What’s In A Name?

By Germanm

Nov 10, 2006 2:19pm

Correspondent Nancy Cordes blogs: I got married just over a month ago, and since then a lot of people have asked me why I decided to change my name. It’s pretty unusual for a woman on television to take her husband’s name professionally, and I’ve gone by Nancy Weiner on air for more than 10 years now. The answer’s simple. I just like my husband’s name. No offense to all the Weiners out there, but let’s face it: Cordes is prettier. While all the Weiner jokes (and I’ve heard then all) may have made me a stronger person growing up, it’s still nice to have a change. I’ve been a Weiner for 32 years; why not try something new? As my friends have gotten married, I’ve watched with fascination and more than a bit of irritation as they endured criticism no matter what choice they made about their surname. Take their husband’s name? “Oh, that’s so traditional!” Keep the old one? “But your children won’t feel connected to you!” Hyphenate? “That’s so confusing!” My friend Michelle, who chose to keep her maiden name — Divito — to honor her Italian heritage, says she’s been chastised more than once: “When you pick up your kids at preschool, how will the teachers know that you’re their mother?” Something tells me the teachers will figure it out. For women who get married once they’ve made a name for themselves in their line of work, it’s doubly complicated. My friend Liz, who introduced me to my husband, changed her name legally (for insurance reasons, and because it’s less complicated in the event of a medical emergency) but kept her maiden name professionally. “Everyone knows me as Price, and I’m still working in the same network of contacts, the same environment,” she points out. So, like several women I know, she goes by two different names – more challenging for her, but easier for the people around her. A Harvard economics professor recently examined 7000 wedding announcements and determined that the percentage of women who keep their own names has actually declined – from 23% in 1990 to 17% in 2000. I’m not sure why that is, especially since it hasn’t gotten any simpler to go through the seemingly endless process of changing your name on your social security card, license, passport, bank account, business cards, magazine subscriptions…you get the idea. Nothing kills a post-honeymoon high like standing in line at the DMV. Like choosing a child’s name, choosing a married name is a personal decision and should be treated that way. I’ve been lucky — hardly anyone has questioned my decision, mostly because I’ve been yakking about changing my name for such a long time. Now, if I can only get the male correspondents (Berman! Harris!) to stop calling me “Weenie,” I’ll be all set.

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