A few months ago, a supervisor at the hospital where I work occasionally as a labor and delivery nurse called me back into her office.
“Chaunie, I need you to sign some papers,” she said seriously to me over the phone.
Fearing the worst, I gulped nervously and headed down the hallway.
When I walked in, she gestured to some paperwork sitting on the table in front of her.
“Take a look at that,” she said, smiling slightly. “Is that from you? I need to make sure…”
Confused, I peered over her shoulder and gazed at the paperwork, where I saw my usual hastily scribbled signature.
Except there was just one problem with it.
I had signed my maiden name. Even though I have been married for over five years.
I can honestly say that I never really seriously entertained the thought of not taking my husband’s last name when we got married. Sure, I admit that I had to occasionally give my husband flak for the tradition that basically originated from a time when women were considered property of men (how romantic, huh?), but when it came right down to it, I didn’t have a problem changing my name.
In peering down at the last name I hadn’t seen in so many years, I had to wonder though—was my subconscious trying to tell me something? Did I, in fact, harbor some deep-seeded resentment at being forced to abandon what was, essentially, a piece of who I was?
When you really think about it, asking a woman to change her last name when she gets married is really asking a lot.
That’s a name that we’ve spent our whole lives perfecting.
Living up to.
Writing in cursive on our elementary papers, making out our first checks, leaning in to before leaning in was cool.
And then, suddenly, just like that—it vanishes.
Some women, like Mandy Walker of Your Tango, openly regret taking their husband’s name at marriage. And some of us, like me, really don’t consider the alternative.
Until you happen to accidentally scribble your maiden name on some work paperwork and have to wonder—
Whatever happened to that girl?