BY TABITHA DIAL
At some point in my development, before I entered high school, I’m sure, I knew two fundamental facts about myself: I am a writer, and I wasn’t one to marry until I was at least 28.
Sometimes I let dreams of seeing my name in caps on the covers of several works of fiction slide under an avalanche of reality, but my identity as a writer remains.
At age 11 I began collaborating with another girl at school on a fantasy novel, where two girls went to rescue a slightly older boy. He was imprisoned, and I can’t recall why or why he was so important, but I had considered myself a writer for some time. And my name had to go on this work of fiction. And it could only be, at that time, my full name.
Over time, my byline morphed to simply my first and last name, and lined sheets of paper in unicorn trapper keepers that retained first editions of amatuer masterpieces gave way to computer files.
Sometimes I would consider adopting a man’s last name, cutting my maiden name from my sense of self. I even recall thinking how I wanted to marry, but I wasn’t old enough to legally drink the champagne, so wasn’t that a shame, and a major breach in a promise made to myself?
Thankfully, I listened to my teenage intentions. And this summer I tie the knot at age 35. And we agree that I keep my name.
I once, egotistically, believed my readership would get confused and frustrated if I changed my name. This was long before Google, when there was E-nothing, and nothing of mine was published, certainly not outside of my own school literary magazine.
Whether you consider yourself an artist, scientist, writer, entertainer, or anyone else who is making or has crafted a name for yourself, these are a few reasons to consider keeping your name when marrying:
1. Arguable Unity with the Queer Community/Modernization
Homosexual couples are faced with the challenge of which last name to take, should they elect to attempt to follow patriarchal tradition. Why should anyone?
If I stay a Dial, I honor my family.
3. Less Mess for Potential Heirs
Hyphenating a last name could produce the mayhem of a surname collision! Imagine: The ink spilled for the Dial-Awesome-Super-Spectacular wedding announcements? And the children who would have to lug long last names everywhere. There are only so many characters allotted on official forms, and so much space allowed on snail mail and important documents, like payroll.
4. Larger Font on Resumes, Business Cards
I’m lucky I have a pretty snappy name. Its length allows me to "embiggen" my font on resumes and marketing materials, ever-so-slightly more than if I changed my name. Also, if you’ve networked plenty prior to getting engaged, a name change could be a game change.
5. Extra Paperwork
Name changes require work. Registering. Waiting for new Social Security cards. Taking official documents, like the new Social Security card, to sit at the DMV for a new license. Changing your bank account (you may get a fee for a new debit card). Updating employers, credit card companies, the post office, voter registration, the landlord or your mortgage company, social media, monograms...Ain’t nobody got time for that.
6. Unspeakable Circumstance
Death. Divorce. At least one will happen!
Comment with reasons to keep your last name that I have I missed.
Tabitha Dial can be reached on social media at @TabithaDial.