Blatch. Blatchy. Blatchface. I have been called all those things in the past and doubt it will stop when I change my name early next year.
I really like my surname. It's done me very well these past 30 years. Starting with 'B' meant I was always near the top of roll-call at school and -- extra bonus -- generally assigned a pretty good locker pozzie. (Drawback -- you had to be on time to class. No dashing in at the last minute like the Williamses and Whites. Rebels, all of them.)
It's also fairly limited in terms of horrible nicknames. I mean, sure, you could probably roll out Bitchford if you were desperate, but I think that's pushing it even for high-school standards. Imagine how the Hookers, Dicks and Woodcocks fared. Or, if I'd been christened with my mum's maiden name Damnjanovic. Pronounced "Damn - Yan - Oh - Vitch." Yeah, try saying that ten times fast.
All in all, it's been a really solid, enjoyable experience being a Blatchford. I'd give it a solid nine of ten (one point deducted for everyone thinking it's Blackford or Blanchford, or forgetting the 't' in the middle).
But in spite all of this, I have decided to jump the surname ship. I'm getting married next month and it's Blatchford out, Harry in. Yep, Harry. Like the prince.
Since becoming engaged, I've been asked a lot of things. 'Will you keep your name?' is one of the most common questions. Reactions to my decision to become Harrified have included "oh, that's so nice, it must mean so much to him," to "won't you miss your own name?" to "well, good on you. But I could never change my name just to please a man."
Anyone who has ever planned a wedding will know you have to develop a thick skin pretty early on to shoulder the onslaught of
unasked-for helpful opinions that seriously everyone you have ever met will offer the second they see that ring on your finger.
So, people having a strong reaction to something as fundamental as a surname doesn't faze me, though I am intrigued by the assumption that my decision is solely to please my fiancé. Because it's not.
Absolutely, he is stoked I am taking his surname. He is pleased because he loves me and he's proud I would love him back so much I would become a member of his family by law and by name. He likes the idea of us being "The Harrys". And frankly, so do I. Call me old-fashioned but there's something nice about a family unit that share the same surname.
In saying that, it was something that was discussed and not assumed. My fiancé wanted to know my thoughts -- did I want to stay a Blatchford? Would I prefer to hyphenate? (NOTICE TO MEN AROUND THE WORLD -- it's nice to ask.) My reply was, "nope -- I'm throwing my hat into the ring one hundred percent here." And he was pleased as punch.
Given I'm one of two girls and my father has passed away (and assuming my sister one day is married and also changes her name) it means our line of the Blatchfords will stop with Mum. Which, in a way, is a bit sad, and I toyed with the notion of adding Blatchford as an additional middle name (though eventually decided Emily Jane Blatchford Harry was a bit of a mouthful. Besides, I'd never fit it all in on travel forms. Priorities, people.)
But the notion of throwing your whole self into a marriage, surname included, appeals to me. I like being able to give my fiancé something as important as this. I like the idea of being Team Harry against the world.
So, with absolutely no judgment on those who keep their maiden names -- in fact, props to you -- it's not something I have chosen to do. But it's not something I've been pressured into, either.
So instead of saying things like "I could never do that for a man", maybe think again about what this woman wanted. And that was, to become Mrs. Harry.
But please, feel free to call me Blatch.