What’s in a name?

A woman close to me is getting married soon.
And it occurred to me, she’ll have another big decision to make … Will she adopt her husband’s surname, after the big event?

When I married back in the dark ages (1998), I decided to keep my name. Taking my husband’s name never occured to me as a sensible option. What a silly idea!

After all, for the past 20-something years, people knew me as Michelle Prak. To the girls I’d been to school with: Michelle Prak. To the teachers who’d proudly watched my progress: Michelle Prak. My university lecturers, my employers: Michelle Prak. And also: I had been published under the name “Michelle Prak” countless times.

Why would I want to disconnect myself from that, and start all over again?

My husband David was fine with the decision. He always understood. But I was stunned to see my friends – same era as me – opt to take their husband’s surnames when they married. I couldn’t see the sense (and couldn’t abide the paperwork).

The reason often cited? It was “for the children”. They wanted to have the same surname. But having been raised in a step-family, with at least three different surnames in the house, I knew in the end that didn’t matter. Anyone important to you, soon sorts out the different names in your household.
I also had another compelling reason: there aren’t many Praks in the world. At least, not in my Dutch branch of the family. I had to keep the name going, if only for my lifetime …
It’s taken stamina. The name ‘Prak’ isn’t easy. I’ve been called ‘Pratt’, ‘Prik’ and even ‘Duck’. [Duck? What the?]
But it’s a nice and easy signature ….

What are your thoughts?

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