I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the custom of a woman’s obligation to change her last name upon nuptials was pretty ridiculous. If a lady wants to keep her last name, more power to her. I mean, some of us have trouble parting with childhood toys, comic books and video games, so parting with the name you’ve had your whole life has to be difficult.
The whole idea of women taken their husband’s names was an issue of property. Like a dowery, the man was buying his wife and she was considered his . . . thing. In fact, In fact, it’s only been 4 decades since woman inn the US have been legally free to keep their original last name. Crazy, right? 1970s! (http://www.feministwedding.com/names2.html)
To my surprise, the tradition of a woman changing her name is not as common as I thought. For instance, in Scotland (my ancestral home) “until the 20th century, married women kept their maiden names . . .” (Krossa, Sharon L.. “Early 16th Century Scottish Lowland Names”. Medievalscotland.org. Retrieved 2010-07-29.) In Iceland, “an Icelandic woman customarily retains her maiden name upon marrying, because regardless of whom she marries she remains her parents’ daughter.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Married_and_maiden_names#cite_note-14) So, personally, asking Megan to change her name felt akin to slapping her dad in the face, “Yeah, Leo, say goodbye to Megan! You’re daughter’s mine. Here’s the proof! Her license says TAMISIEA! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Loser!”
I really never brought the subject up while we were engaged. In fact, she was the one who brought it up. And, when she did broach the topic, I was ready for anything. If Megan wanted to remain a Green, coolio. If she wanted to be a Tamisiea-Green, sweet lips. If she wanted to be a Tamisiea, God save her soul . . .
She chose the soul saving option. I was flattered. Really. That’s a hugh decision and I wasn’t going to push one option over another. Megan’s been in the process for a few weeks now, and I’ve been trying really hard not to pressure her to get it finished . . . even though I was getting more and more excited for her to take the plunge and become the first female Tamisiea in my immediately family.
It’s really not a a gigantic hassle – go to the social security office, the DMV and your bank. Everything else is candy – except Facebook. That damn contraption is a black hole of gossip and missed connections. Change that name, and everyone who is your friend wonders why and everyone who wants to be your friend can’t find you.
Regardless of the cyber issues, we’re looking at this name change as a sign of our commitment. She sees it as a choice, not an obligation. I see it as a privilege, not a right. Even if I forgot to wear my ring today . . again . . . she will always love me. Green, Tamisiea, Gramisiea or Teen, she’s my wife. I’m her husband.
So, after an extremely long day of selling outdoor clothing and equipment to the masses, I came home to find the mail. Included with the junk mail (that still includes wedding brochures – we’re already married, people!) was an envelope from the Social Security Administration addressed to Megan Leigh Tamisiea. Megan was sleeping, so I left it on her bedside stand. Then I looked at my phone, which I had left at home by accident . . . by my wedding ring . . . and saw the list of missed texts and calls. This was an e-mail I had missed:
From: Megan Green
Subject: Look at me! I’m a Tamisiea
Date: November 14, 2011 6:05:29 PM CST
To: Timothy Tamisiea
With that, in one day, it became very official. Megan is now a Tamisiea.