When my friends started to marry, nearly twenty years ago, the discussion of name changing came up frequently. In fact, as the wedding of two very close friends approached, both of whom have nice, easy to pronounce, one sometimes-mistaken-for-royalty names, we had the discussion frequently. Was she taking his name? Hyphenate? Keep hers? He clearly wasn’t changing (not to say that some men don’t, but this man was not.)
I decided they should change their name to something different entirely. Caesar. Like the salad. Amused as they were, they did not share my enthusiasm for the new name. Yet I persisted. For years after the fact, I would routinely make dinner reservations under their new name. We’d all arrive at the restaurant and I would announce that we were the “Caesar, party of four.”
Sadly, it didn’t stick and not one of my friends decided to name themselves after salads. (Can you imagine???)
The other night, I went to my book club to discuss Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, By Cheryl Strayed. Now, I will tell you that when I brought the book home from the library and left on the ottoman, FKGuy picked up the book, sneered and said “What is this? This can’t be a real person’s name.” I ignored him and went on to read what I was sure to be another crappy, over thought, self-indulgent book club book. Actually I liked the book, and I would recommend it. That aside, there is a part where the author discusses her name change. She was divorced and did not want to go back to her family name and so she picked a word out of the dictionary that suited her.
At first I thought it was ridiculous. Then I started thinking about my own name change. When I got married, I just couldn’t decide if Glazer was a trade up from Goldberg and kept them both. Now I have an annoyingly long last name that constantly leaves people saying “huh?” or “which one do you use?” or “can’t you just pick one?” No, I can’t just pick one so it is easier for you to spell. Sorry.
But I was thinking… what if I just picked a word at random to describe me and used that as my last name, a la Cheryl Strayed? What would it be? I’ll tell you. Awesome. It would be Awesome. It is descriptive, understandable and easy to spell. And there is no doubt about my greatness. (There is also no doubt about my ego). So, going forward you can call me by my regular, on-my-drivers-license name, or you can refer to me as Stephanie Awesome. Either way, I really don’t mind.
(P.S. I shared this post with FKGuy before it was published and we had the following exchange…
FKGuy: You could have gotten rid of both names and just gone by Oh Great One.
Me: But then people (in writing) would assume I am a man and that would be annoying… Dear Mr. One... plus, in restaurants they would always have to say things like “One, party of four” and that would be confusing.)