4 In Etiquete/ Inspiration

Banana Fanna Fo Fanna… The Post Marriage Name Game

illustration ©Kelly Maron Horvath

So here it goes. I never particularly liked my last name just because people never pronounced it correctly. MARON.  Pronounced “M-Air-Un”.  Not May-Ron, Mah-Rone, Mor-ann, and certainly not More-on.  Yes, hearing over the loudspeaker in high school, “Will Kelly Moron please come to the office”, is not the best way to feel more comfortable during early awkward teen years.

Jokes aside, I grew to like my name simply because it was all I had.  It comes from St. Maron of France who traveled into Lebanon where my relatives originally spelled it Maroun.  And now the name Maron (usually spelled Marin or Maren) has been popping up all over the place as a perfectly acceptable female first name.  Marin in French means Sailor, in English means Sea, in German means Seaman.  I think that sounds like a fine name.

As a teen, I always wanted to change it. But by the time I got married when I was 31, I had established myself in my profession with that name. Plus I didn’t really think I liked my husband’s name any better. (HORVATH… pronounced Hore-Vath)  It had its own set of issues. ;)  I don’t know this new name.  What does it mean?  It is Slovakian and that is all I know.  I wasn’t even sure where Slovakia was on a map. Plus, I was teaching high school at the time and for some reason teen boys can’t handle any name that has anything that sounds like “whore” in it.  It is just too much for them to handle.  That settled it.  I couldn’t be a Horvath.  We had even talked about combining our names but our the best option we could come up with was HORVATRON.  It sounds like a slutty robot.

photo by Edyta Szyszlo Photography

So when we wed, I decided to keep my name and didn’t think twice. Then 3 years later we had a son. We gave him 4 names (JACKSON CALDER MARON HORVATH) which included my last name as sort of a second middle name. But as the years went on and he started going to daycare, then preschool (where they taught them all about family names) it was really weird to have a different name than my son. Not weird in any sentimental way but just logistically weird. Quite frankly it became a hassle. So for our 6th anniversary I surprised my husband by going through all the steps to legally tack his name onto the end of mine. So according to the Social Security Office and the DMV, I am now officially KELLY BLAIR MARON HORVATH.  Whew!  (Did you know that having two last names, hyphenated or not, is referred to as a “double-barrelled name”?)

For most that would be the end of the story but now I feel worse. I feel like I have lost all my identity. I have a hard time embracing his name as I had my maiden name for 37 years. I didn’t know how to sign anything or refer to myself. In writing I still just put my old and last name down (not hyphenated) but it is long and sounds weird. For the last year I have been in some sort of name limbo.  If someone were to ask me my name, I still want to say Kelly Maron though I guess that is no longer my name.  I gave it up.  I just don’t feel like a Kelly Horvath.  Plus, as anyone who has any sort of career that has an online presence, googling yourself can take quite a different turn when you change your name.  From the beginnings of the world wide web (back when people had web pages on Angelfire and Tripod and belonged to GeoCities instead of Facebook) I had established a good online presence.  Googling myself produced a healthy repertoire of the last 15 or so years online.  I was THE Kelly Maron.  Aside from an occasional other weird gal from Florida or Arizona that would pop up on page 4, I was it.  Now Kelly Horvath has all sorts of other odd google entries.  I mean, what does one do with that?  What if my new name double is some totally sketchy person?  Will someone mistake them for me? (And don’t pretend like you have never Googled yourself. Everyone is doing it!)

So if you are trying to decide whether you should change your name, I can only suggest that you decide sooner than later.  I think had I changed my name right away, while visions of centerpieces and first dances still lingered in my head, then perhaps it wound’t have been such a difficult transition.  Look as far into the future as you can before you get married and try to think of all the different scenarios.  If you hyphenate, will your kids as well?  If you keep your name will your kids take his name or will they have their own hyphenated mix like the Jolie-Pitts?  Now what if your name is already hyphenated (because your parents were progressive for their time)?  Do you double hyphenate so instead of Mr. Wilson & Ms. Parker-Simpson, will you then become Mrs.Parker-Simpson-Wilson? And so if you hyphenate and your kids names are hyphenated.. what happens then when they get married?  Heaven forbid they marry someone who also has a hyphenated name.  If you aren’t careful, you may end up with a daughter named Abigail Parker-Simpson-Wilson-Carter-Vaughn. Well it may be a mouthful but at least she wont have some sketchy Google double floating around. ;)

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  • Reply
    January 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I’m a traditional, take your husband’s name, kind of gal. But I can relate to the identity crisis/adaptation as well – it takes awhile!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    yeah… but what if the guys name was REALLY bad? I know one gal who didn’t want to be Mrs. Fuchs (sounds just like the F-word). Thankfully her husband was understanding as he had grown up with all the bad comments. I think growing up with one name sometimes is easier than trading it in later in life. Totally depends on so many factors too… age when you get married, family traditions, sound of your new name etc.

  • Reply
    Nicole radja
    January 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I am so with you on this. Career lady, married, young kid, did not change my name. I think about changing it once in a while but like you mention, I just do not think I would feel right by another name. I like my last name and the people it comes from, but do want the same name as my boy and man. So I decide not to decide and just go on.

  • Reply
    January 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    well there is a great photographer husband wife duo that chose to combine their names into one last name that they share. Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison. http://www.parkeharrison.com/ but of course they started with good solid names. and the husband was willing to change his. i would be up for this option if more men were willing to combine.

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