Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's in a Name?

Apparently, a lot. Of hard work, that is.

Especially if you're female and you got married and you have a ton of licenses, bank documents and the like that are in your maiden name.

What's worse, is that no one actually tells you and prepares you for this stress. Either by conspiracy of revenge or simple forgetfulness, my mother, my husband's mother, everyone's mother or wife, while always ready to spout wedding and marriage advice in the early days of my wedding preparations, neglected to tell me how difficult it would be to change my maiden name to my married name. So now, two years and some odd months later, I'm still dealing with the stress of changing expired licences and insurance documents etc.

It has pushed me to even keep my maiden name with a dash to help avoid even more paper work. Its not that I'm trying to assert my feminist side, and sadly, its not even that I'm trying to sort of rebel against the age old (and admittedly chauvinistic) tradition of losing one's maiden name for a husband's last name. I'm a feminist, but I'm not that much of a feminist that I'd be willing to go through the inconvenience of always having to type (and more annoyingly, print) four more letters and a dash to my last name (as if doing so will change how people would treat you, gender wise, which, ya know, is what truly matters to me).

But still, the paperwork haunts me. Don't they understand I got married? Why can't they just accept my photocopy of a wedding certificate (authenticated by the NSO, no less)? Why do I have to file millions of paperwork? Why do I have to file the millions of paperwork in their hard to reach head quarters and not in their more convenient satellite offices? Why can't bank systems simply allow me to put a dash in my maiden name and my last name (I can't even begin to tell you how stupid some of their reasons for not allowing me to do so, beginning with their system doesn't accept dashes in the last name)? Do all recently married women go through this or did I miss some special seminar that tells you the most efficient way to survive the name changing process?

Ugh. Times like these, I wish I just didn't have to go through my birthday.

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