough nicknames over the years that I don’t really care what people call me in terms of everyday encounters, but I want to know I’m still the same person, deep down, and apparently my current last name is a big part of my identity.
*I was going to go with “John Doe,” but then I realized that I associate that with dead people, thanks to watching too many police procedurals. So I’m opting for being Pocahontas, instead.