My name is Roger Carter, and you might forget it once you finished reading the article, but that is OK. You see, before I got married, you would hardly be able to pronounce my name, let alone remember it. Two years ago, my name was still Rodger Quvenzhané, but thankfully my wife saw past my name and married me anyway.
When we decided to get married, we decided to take up her last name. She was quite willing to take on my name, but there would have been too many complications. She started her business as Carter, and we didn’t want to jeopardize it anyway. I didn’t want to live with a surname that no one could pronounce anymore. However, after weighing up the pros and cons, it was an easy decision in the end. I was to become a Carter.
Since changing my name, however, there have been a couple of things that I learned. People are funny when it comes to tradition. A lot of my friends didn’t know how to respond. We kept the name change a secret until we read our vows at the wedding. When it came to the part where we had to say our I dos, there was a slight murmur in the crowd, but it was something that we anticipated.
After the ceremony, my best man came up to me and asked if the pastor made a mistake, but I assured him that it wasn’t. There was a blank expression on his face for a while, but then he realized that the pastor would probably not even have been able to pronounce my name, to begin with.
During the reception, we were swamped with questions as to why we decided that I take on my wife’s name. Many of our friends suggested a mixed surname, but that would not have worked either. Besides, why do you want to give up the history of two names when you can build on the history of your family.
Anyway, some of them couldn’t wrap their minds around it and said that it was a last resort. However, I know for a fact that none of them had to live with the jokes or countless times where you had to spell out your name to someone on the other side of a line.
One of the hardest lessons that I had to learn was how difficult it is to change your surname. To all the ladies out there, I feel your pain. Not only do you have to go brave the DMV and Social Security, but you have to change every single subscription, contract or deal that you made before the change.
Don’t think that it’s a matter of filling in a form or two. You have to provide a certified marriage certificate with every change. I have come to the resolution that I will now only change something if I really have to.
I used to be a traditionalist and never gave the surname change much thought. I always had the idea in my head that my wife would take my name. That was only until push came to shove and I started to rethink my traditions. When I asked my wife what she thought of the idea, I was surprised to find out that she would be thrilled. Not because she didn’t like my surname or anything, but because she liked her surname more.
I finally realized that what we did was not in the least the norm. You don’t think how automated everyone’s thinking is around name changes. Name changing services don’t have standard forms for men who want to change names. Even their company names don’t acknowledge men who want to change their names. Everything is geared for the woman who is making the change. Nevertheless, if I knew what I know now, I still would have taken the plunge and changed my name.