Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Life with a hyphenated name

My husband and I have been married for almost 11 years now. From the beginning of our relationship, before marriage was the option, I had always wanted to keep my name. After the proposal and the wedding day was nearing, I had an internal debate on what to do. I knew the traditional route was not for me because my name is my IDENTITY after all. It was either keep my name all together or hyphenate. So months of contemplating on what I could live with for the rest of my life, I chose the hyphenated option. If I had only known how uneduated some people were when it comes to hyphenated names, I might have chosen to keep my name period.

First of all, in the technical age that we have, in some programs that people use for driver's licenses or making arrangements with a travel agent, the hyphen is a foreign symbol. So instead of "Breeman-Rhodes on my drivers license it is "Breeman Rhodes" Using the hyphen in some programs just makes things go batty. When I was trying to get my name established with my job's network, my boss was hestitant to put my hypenated name on it because apparently a hyphenated name screwed up something once before. For the longest time, I was "Amy Rhodes" in the network, making me cringe everytime I saw it. Finally, with the help of the IT guy, I got straight; it took my full name and did not crash the computer!

Another thing about hyphenated names people don't understand is the filing part..do you file it under B or R..anyone?...you file it under the BBBBBBBBBBB!!!!!!. Okay, that maybe a little too dramatic, but you file it under the first of the two names because you treat it as one word. I found this website with someone else having the same issue with a hyphenated name http://www.rainwaterreptileranch.org/scr/ I can't tell you how many times I have had to educate pharmasists and doctors offices because they did not treat it as one word. Though things are getting better now and I don't have to lead the way all the time.

Another issue is your initials. I just don't think everyone realizes that when you hyphenate your name, you keep your initals too because you keep your middle name. My true initals are ACB..my office still has me as ABR..YIKES!

One thing about hyphenated name, though my husband's last name is part of the package, I still view his last name as HIS, not mine. MY last name is different. I would think after 11 years of marriage, that the feeling would go away, but it does not. I am proud to have my name though some people might be confused by it. I have had some people compliment saying "That's a good name." I am glad people respect it :) My daughters share their father's name, which is fine with me. When it comes a time in their lives keep their names or give it away, it will be their decision. Maybe it will be easier for them than me in going against tradition.

3 comments:

Wayne said...

Tradition - shmadition! I'm proud of you for taking a stand. I know how much you love things Spanish - language, trips to central America, etc. - so for me it was no surprise when you took a Spanish naming tradition and made it your own.

Two surnames are traditional in Latin-American countries, right? As I understand it, a woman would add her husband's surname to her father's (and her own) surname using "de" between the two. You simply converted the "de" to a "-"...

This is a fine Hispanic custom and not at all disturbing (though I will admit it took me a few days to adjust!). It may take a while for computers and those who operate them to make the adjustment!

Hmmm... I just remembered that in the Spanish-speaking world males also carried their mother's names as part of their own. I thought about my name (and your husband's name) and how confusing that would would have been in this country years ago. But now with the strong Hispanic community becoming visible, it may not take too long for people to adjust...especially in the genealogical community!

I'm proud of you for taking a stand and for honoring your own heritage.

Anonymous said...

This makes complete sense to me and is becoming more common among educated women now. Thanks!!!

Kansas Bob said...

Some friends (both are pastors) of ours did something really unconventional when they married - they combined their names and each took the name ... fortunately they each had relatively (each 5 characters long) short last names :)