Our mothers and grandmothers likely never heard the question, “Are you taking his last name?”
It was not just assumed, but expected, that when she married, a woman would take her husband’s last name.
It quite shocked me how often people have asked me this question since I got engaged. It’s almost as common as “Where’s the venue?” and “Did you find the dress?”
Even though it’s more acceptable for a woman to keep her maiden name, most of the married women I know have changed theirs. That said, my betrothed would likely tell you that I plan to keep my maiden name just because I like to be different sometimes. There might be a pinch of salt of truth in that , but I have more legitimate reasons for keeping my name.
My last name is unique
While “Lauren” stayed in the Top 20 baby names throughout the 1980s, “Fritsky” is nowhere else to be found but in my own family (though there is a Ukrainian scholar/professor named Igor Fritsky who doesn’t seem to be a relation). There are a few unaccounted for Fritskys scattered in places like Ohio and Arizona, but the rest are mostly relatives in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
My last name is fun
All my friends called me Fritsky throughout school. So did my teachers and my dance teachers. There has even been a person or two who has thought my first name was Fritsky (and if that were the case, I’d nominate my parents to be put on this list). Fritsky sounds like Frisky. It got it’s fair share of cat food brand comparisons, but it also became intertwined with my personality — or vice versa. My last name is spunky, spicy, fiesty, brash and forever teeters on being offensive — just like me.
I’ve been published under this name
Since my first byline at age 19, I have been published as Lauren Fritsky. The subsequent newspaper articles, book mentions, magazine articles, blog posts and TV interviews have all included this name. Changing my last name would feel like undoing a 12-year career in some senses. I know I could keep my last name the same for publishing reasons, but if I have to have exceptions, why change it at all?
It makes me feel connected to my father
This is a tough one. This reason might seem like I’m choosing my father as a more important man in my life than Brendan. I have no brothers; this surname stops with me, or my sister if she decides to keep her maiden name as well. It might sound trite: another 50 years or extending the Fritsky surname in my immediate family. But there’s something about having a crucial part of my family taken so soon that makes me want to honor it for as long as possible.
When it comes down to it, I identify more with my last name than my first. That might sound crazy to you, but it sounds right to me. And Brendan understands. So while a lot of things will change when I walk down the aisle on April 6, my last name won’t be one of them.
For my lady readers, what are your reasons for changing or keeping your last name?
Featured image by adamjonfuller