A Jones by Any Other (Married) Name
I recently got engaged, and despite the fact that my byline is short and simple, figuring out what to do about my last name will be tricky. While I write under the name Abigail Jones, my full name is Abigail Goldsmith Drachman-Jones. That’s eight syllables, 29 letters, four words and one punctuation mark. It’s a lot of baggage to carry around: My name never fits on forms, makes booking dinner reservations or picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy difficult, looks like one gigantic typo on my driver’s license (“DRACHMANJONES”) — and don’t even get me started on the mispronunciations (BraCH-Man Johns). But it’s been my baggage and my name for 32 years.
And so when I started to think about whether or not I would change my name after getting married, suddenly I became paralyzed.
A wedding requires countless decisions — about colors, flowers, dresses, hair, makeup, food, registries, photographers, guests, invitations, seating assignments — but for many women, myself included, the hardest, most meaningful choice is about whether to change our last names. My fiancé is supportive of whatever I decide. But let’s be honest: He has it easy. Changing names after marriage is a traditionally gendered issue; women are the ones who typically make the big shift, not men. And so there are no great identity crises in his future, just the looming possibility that he might get to share his last name with his future wife — plus the fact that he will pass on his last name to his future children. For me, the coast is not so clear.