"Does Your Wife Wear A Helmet?"
Thanks for Witboning, Mrs. de Groom, and keep me posted.
I am about to become a remarried woman heading into my late middle-aged years. When I tell my friends and colleagues that they’ll need to update their address books and email files with my new last name after my wedding, I am frequently asked (and rather aggressively, too), "Why will you change your name?! You don’t have to do that, you know!" It’s really beginning to bother me. I have a hard time explaining it, and I’m tired of trying. Can you help me with a response? --- NOM DE GROOM IN GRAFTON
DEAR NOM: History is full of research on this subject, and your problem prompted me to look at some of it, discovering what is and has been lawful & traditional through the centuries and around the world.
Well, I’m not going to get into any of that. You can Google “maiden name” and get the same 29,100,000 results that I did. You’re clearly here looking for some quick & practical retorts for your cronies, and you’re in luck, because I too am “heading into my late middle-aged years” and have recently remarried.
Before we wed, I non-aggressively asked Diane Lillian Church if she was planning to change her name. I told her I was okay with whatever she decided. She said that she wanted to be Mrs. Sherman. When I asked her why (again, without a hint of aggression), she said “because I want to be.”
Now, I didn’t get this far in life without knowing when to stop priming the pump, so I let it be right there. But, I sense that this is the same response you’ve been giving your friends and colleagues, and it’s leaving you peeved and them unsatisfied.
I’d be remiss in my agony uncle duty if I didn’t let you know that you do have other options besides a complete birth name surrender and a new designation. You could use your maiden name as your new middle name. Or, in nine states, your husband could change his last name to yours. Or (my favorite) you could legally “blend” your names.
If Diane and I had wanted, we could now be the Churchmans or the Shmurches, or we could’ve even anagrammed Church/Sherman and re-dubbed ourselves: Mr. & Mrs. Hunchcharmers. We actually did discuss doing the latter, as a way to create exactly the kind of thing that you’re trying to avoid. A little public and private spectacle on occasion is good for the soul:
“Hunchcharmers? Party of two?”
Now, what to say to anyone who demands to know why you’re electing to drop your surname? How should you respond when they tell you that you don’t have to do that? Hmmm ….
When I’m out on the Harley pulled over somewhere, and someone inevitably makes it their business to know why I’m not wearing a helmet, I stare at them with as much mock shock as I can muster, and say, “You mean … they make HELMETS??”
Try a variation of this with your contacts.
* * * * *Copyright 2015 by B. Elwin Sherman. All rights reserved. Questions for his agony uncle “WITBONES - Ask A Humorist!" column may be submitted to: WITBONES, c/o B. Elwin Sherman, P.O. Box 300, Bethlehem, NH, 03574. Or, you may e-mail Elwin via this Witbones.com blog.