My name change went through just about a month ago and I’m still alerting people to the changes. One thing I had left off, because I knew that it would be infuriatingly difficult, was my new insurance. I had signed up for the insurance, just days before the name change had gone through. But because of deadlines, I couldn’t have waited until I got it. So the insurance is under my old name.
I called and talked to multiple people about my name change and my policy, only to find out that my policy was canceled without anyone alerting me and apparently after it was canceled, they sent me the corresponding insurance cards, which is what I was calling in reference too. I also had to call Medicare to alert them that both my name had been changed and try to figure out why the hell I had gotten signed up for Medicare, as I don’t remember doing it and I didn’t think that I was eligible for it anyway. While both the insurance and Medicare ended up making more confused than before, I kept running into the same assumption about my name change.
Everyone, every single person that I talked to, assumed that I had changed my last name due to a marriage. No one asked me what my new name was, they all asked me what my new last name was. They asked me when I had gotten married, not when the change had been approved by a judge.
I find that this is not even rare. Whenever I tell someone that I changed my name or mention that I have a new driver’s license or debit card, and that person is not on my Facebook and aware that it was my first name that I changed, not my last, they automatically assume that I got married and changed my name. Once, when I was at Tarpley’s, a woman and her two daughters were admiring my hand-engraved necklace from the James Craig Jeweler’s Silversmiths. I proudly told them that it was my new monogram (SVL) that was engraved on the silver oval. The mother immediately congratulated me on my wedding. I told her that I had just legally changed my name and she seemed very disappointed.
Although it’s fair to say that a good reason for a name change is getting married and the new wife wanting her last name to match her husband’s, we need to stop assuming that the ONLY reason a woman would change her name is marriage and that if she does change her name, then she had to get married. People in general have lots of good reasons for wanting to change their names, first, last, and middle. Let’s all stop acting like marriage is the only one.
I write this because I’m fucking tired of everyone’s assumptions at why my name changed, but also because it’s awkward for the other person as well. When someone asks me if I got married, I regularly tell them no, no one wants to marry me. Because really, every time someone assumes that I’m someone’s wife, just reminds me of my singleness and if I’m going to feel badly for your knee-jerk assumption, then you’re going to feel bad for making me feel this way.
So the next time someone, anyone, tells you that they changed their name, don’t make any assumptions about what part of their name they changed or why they changed it. Because you probably don’t know. And really, it’s just rude to act like women only have one reason to change their names and that is getting a ring on their finger. Women can have identities outside of marriage and, get this, a lot of them do.