Surnames

While I should be sleeping as I plan to take one of my exams tomorrow, my mind is whirring because I rather stupidly decided to watch a few YouTube videos. What that led to was my watching a video on last names and how there’s this debate on if women should change their last names, at least in cultures that have women do that as a norm. Now, from when I was little, I never really thought about taking anyone else’s name. Whenever I’d have my little five or seven year old plans there was always a hyphen or, if I was feeling adventurous, my pretend-husband had my last name instead because why not? To this day I don’t know why I thought that way, I just know I did. I liked my name, my initials with how my middle and last name ones are the same. I liked it and didn’t plan to change it or, if I did, I would have a hyphen.

Now that I’m older, I’ve more or less come to the decision I will keep my name. Not because of what you might think, even. So, if the thought that I’d keep mine solely for the purpose of equality and all, it’s actually not. Partly it’s because my name is my identity, it connects me to the family that I love dearly. Partly because I like my name as is, especially with the ‘M.M.’ for my initials. And then a large chunk because I plan to become settled and have my career, where I will be ‘Dr. My Name’ before I marry. Granted things may happen before then, but even so… All my dreams are Dr. My Name, not Dr. Someone Else’s Name. Not to mention the paperwork. That sounds like too much work. It might be streamlined in this particular case, but still. My mail would have to be changed, and all my legal documents. I don’t want to become a new person in the eyes of the law; I want to stay me, with all my flaws. I do realize certain legal things may be more difficult because of my theoretical situation, but I’d rather be happy with my born-with name than changing to some other name I only knew for however many years.

Of course one of the questions in places such as the U.S. when a woman does not change, or hyphenates, their name is: what will your kids be called if you plan any? I’d like to have children, so this question does actually apply to me. In my happy scenario where I have a guy who doesn’t give a damn about my keeping my name, I see hyphenation for my theoretical children. The reasoning with that is simply because they are my kids and his, not one or the other, and it will keep a bit of unity.

For others they may choose else for some reason, but I think the whole name thing is generally a personal choice. Some are attached to their names, such as myself, others not so much. Some guys may want their wife’s last name. If a woman has a high-profile career, business cards, and else, then…it’s a lot of work to change your name. Authors, celebrities (you don’t see them changing their names that often), doctors, people with doctorates, and so on. It’s more hassle than it’s worth to simple go with what is seen as acceptable. With naming your children, the same rule applies: it’s your own choice. Yes, there are norms, but that doesn’t exactly mean they have to be followed. Normal is boring.

Of course I am only speaking in terms of heterosexual couples, as homosexual ones already have to make this decision name-wise. It’s a bit refreshing, too, to have the knowledge that not all cultures are for name-changing, but it’s still a wonder that people get side-eye, unless you are prominent in some field (including entertainment), if you hyphenate or change your name someplace where it’s the norm. But it’s a personal choice, as I’ve said, and it would be nice if people could just nod, smile, and accept that.

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Put Yourself Out There

    So, between feeling like an awful friend/selfish for really no reason, plotting who to drag tot eh beach with me so I go at least once this summer, feeling like the stereotypical broke college student, making plans with a friend for next Sunday, and eyeing the frozen margarita in the freezer; a weird topic popped in my head all thanks to available phone backgrounds. I was contemplating to update my phone screen, so, naturally, I went looking on Zedge and somehow has updated a bunch of things involving ‘love is…’ and inserting little drawings and words and all that stuff. It’s adorable, really, but that got me to thinking about something one of my friends has said to me before; you need to put yourself out there.

    What the hell is that to mean?

    I know it might not seem to much fit to that whole ‘love is’ thing, but it does to me in a weird way. But, okay, some background on that thing a friend told me: I had happened to mention how I seem forever single, since it was fitting to the conversation at the time, and this friend piped up and told me I need to put myself out there. I have no idea what he meant, and he got a confused look from me. I never got the elaboration, but…that doesn’t stop me form wondering. One of friends, who happens to be the one who told me this, is rather honest and sweet, if a bit of a flirt, and has told me a few times that I look ‘cute’, as have some girl friends of mine. 

    As soon as I was told that, I started thinking about it and I have been since a long while since, well, I’d like to do the whole love and family thing someday, especially the former, and not have the cat-lady future I am fearing. I’ve only dated so many guys as I can count on one hand without using all my fingers, so clearly I’ve done something right. I’ve also had a couple guys ask me out who I…well I didn’t say no, I jsut never answered because I’m bad with saying no to people; but I didn’t see the attraction with them and didn’t want to waste my time which could be spent on other things. Maybe I’m picky and that’s my problem? Don’t know. 

    All I do know is that, if I happen to like a guy, I might dress up a little more, put some more effort into me morning routine, and my strangely naturally semi-flirty personality really comes out, but when I purposely try to flirt it’s a train-wreck to be perfectly honest. Though that’s besides the point. The point is, I do try, when I like someone…else…eh…don’t’ see the point in wasting time and energy. Perhaps that is what was meant when my friend had said I need to put myself out there, that I need to use more effort daily? That sounds a lot of work, though, which makes me almost decide to just deal with the cat-lady future.

    But, well, I hope. There’s a reason I feel attracted to Europe, maybe whoever is going to be stuck with me is over there someplace? Or maybe near my college? No clue.

    This reminds me of something else vaguely related. In a sociology class of mine, we had to go and write on a timeline where we hope to be at certain ages. I had finishing my master’s somewhere around 28-30, marriage maybe somewhere around 32 (assuming nothing happens before that or after, of course), and children probably not until I’m ‘mid-life’ aka 35. And everyone else had their children and marriage waaay earlier. Everyone else thought it was odd that someone would put children so far down the line when, really, I’m being realistic. My mom didn’t have me until she was 40 and my dad was 34, granted my dad was married twice before and already had a kid with his second wife before he met my mom, but still. I’m being realistic. Even if I meet someone and get married before my guessed age, I’m probably going to put off children until I have a steady job and am settled in my life; I don’t want to have to worry about money and such since, let’s be honest, to be able to support yourself and children, even one, you need money. Especially when college comes along. I simply don’t want to have any possible children I may or may not have to have to worry about what I’ve had to worry about growing up. 

    But what I’m more wondering on is why do people aim to do things so soon? Now, for the women, I guess it makes a hint more sense since that’s the ‘norm’, for women to have children earlier. Granted with women working now, it is slowly changing so that the norm is more what my goal is; family later in life. Even with the change, I was still the odd man out and it didn’t stop people form questioning the why. They all seemed to think that children and a significant other would be easily done early in life, that going to school while having that wouldn’t be too difficult, or that simply working and doing that is easy. It’s really not. Most couples that are married young, have children young, end up divorcing because of all the stress and so many other factors. Yes, some couples make it and that is wonderful, but the chances aren’t exactly on the couple’s side. I know, I’m being pessimistic, but from what I know, that’s how it tends to work. Now, a 20-something person and someone closer to, or in, their 30’s is not what I’m talking about, since that could go either way depending on various things; I’m focusing on people who could basically be high school sweethearts, since they’re both at the same point in their life and who aren’t mentally older. 

    Perhaps my pessimistic attitude is what keeps me giving off the ‘I’m putting myself out here’ vibe I apparently lack, or because the whole ‘settling down’ thing is no where in my short-term goals. If it happens in the short term, it does, if not, it doesn’t. I still won’t ever understand people’s want to do these things right away instead of waiting, considering how lifespans are longer than they were a hundred years ago, but if it’s what works for them, who am I to judge? But maybe one day I’ll understand exactly what putting yourself out there means and why people wish for things to be so soon. Maybe one day.