First name: Crazy. Last name: BEEEEEEP.

It’s tricky. But get it wrong and I’ll make a joke: as long as you don’t call me First Name: Crazy, Last Name: Beeep, you can call me whatever you want.

My name is Katie Ryan-Anderson. Not Katie Anderson. Or Katie (middle name) Ryan (last name) Anderson or any of the other concoctions my kerfuffle of a last name has conjured up.

What’s in a name? Well a hyphen is in mine and I like it that way. So suck HYPHEN it.

Names are on my brain today after reading this column in the SheSays section of Monday’s Forum.

Writes Mary Jo Hotzler, Deputy Editor/SheSays Editor:

The dilemma of whether or not to take your husband’s last name is an interesting and difficult one for many women. In truth, it’s sort of odd that we put so much weight into a last name when our identities are so much more than that.

According to the Huffington Post:

In March, the wedding website surveyed nearly 19,000 women who got married last year. Of those women, 86 percent took their husband’s name. The practice of women keeping their last names, first introduced in the U.S. by suffragette Lucy Stone in the 1850s, adopted by members of the Lucy Stone League in the 1920s and popularized during the Women’s Rights Movement of the early 1970s, peaked in the 1990s at 23 percent. By the 2000s, only 18 percent of women were keeping their names, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Social Behavior and Personality. Now, according to TheKnot, it’s at just 8 percent.

The reasons for name changes restyle themselves as often as Mother Nature restyles her weather forecast. And I think my buddy, Kyle, (who is a girl: that’s a whole ‘nother blog post) summed it up best:

…whether it be for personal or professional reasons one changes her name, i think the bazillions of sub-categories that go into both of those general reasons are pretty hard to touch upon and you’ll have about eleventy billion different reasons– and all of them legit.

Indeed, grateful we should be for the opportunity to decide for ourselves the label we most like. Regardless of your opinion, we all, men and women alike, can keep our birth names or toss our tags faster than you can say Chad Ochocinco. And you don’t even have to be married to do it.

The reasons for my decision don’t matter as much as what each individual thinks, feels and what’s right for that family. Because every woman and man will have a different reason. And at the risk of sounding after-school specially, different reasons are A’OK.

So, what do you think?

On Facebook, I asked. And Oh My Moniker, you had something to say: Out of the 14 women who commented, one said she kept her last name, three said they might and one said she changed her middle name to her maiden name.

* Cassie: Yes. I felt it was appropriate to do so. (plus I like the name!)

* Amanda: Yes – I thought a lot before doing it though. Career wise it would have been much easier keeping my own, but I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of two names and I wasn’t willing to NOT take his on a personal level. It was important to him and I wanted our family to all have the same last name. 3 years and a kid later I’m glad I did take his.

* Katie: I kept my name. If I had married younger I might have switched, but I was Katie ____ for thirty-some years before I got married. Also, my husband’s last name is a tougher one to pronounce and spell. But the ease of having “____” as a last name is balanced out by the hassle of having different last names.

* The following statistic is an educated guesstimate, but each week I record the marriage licenses: you know, who’s getting married to whom, where, when, etc. On the form, the bride and groom indicate what their new names will be. In my best guess, women who register for marriage licenses in Stutsman County take a non-traditional last name in a ratio of about 1:12 to 1:15.

Here’s what some fellow mommy bloggers have to say:

So while I won’t tell you my personal reasons for changing my name (there’s like elevnty billion of them anyway) whether you’re marrying your fairytale prince/princess or just strumming up publicity for the National Football League, know this: your last name may be crazy long or impossible to pronounce, but as long as your true to it and to yourself, the worst anyone can call you is BEEEEP.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at

5 thoughts on “First name: Crazy. Last name: BEEEEEEP.

  1. I changed because I had my fathers last name. My father was an absentee as I grew up so I was more than happy to get rid of it!!!

  2. I hyphenated my last name because I didn’t want to lose my own family identity if I went only by my husband’s last name. I don’t feel that a woman’s identity should be tied up with who she is married to. I’ve felt sorry for women of the older generations in years past who were usually identified only by their husbands’ names and not their own, such Mrs. John Smith, instead of Mary Smith. I don’t even care for titles such as Mrs., Miss, or Ms. for myself.

    • I cannot stand it when I receive “junk” mail with my “name” as Mrs. . Mrs. is a shortened Mistress. “Mistress of” John Smith – which I read as “property”. My husband still doesn’t understand why I get so mad when things are registered in HIS name. It took the phone company three years to get it right in the local phone book. I did take his last name just because my last name was relatively long and I didn’t want to have to spell it all out with a hyphen and his last name too.

      We were 36 when we got married, first time for each of us – and boy did I ever have an identity crisis for awhile. I also felt like I was forging someone’s signature for awhile. :) After six years, it’s much better… but I still am irked when I see “Mrs. John Smith” on an envelope. I also don’t like Mrs. Mary Smith either. (Which is actually incorrect anyhow, because that is essentially saying I am a “mistress of” myself.) :)

  3. omg. ladies, get a fucking grip. Talk about turning the bitch and stupid knob all they way to 10

  4. LOL i should note a correction before some walking tampon tries to make her ovaries swing a lil lower. (they* = the) in the previous post!
    Now, get back to work!

Comments are closed.