Friday, 4 August 2006

"Let's Put It All Together" - Stylistics, 1974

(Click on the photo above for a full-sized image.)

John and I have an issue that affects a lot of newly-married couples...especially those who, like us (sadly), aren't exactly kids anymore.

What am I going to do about my last name?

I've been "Janet L" for a long time, and that's how I'm known in the oil industry and in my new role now as a corporate trainer. It would be nice to be "Janet N", since I've married John. But changing so many documents -- both in the US and the UK -- would be a big hassle, and I don't want to complicate things with business colleagues and former students.

An additional problem is that my UK Work Permit is in the name of "Janet L", and I don't want to confuse UK Immigration officials any more than they can be confused already. And my work permit runs through the end of 2007.

So, what do we do?

So far, I'm legally still "Janet L" but am delighted to be known as "Mrs. N". Once I have been granted my "Indefinite Leave to Remain" in the UK, as "Janet L", then I could change my name and be known as "Janet L N". That's how many of my American female friends have handled the issue, especially those in the business world.

Another option is that John and I could hyphenate our surnames...or make them "double-barreled", to use the UK slang term. We would then become "Janet & John L-N". But that kind of surname implies a certain amount of pretentiousness over here, and John doesn't like that idea. I'm not sold on it either.

I've found our solution -- "meshing"! You can read all about it in an article called "What A Mesh" from the BBC's website. It's all about a new trend for newly-married couples to fuse their surnames! Don't forget to read the comments at the end of the article, too. A few of them are priceless!

Does anybody reading this know a married couple who have actually done this?



PS After writing the above, I was just thinking that there's a great example of meshed or fused words staring me in the face here -- the blog!

Listening to: Paul Simon, "Surprise"


At 04 August, 2006 10:49 , Blogger The very nice man said...

Hi, Janet,
First of all many thanks for all your lovely notices on my blog.
Much appreciated!

When I read this post I initially thought: 'What's in a name?'
As long as John (and you) are not at odds about it you could call yourself Rumpelstielsken I guess.
But then I thought . . it would probably be nice for John and you to carry the same name as a sign to the world at large that you are an item (I guess it's for better or worse?!?) and belong to each other.
I cannot see why the change of name by marriage should cause too much confusion. Surely the UK Immigration is used to this sort of thing by now and even though the change of documents in the UK and US would take some time, it would only potentially become a bit of a tricky thing if you keep zooming off to the States in the next 6 months.

Only if John's surname is 'Newcombe' and your surname is 'Lash'
Then you can mesh to 'Newsflash!'

Seriously though, my vote is on changing you name to his name,
do all the document changes once,
Tell all your family and friends
and as far as your oil industry people are concerned . . would they really forget someone with such a great and friendly personality just because of name-change??
Of course not!
Think of Jaqueline Kennedy who became Onasis!

Well, Janet, this is only my opinion and I am sure this will be the first of many!!

Let us know what you decided (if you don't mind us being nosey).

At 04 August, 2006 13:55 , Anonymous bronx boy said...

My "vote" is with Erik. As a twelve year old I corrected the spelling of our surname on all of our family's birth records (and other documents). If it is what you want then there is never too much trouble to accomplish your goal. Whether it is Janet L. , Janet N. or Janet whatever, you will always be you to your friends. "A rose by anyother name etc. etc"

At 04 August, 2006 15:10 , Blogger Heather said...

I went the first 11 years of marriage with a double-barrelled name, and then got tired of it never fitting on forms and went back to my much shorter original name. I'd vote for keeping your own name. It's easier.

At 04 August, 2006 16:27 , Blogger gnightgirl said...

I was paralyzed with indecision at my 2nd marriage: Keep my son's name (and ex-husbands)? I ended up taking the new hubby's name, and then being annoyed at losing my identity. I got a job designing a book cover, and my name was printed on the back...a name no one knew, or associated with any of my other artwork. It grated on me, so I went back to court and hyphenated my name, merging my maiden name with his.

Now I use only my maiden name. I sometimes ache for not sharing a surname with my son, but it would just be too weird to take his (and his fathers and his wife's) name back. I think I'll stay where I am.

I know this was not helpful one bit. :-D

At 04 August, 2006 20:46 , Blogger Milky Bar Kid said...

I don't know anyone who has "Meshed". I am a traditionalist so I would vote for a change of your surname to John's surname. It’s surly not too big a step as millions of woman have done it before you, Janet. My daughter is now called Mrs Spinelli at her school in place of Miss Cameron and all the little girls still know its the same person.

At 05 August, 2006 00:22 , Blogger Vikki L. Jeanne Cleveland said...

Personally, I am a traditionalist and see no problem with your taking John's last name with *L* becoming something of a middle name for you for professional reasons. However, situations today often necessitate creative responses, no matter what the *orientation* of the couple. :) Just recently a dear man who used to be my priest was married to another former priest in Vancouver. Their dilemma was also which last name to use. Ultimately they decided to blend their names; consequently, Garner + O'Guinn became Garinn. My beloved Father Jon is now Jon Garinn, a writer for the Dallas Morning News, and at the Web site that he and Cliff maintain, he has posted their rationale behind their blended name:'s In A Name.htm.

At 05 August, 2006 22:45 , Blogger Janet said...

Thanks for everybody's thoughts and comments! I'll let you know what I eventualy decide to do.

I thought the "meshing" article would catch my readers' attention...interesting that it turned out my own dilemma is what you were the most interested in!



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