What’s My Name?

Oh na na. What’s my name?
Oh na na. What’s my name?

Having an identity crisis in Maui.
Unflattering camera angle by Mr. Knight. Thanks hubs!

Today I was driving to work and heard Rihanna’s song, What’s My Name?, and it got me thinking about the whole name change game newly married women must endure (if they choose to take their husband’s last name). On a side note, I totally believe all newly minted husbands should have to change their name too, so they have to go through the struggles at the DMV (located in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE in Gainesville) and the Social Security office. I still don’t think Mr. Knight quite understands my plight.


When Mr. Knight and I were married 8 months ago, I became a Knight, but I didn’t completely drop my maiden name, Gator. Can you follow my “Knight/Gator” code for our real last names?

I wasn’t always a Gator. I became a Gator on my 11th birthday. I will never forget that day (mostly because I was really sick). The local judge who ‘officially’ changed my name even had the same first name as me!

I was so excited to became a Gator that I used to practice writing my new name the whole year leading up to the name change. My 5th grade teacher was pretty cool with me signing my homework with my new last name. She’s awesome. Clearly.

For me, Gator is who I am. In college, my professors often called me by my last name. So, you can imagine I’ve been going through quite the identity crisis these past few months with the new last name of Knight.

I feel like I waited so long to become a Gator (and was so proud to finally be one), that I couldn’t just drop the name completely when I married Mr. Knight. Instead, I chose to drop my middle name and replace it with my maiden name. Doing this makes it easy for past employers, colleagues, and friends to still find me via Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and I still get to hold on to the Gator name that means so much to me.

That’s not to say that I don’t love being a Knight. I love that we have a family name and I can now order a wreath hanger with our last name on it (I know, lame… but I’ve always wanted one of those!), among many other reasons. I love it when Mr. Knight follows me around the house calling me Mrs. Knight. He’s too funny.

What I don’t love… completely? Learning how to write my new name. I often catch myself ending e-mails with my old last name, signing my maiden name when I sign receipts. Even introducing myself, it is hard to say Knight, since I’ve said Gator for so many years. Others have had difficulty adjusting to my new name.

So, even almost 9 months later after the name change, I’m still having some difficulty with the acceptance of my new name. I now prefer to be called by my full name (middle name and all), which confuses people like crazy when they introduce me to someone, and my super long e-mail address makes Mr. Knight crazy, too. But, I’m cool with it. I think 10 years down the road it will be weird to have never not been Mrs. Knight (double negative… yeah, I didn’t learn anything in English class).

If you decided to change your last name, did you have a bit of an identity crisis during the transition? Did you choose to keep a remnant of your maiden name? If you didn’t change your last name, did you still run into problems?

13 Comment

  1. Hannah says:

    The only problems we’ve had are the traditionalists/sexists who refuse to acknowledge that I didn’t change my name. Everyone else has been cool with it!

    I’m kind of a feminist about the whole “woman has to give up her last name thing,” but I would have done what you did and asked Pete to do the same if I wasn’t so attached to my middle name. I’m named Hannah Marie after my grandmother and she was named after her grandmother so there was no way I was giving that up. (I better get a granddaughter named Hannah Marie!!!) And 4 names? Well then I would have had to get a new passport, and I’m that lazy.

    We’ve talked about the name change since being married and we both agree that we made the best choice for us. I’m also so glad to see you kept your Gator name… once a gator, always a gator!

  2. Brandi says:

    I kept my last name, for too many reasons to list, but I’m still not satisfied. We got lots of holiday cards addressed to Mr. & Mrs. A instead of Mr. A & Mrs. P, and some people remembered something about me not taking his name, and renamed me ‘Mrs. P-A.’ The people we’re the closest to have figured it out though, so that’s what counts (and I very deliberately sign cards and letters from us as “The P & A Family.” I do wish we had a single family name, though; but I guess not enough for me to become an A. It sure would make a lot of things easier, and silly as it is – I want last name decorations too!

  3. Mrs Gator says:

    I know, my love for last name decorations is a bit out of control!!! Oh, and I forgot to mention, I think I’m pretty sure I’m the only “Mrs. Knight” in the family.

    And changing my name on EVERYTHING from bank accounts to passports is pretty annoying. Mr. Knight doesn’t understand and thinks I’m just lazy for not getting my name changed on everything. It’s a lot of work!

  4. Clare says:

    We’ve only been married 5 months and I’m not used to the new name either. I wonder when it will really sink in?

  5. Mrs Gator says:

    @Clare: I think after the 1 year mark it might sink in. I’ll let you know when I get there! Only a few more months left.

  6. Emily says:

    Hehe I understand this post completely. I waited so long out of laziness to change my name. I did it for Stephan’s birthday like 1 1/2 years after our wedding. I honestly was super overwhelmed by the process, didn’t really know where to start, and was lazy.

    And it was super important to him.

    I think it took about a year to get used to writing it.

    Do you ever wish you didn’t ask questions? ;)

  7. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s kind weird calling you Mrs. Knight too… But, it’s growing on me and it’s making more and more sense. It really is convenient when I go to the Post Office to pick something up for you and they’re not like, “This says ‘Gator’ and your ID says ‘Knight’.” They still give me the package, but, it was just annoying.

    Sometimes it’s nice to just be normal.

    Love you Mrs. Knight!

  8. Erin says:

    This is a great post! I STILL havn’t totally changed my name on everything- but most of it isnt my fault and Im starting to get super annoyed at CVS for still putting my maiden name on my prescriptions! I think its really important to change your name for your kids( when you have them) sake. I understand why you would WANT to hyphenate or keep your last name- but what last name will your kids have? his or yours? theres still a sexist battle to be had even then…

  9. Gator Dad says:

    I remember the day you became a Gator. The Judge did not like the paperwork we had and I was sure that the day was going to end with us having to return.

    But the Judge, who had stopped an entire ongoing court session for you to become a Gator also sent his secretary upstairs to his office to retype the paperwork the way he wanted it.

    I was shocked and amazed. You had the flu and and the Judge kept asking you if your were ok. You just kept smiling and I answered him by saying … ” she would not have missed this for anything your honor….”

    In fact the only time I can remember you talking is when the Judge asked you if you wanted to be a Gator daughter. You answered loud and clear “yes Sir”.

    What a great Gator you have become.

  10. Alison says:

    I changed my name (with some reluctance). I too was called my maiden name for years as a nickname. It was an identity to me (and my sister and I are the last of the line). I was happy to take my husband’s name, however anti-feminist that may be, but I was sad to lose my identity. I kept my maiden name in my legal name as an homage to my dad’s family and my past. So yeah, I now have 4 legal names and it’s long and it confuses people at the bank and such. But I’m happy with it.

    For months after the wedding, I had remorse about changing it. I wished I hadn’t, but in the end I am glad. My old friends still call me by my maiden name, as I do with another friend who just got married. It’s not a slight to our husbands, but just us hanging on to who we’ll always be despite the ring on our fingers. : )

  11. Abby says:

    I changed my name, too, and I’m still having some problems adjusting! Just last night I was at the dentist and realized that they didn’t have my appointment under my married name. I think I’ve changed about 1/2 of what I SHOULD change…I’m just lazy about doing it!

  12. AMEN! I did the exact same thing with my name change, and I prefer to be called by first, middle, and last! It is quite an adjustment….I don’t know if I would’ve changed my name when I got married if I would’ve known how tough it was going to be.

  13. Miss Gator weds Mr Nole says:

    So I’ve got a really unique maiden name (to the point that I’m actually related to everyone else in the country with that name), and I want to keep my maiden name as my middle name. I’ll add his on as my last name because I feel like that’s important to us forming a family unit.

    I have heard that I have the right to take his last name, or to keep my maiden name, and can do that on the marriage certificate – – but that if I want to swap my maiden for my middle, it requires a legal name change. I have no idea how to go about doing that. Anyone know where I can find out how??

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