Friday, July 29, 2011


I'm Changing My Name, Again

No, I don’t have a personality disorder or whatever — I was married once upon a time. Before that, though, I had this name: Jane Marie Golombisky. “Go-lum-BISS-key” like that. I’m into the Golombiskys as a people, but right around the time I learned to write this unspellable, unsayable last name I started serial crushing so hard on the Brad Emersons and Joe Casteels of mid-Michigan. “Jane Casteel, pleasure’s mine.” See? She wears a tiara, that one.

After years of “No wonder you like golden whiskey!” I met a guy whose name was Feltes, which wasn’t the most comfy or easy to spell or say, but a little while later I married him and swapped out that mouthful from earlier for what I soon realized was even more of a pain in the ass. Now every prescription refill starts with “F-E-L-T-E-S. F as in Frank, E, L, T as in Tom, E, S as in Sam.” Nine times out of 10 my reservation is under “Seltes.”And plus besides also, that Feltes dude is now my EX-husband of years and years and we didn’t even have any kids, so it’s like “F as in Fuck THAT Guy, E, L, T as in Together for maybe three years Tops?, E, S as in SUUUCKS to have to say this guy’s weird name all the time, ugh.” Not to mention it’s pronounced “FELL-tiss” which is kind of gross.

So I’ve decided it’s time to move on. I’m gonna go by Jane Marie now, my two remaining birth names, and just leave it at that despite my current boyfriend having a totally covetous surname. (I’ve done a lot of growing, honey! It’s not you, it’s me.)

Jane Marie produces the radio program "This American Life."

207 Comments / Post A Comment



I had no idea you were One Of Us (young divorcees). I seriously applaud your name choice, to find something that you feel is YOU. Name stuff is weirdly complex and plays so much with your sense of self.
I swapped my kick-ass last name (McGraw) for a real pain in the ass name when I married my wanker of a British (now) ex-husband, who had a double-barreled last name. With no hyphen. (!) He asked for a special stipulation mid-divorce so he could marry the girl he started dating within a month of our separation. I said "sure, as long as we tag a little 'give me my name back you whoring sunufabitch' rider to that". So now I'm back to McGraw, the last name of female cowboys and moll dolls. I'm never changing again.


@teenie But the name on your checkbook reads Erica Kane Martin Brent Cudahy Chandler Montgomery Montgomery Chandler Marick Marick Montgomery, right?


@parallel-lines : the fact that you know this CLEARLY indicates that I'm disclosing too much personal information on here.
maybe it's time to change my name...


You forgot Featherstonehaugh (pronounced FAN-shaw).

major disaster

@teenie Wait, did you really need his permission to change your name back, or were you just getting in a dig at him?


@major disaster I didn't need his permission, but since he was filing the motion (and paying his lawyers to file the motion) to get the marriage "bifurcated" so he could remarry, I made it conditional on his lawyers also placing a stipulation for my name change in it. Mainly so I wouldn't have to pay my lawyer to file the paperwork separately, and I could get the process started earlier.

major disaster

@teenie Ah! That makes sense.


@melis Ah! That's one of the names in my family! But we're Canadian rebels, so we pronounce it like it's spelled, which confuses the Brits to no end. Just plain "Feather" is often used for reservations - it's just easier.


@melis: For some reason I thought "Featherstonehaugh" was pronounced "Foon." I'm gonna chalk it up to reading too many British mysteries.


Golombisky doesn't have enough Zs in it to be unspellable and unsayable.


@boyofdestiny Or enough extraneous vowels all smushed up next to each other, like my last name does. Stupid French ancestors.

I still feel weird about changing my name, though, for any reason. It's not even a feminist thing, or a devotion-to-my-family thing. It's just, like, it's MY name. I've had it ever since I was a little girl. It's on my diplomas and my bylines. Changing it would feel odd to me.

(standard "this is just my personal weirdness and it doesn't apply to anyone else YMMV I'm not judging you etc etc etc" disclaimer)

RK Fire

@boyofdestiny: Agreed. Also if it was really unspellable, it would have a lot of other, silent consonants, like good ol "j" and some combos like "tz."


@RK Fire I forget which late-night comedian it was, but sometime in the 90s, they made a joke about Clinton OKing an emergency airdrop of vowels to the former Yugoslavia. tee hee.


@Riff Randell I am also never changing my name, because it's, like, MY name. my mom never changed hers either.

Nicole Cliffe

My mom kept hers, I kept mine, and I really enjoy being super combative about it when people ask. Which happens a fair amount in Utah.

Nicole Cliffe



@Nicole Cliffe Yay a fellow Utahn!! Whenever this discussion comes up with my boyfriend, I tell him I will absolutely keep my name if/when we get married. Besides, his ex-wife still has his last name, since they have a son, which just wigs me out a bit. I'll keep my own name, thanks.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@Riff Randell My last name is a pain to spell over the phone, but it's mine and I'm not done with it. Still using that, thaaaaanks. And from a more feminist standpoint, I'm not joining /his/ tribe.

Plus if you say my first name and my husband's last name together they blend and sound like some kind of mechanical doohickey.

Lady Pennyface

@Ten Thousand Buckets "It's mine and I'm not done with it" is an excellent reason/answer! I love it.

RK Fire

@Lucia Martinez: Count me in on that train. I guess I can hide behind the excuses of ethnic heritage--Vietnamese women don't usually take their husband's last name--but the real reason is because it's my name.

Whenever people ask me if I'm taking my fiance's name, I usually tell them "only if he's taking mine." Once, there was a look of confusion, and then a slowly mumbled "..but that defeats the point..."

RK Fire

@Lady Pennyface: Yeah, I'm going to remember that response for the next time I get the question.


also the judgey part of me judges whenever a friend gets married and changes her name. and my heart breaks a little.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@Lucia Martinez My sister married a scumbag and took his last name. I was like, "Nooooo!" Marriage to a guy who will likely beat her half to death one of these days is bad enough, but shedding her old identity for him as well?

I don't usually have such a visceral reaction to name changes, but this is just such a bad situation, it's the icing on the shit cake.

miss buenos aires

For every friend I have who changed her last name (I am counting those who pretend their real last name is actually their middle name now), I have exactly one friend who did not. I do try not to judge, but I have had conversations like this:

Me: Are you changing your name?
Friend: No. Did you change yours?
Me: No.
Friend: Okay, then I can say it. HELL NO.


I've never liked my hyphenated, not too attractive last name and have always tentatively intended to change it upon getting married, though the older I get the more I feel like it's "my" name and I should keep it, and almost all my female role models have kept their name. When I went to college I stopped using the first part of my hyphenated last name, which leaves me with my dad's last name, but it's totally just because it actually sounds good with my first name, whereas my mom's last name DOESN'T. This has caused me a ton of mom-related guilt, but I also love that everyone I've met since college refers to me by my more attractive two-word name. I'm in favor of women not changing their names if they don't want to, but I also think it sucks to stick a kid with an unattractive hyphenated last name, but it also is kind of too bad to not have the same last name as your mom. Argh!

Random Person


Random Person

(sorry for the non-post)

I think people should call themselves what they want. I kept my name, our two kids - one of each has one of ours. This may be confusing for people reading the school directory (perhaps they think we're a blended family with children from prior relationships?) but who cares. We are still in every sense of the word a family.

Oddly enough, my elderly father wants to give the family bible to my son who has my last name. Even though I have a niece who also shares our name. Because she's a girl? So she will just change her name WHEN she gets married? And she can't pass the family name on!!! (this may have something to do with why I feel so strongly about keeping mine)


@Lucia Martinez: Please stop the judging and heart-wringing over those friends who've taken their husbands names. We're not some trampled-on, know-nothing sister wives who've been brainwashed and coopted by the patriarchy.

(But, good for you, Jane! Rock on!)


@Bittersweet: Sorry, should be "husbands' names." Not trampled on, but still can't figure out the edit function.


@Bittersweet Word. I took my husband's name. I grew up with my mom, (awesome) stepdad and (awesome) half-siblings who all had different names from me, and constantly explaining my different last name suuuuuuuucked.

I think keeping your last name is fantastic, but it's not for everyone.


@Bittersweet I don't think they're brainwashed, I just think they're boring.


[standing ovation]


@Vicky Johnson seconded!


I think changing names just because some dude is cute and you're all "whooowheeee!" is kinda silly, especially in hindsight and you're all "fuck that guy, he was an asshole."

Except when you're trading up. I mean, Sophie Baumschlager just wasn't ever going to happen, so he traded up and took my last name. Smart boy.

Judith Slutler

@sophie I'd have gone with it. Who wouldn't love to be named "tree hitter" in German?


Sky-ers are awesome
*horn tootin'*


ditto the ovation!
I haven't ever wanted to change my name since clicking one of those "how many people with your name are there in the world" links in college and getting "1" as the answer.

Still get an awful lot of mail addressed to Myfirstname Husband'slastname, but whatevs.


@Ophelia My mom kept her name, and when telemarketers would ask for "Mrs. Dadslastname," she'd give them his mom's phone number.

I suspect feminism was only a part of what was going on there, though.


@Multiphasic Hee hee. That's kind of awesome. My own name is so unpronounceable that that's how I can weed out the telemarketers - I know if someone calls and asks for [terribly awkward mispronunciation], they clearly don't know who they're calling. If I changed it to my husband's [pronounceable] last name, I'd lose my superpowers.

The Widow Muspratt

@Ophelia As a kid I hated my weird, unspellable German last name. Now I have completely embraced it-partly due to the fact that my fellow (and most of our friends) refers to me ONLY by my last name. I wouldn't dream of changing it to his last name (short, easy to spell and pronounce), although we have considered creating a hilarious portmanteau of our names instead...


Go Jane! Also, high five to another "Middle Name Marie" girl.


Also, @KellySkittles, Hey girl!


@LornaLoo Hey you! Fancy meeting you here!


@KellySkittles Yup. I noticed you a while ago. Been lurking for a while now, happy to come out as an officially obsessed hairpin reader.


@LornaLoo Yay! The Hairpin comments section: bringing people together.

Christina Tina

this deserves an olive garden celebration.

Jane Marie

@Christina Tina When?


It could be worse than Feltes, by the way. My mother's maiden name is Felch. True story. (She definitely traded up when she got married.)


@cmcm I dated a guy in high school whose last name was Kok (pronounced "cock", as in, "he thought primarily with his cock"). That was enough to cure me of any romantic notions of true-love-name-changin'.

Elle Destree@twitter

@MerelyGoodExpectations My high school boyfriend's last name was "Glimp." I'm just gonna leave that here.

fondue with cheddar

@cmcm OMG...Felch?! That's horrible!

I once met a lady whose name was Anita Poupard. Seriously.



@cmcm My mother's married name is Martha Barth. Seriously. (And yes, she still changed it, but now she goes by a nickname.)


@cmcm I have a friend whose maiden name was Splatt. She got married as quickly as she could.


Jane Marie, will you marry me?

(I promise I won't make you take my last name. Which incidentally also starts with an "F" and gets misappropriated with an "S" by every receptionist ever.)

But seriously, I've FINALLY signed up for my own username so that I could add my cheers to this. The name changing thing is such a headache, and so loaded with baggage. But the good news is that after I got married earlier this month (and used your makeup tips to do my own makeup, what!), most of my family and friends are actually asking what I've chosen to do about my name. (I kept mine.) Coming from a family where every woman changes her name, hands down, no questions asked, I'm glad to see they're starting to clue in.


That is just excellent! Reminds me of the fabulous young Marlo Thomas on That Girl. (there might be a scene in season one where she's trying to explain that in fact "Marie" is her last name, but I'm not sure of the context -- maybe renting her first apartment?)


Nice! I like this. I myself am a former "Middle Name Marie" girl--I took the opportunity to dump my middle name when I took my husband's blissfully simple surname in favor of my con-stant-ly mispelled/-said "maiden" (bleh) name. (Nothing against Marie or middle names in general, it's just that I never knew when to use my middle name or whether I should use it at all--entirely too much thought going into something my mom just pulled out of the ether because it sounded OK with my first name.)

Tuna Surprise

When I got married (to my now ex) instead of changing my terrible last name to his even worse last name, I proposed that we both change to "Windsor". He didn't go for it but I still might change to Windsor just for fun.


@Tuna Surprise: Is that you, Gracie Windkloppel Wexler at the Sunset Towers?


@Xanthophyllippa I love you for that reference.


@oneneatcat Now we have to be friends.


@Tuna Surprise my friends did this, but they chose a different random name (Kilpatrick). Lots of people refuse to use it though! Jerks.


I love this!!! Go you, Jane.
My last name is Ball, which ain't exactly pretty, but I'm not sure I ever want to change it. When I worked in a hospital me and my friend used to use the patient search function to find people whose last names would make funny double-barrelled ones. I am still looking for Mr. Bag, Mr. Breaker, or Mr. Sack.


@rayray I have friend who married each other, and their last names are Hu and Bluett. I was SO disappointed when they didn't hypenate.


@rayray I do know a Sack family, actually.... the parents initially wanted to name their son Harry. The daughters vetoed.

Honestly, too bad they didn't - he could have married you and been Harry Ball-Sack. ;)


I have a really clunky, really terrible last name that even *I* don't know how to pronouce (it's proper Germanic/Swedish pronounciation is the subject of much debate in my family) and it was the source of so much childhood trauma but somewhere in my mid twenties I was like, fuck this, I'm (my real name) (my unpronoucible last name that everyone massacres because it is harsh and ugly) and too f-ing bad world, that's me. And then I started dating my boyfriend and realized that there was noooooo waaaaaaay I could take his name without sounding like a sea urchin made of harsh consonants and I was at peace.

Sometimes I wish I had changed it but my dad would cry :( it's a rare name and there's not many of us.


@parallel-lines Oh my goodness, SAAAAAMME! My name is impossible to pronounce and I always thought I would change it when I got married, but now I'm all, no way, all the WASP-y names are so boring and my name is so fun to say. And my first name is Jane, so I would probably just disappear if I changed my name from something so incredibly and unashamedly ethnic.

apples and oranges

@parallel-lines ever since I learned as an 8 year old that my grandfather's last name was changed when he immigrated, I have been so bitter that I have this boring bland nothing-name instead of a cool one that shows what ethnicity I am. so right on, girl. you keep your crazy name!!


@kayarr My grandfather's last name was also changed (at Grosse Ile, I suspect, not Ellis Island) and ditto on the bitterness - especially since it was changed to something that sounds like I have a completely different ethnic background. I spend a lot of time insisting that I am not, in fact, Italian, and that everyone is pronouncing my name incorrectly.


Jane Marie is so pretty! Good one girl!

Jolie Kerr

Ahhhh!! I was wondering why your twitter handle changed! <3 <3 <3


Yeah Jane!

I was just reading a blog post somewhere about a lady who changed both her first and middle names, and went by that. And I've also had talks with my boyfriend about future possible names--he definitely doesn't want to change his, I'm pretty sure I don't want to take his (even though it's a great last name...), and I also really want our possible hypothetical future children to not just be his last name? Like, they would be my family too? I'm pretty attached to my first and middle names so this gives me confidence that maybe I could go by that and be like "f you world" too.


@alix_rae You could always hyphenate the hypothetical kids' names; then they'd have both your name and his.

Random Person

@Swisschard Or just mix it up -have some of each. Sounds confusing, but it's really not.


Thumbs up!


Throws confetti! Whee! Like Teena Marie (RIP)!
But does this mean I have to figure out on my own what to buy for cheap this weekend?


@thisisunclear Seconded to this! I love Jane Marie, and I've been in a kind of "need to seriously update myself" mood lately getting rid of old cobwebs and just this morning I was like so excited because it's Weekly Allowance Day and I thought "I hope Jane posts some shoes because I want to buy something!"


Baaaah I think I love you. Despite the fact that as another Jane, I've thought your name made a rather handsome byline (though I assumed it was pronounced absolutely phonetically and like that funny craft fabricnotfabric, felt) I really, really commend your doing this. I've still got the name of my dud of a Dad and I hate it. Not only is it boring, it's HIS and I dislike that, seeing as he didn't really feel obliged to be a parent, why should I be stuck with his name forever? ANYWAYS, I have never been brave enough to ditch a name and I'm so glad you are and are OWNING it. and Go forth, newly named person, and reorder all your credit cards! or don't! It's all you! Ahhhh you made my morning.


Congratulations! It's a strange thing to say, but I mean it regardless. Nice name!


Hairpinners I need advice! I am getting married and I can't decide whether to change my name. The big issue is that my last name is one letter off from his last name and they rhyme. If I hyphenate it, which would be hilarious, there is potential that I will never be employed as people will wonder about my judgement. If I don't change it, it could cause confusion for everyone. If I do change it, I'll have to go through all this effort for one stinkin letter (and I love my last name). Help!


@DenimGlow Keep yours, and if anyone calls you by his, just be like, yeah, that's me.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@DenimGlow If you want to keep your own last name you should probably keep it, if you decide that the hyphenation isn't viable. Don't straight up change it if you don't want to. Smoth-Smith sounds funny, but so does Mr McDoom. (A friend's actual former employer.) My husband has had business dealings with Harry Potter. And Jack Sparrow. I bet everyone was fighting for the chance to hire Mr Potter. :p

People are pretty used to women keeping their last names, wearing pants, and working outside the home these days. You'll be addressed as Mrs Smith from time to time. If it's a telemarketer, just respond to that. If it's your family doctor, explain that you are actually M(r)s Smoth.


@DenimGlow I was pretty sure I didn't want to change it, but didn't know if I'd feel less married or something*, so just figured I'd wait and see, and 2 years in, I was right. My ambivalence coupled with the threat of future paperwork has kept my name right where it's always been. I also travel internationally a lot, and on short notice, for work, and I didn't want to have to take my passport out of commission while they processed the name change and issued me a new one.

*I'm just as married as I'd hoped. Frankly, I was pretty much this married when we were living together and committed, but that belongs on another thread.


@DenimGlow Do whatever feels right to you!! I AGONIZED over this when I got married. I wound up deciding to keep my name because so much was changing right then I couldn't handle one more change. I also realized there is no statute of limitations on name-changing: if you change your mind, you can change your name! Now, 10 years and 1 kid (and one on the way) later, absolutely NONE of the things I was worried about have come to pass. It's very clear we are married, it's very clear we are a family, and no one is ever confused because my daughter and I don't have the same last name. The times, they have a-changed at least a little bit. I second Ten Thousand Buckets--people are well used to women wearing pants and making up their own minds these days. Chances are if someone hassles you for it, they'll just wind up looking stupid.


@DenimGlow I actually know a few people who officially kept their name, but unofficially went by their married name. So on all their bank stuff/credit cards they were still the same name, but they would go by their married name in social circumstances (facebook, reservations, what you ask people to call you). It sounds complicated, but it actually isn't really. I did the same in reverse when I was waiting for my name to return to my maiden name - went by my maiden name socially (what a relief!) but had to go by my married name on bank stuff etc until the legal change was made.


What @LauraJ said! You have some time to figure it out. You're going through a major life change right now, so don't feel pressured to make a big decision justthisminute. Turns out, you can also change your mind if you change your name and dislike it later! There's no hard and fast rules. My recommendation (as a recently married and extremely lazy girl) is to keep your name for the time being — all the changing paperwork, etc., is a big hassle. Give yourself a few weeks/months/years to see how it goes. And reevaluate as needed in the future. No biggie.


@DenimGlow, wait, but if your hyphenated last name really would be Smith-Smoth you definitely have to use that one. Embrace the Diagon Alley shopkeep sound, it's very in right now


@DenimGlow So I was on the fence because, like Feltes over there, I wanted to maybe possibly ditch my long maiden name for his shorter, but more Slavic name. I figured I could change it and then change it back later if I wanted to.

I WISH I HADN'T CHANGED IT. If you're not sure and brimming with love and desperation and singing birds to change it, wait. I wish I could go back and not change it to his terrible to spell, constantly mispronounced name. At this point with rugrats and more than a decade of ball and chain, it seems silly to change it back.

(But oh how I want to.)



I signed up as a commenter today just to give a virtual high-five to you, Ms. Jane Marie. As someone who must constantly spell my first AND last name (if I don't, almost all my reservations are under the name "Myrna." As for the last name, sometimes "Doone" works better than my strangely french name), I find if I can't reserve a table or order food online, I get a wee anxiety attack and decide to just stay in or eat a can of sardines with mustard and cheese instead.


"P" as in pneumonia, "N" as in newel post?


@theharpoon seriously just snarfed some OJ. nicely done.


@Ophelia "A" as in, aardvark again?


@Ophelia The Bell Telephone Company does not need your dy-um, sir.

(Sorry, I just found out about that stuff and I am kind of obsessed.)


@theharpoon 'K as in Kadafi' and 'Q as in Qaddafi'?


@theharpoon Also, my sister once convinced her friend that, in the same way Pterodactyl has a silent P, Platypus has a silent "T." She had her going for a good 15 minutes. It was amazing.


@Ophelia That reminds me of the old, "Did you know that the word 'gullible' isn't in the dictionary?" one. The next grammar school-age child I interact with is going to get DESTROYED.


@theharpoon It's not in the dictionary, but it IS written on the ceiling.

tea tray in the sky.

@theharpoon That's "Q" as in "Qream"


Good on you, Jane! Watching my mom change her name to my dad's name, then to her second husband's name, then back to her original name, was enough to cure me of the desire to ever, ever change mine. It's MINE, damn it!


I want to change my name so much! I was raised SOOOOOO close w/ my ma's side of the family, I wish I had their name - but instead I have the side of the family's name I don't like. I'm so jealous you have the courage to alter your name for you and OWN that shit.

The big problem is, I'm a THE THIRD, which (1) ick, and (2)it would kind of kill my dad to be like "I don't want to carry your name."

So instead I just listen to this song a lot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9hYpM0o7x8

Nicole Cliffe

I knew a guy in college who was a 'IV,' and when I was all tipsy and said, 'man, you're going to let that die with you, right? I mean, unless your name wraps up with 'Of Norway,' or something?' he told me I was off the theoretical list of future wives. Which I accepted.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@leon.saintjean My dad is a third, and I'd sort of like to be a fourth. I'm a girl though, sooo...

However! My first name is a unisex diminutive of his. They swear they weren't naming me after him, but I don't know if I believe that. Also, I hate my middle name, and would be happy to change it to his. Actually, the current plan is to just remove my middle name entirely, but going with the family name wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Hairpinners, activate! Is becoming a fourth even viable for me?


@leon.saintjean : my boyfriend (semi-fiance) is a Junior, and his dad is INCESSANT with hounding us to have children, specifically a boy, so we can pass the name along. My boyfriend is like you: much closer to his Mom's side of the family, and his dad was kind of a HUGE juicebox until he cleaned up about 10 years ago.
So we decided to tell his dad that when we marry, he's going to take my name. Just to watch him freak out a bit. tee hee.


@Nicole Cliffe Ugh yeah. Numbers after names are the worst. I've dropped mine professionally because, well, let's just say nobody is ever going to be confused if a business card belongs to my father or me. But just knowing it's there still sucks, and it complicates things when people are being jerks about a bunch of ID, because now some stuff has it and some does not, and I also once in awhile get calls from my father's debt collectors, which, well that is always just the most awful awkward thing ever to have to relay back to a parent who hadn't told you they can't afford pretty much anything.


@leon.saintjean I have had so many friends with the same name or kind of the same name as their parents (same first, different middle, etc.) get mixed up in credit reports that I would never ever name a kid after someone like that. Well, I wouldn't do it to begin with, but seeing that happen is so frustrating.


My boyfriend is totally okay w/ the fact that I will not take his name. What he doesn't know yet is that our children aren't going to have his name either...but I have /years/ to break his spirit before then.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@D.@twitter I think if I ever had kids, I'd hyphenate their names. But my name would be first.


@D.@twitter I not only kept my last name, but we're planning to do something unusual with kids -- one of each. People tell me it'll be confusing, but I say my split and remarried family did just fine with different last names in the mix. My name is rare and mine, dammit, and one day I realized I'd actually lik to pass it n.

miss buenos aires

@sophia_h I like the "it'll be confusing" argument. To whom? No one I care about.


@sophia_h A professor of mine did that with her husband and two kids - the oldest has her last name and the youngest has his. What they would have done if they'd had an odd number I don't know.

Random Person

@sophia_h Not confusing in my household. If we'd had more, we probably would have kept alternating. (and notsoartsy, no, I'm not your professor)


Maybe I am weird, but I always thought it would be cool to choose my OWN last name. Because either I have to take my husband's upon marriage, or keep my father's, and I tried to talk my dude into starting over with something completely different. For a while I had my eye on Flinkman, mostly because I was into Alias at the time. But Flinkman- that is a great name, is it not? It's not too late. I can still do it.

Kimberly Pine, Drummer

@ingrid.tuesday Not weird! I did it! I didn't like my last name or my stepfather's last name (...or, frankly, my stepfather) and so after some deliberation I changed it to my great-grandmother's maiden name. Her/my surname is easily pronounced, only hard to spell if you're an idiot, and is very pretty with the middle name I also added and in fact now go by! In short I changed my whole name and it was liberating as hell and if I should ever get married I'm not changing it again, it's too perfect.


I think Golombisky is a fantastic last name, but that is because of the deep love and affection I harbor for the Slavic people. Obviously, whatever makes you happy is what's best!


standing OVULATION


What does a hyphenate in love with another hyphenate do in terms of nomenclature?


@Multiphasic I once knew a couple with this problem. He had a hyphenated last name and she had two last names. They scrapped them all and picked a random new one that was THEIRS. I sort of loved it.


@Multiphasic I think you hope that at least one of them starts with a vowel, and you just create an acronym. So, if Sophie Ellis-Bextor married Jonathan Taylor-Thomas, then their last name could be Bett, or Tebt.


@LauraJ That settles it. All I need to do now is find a woman who has no problem being co-founder of the Awesome household.


@Ophelia Awesome idea and thank you for reminding me of the existence of JTT.


I, too, have been married twice...and never changed my name. Maybe I knew somehow it wouldn't work out. But my boyfriend/domestic partner/cohort in many crimes against comedy has a great last name, and I think he's pretty neat, too. And really, my last name isn't an issue. My first name, on the other hand, is Kandy. Let the stripper comments continue unabated.


Jane! Are you from mid-Michigan? Perhaps years ago we may have been at the same Lansing Lugnuts baseball game.

Lady Pennyface

@Katattax Lugnuts!! I miss Michigan.


@Katattax @Lady Pennyface Oh god, me too. I just got back from a week in Grand Traverse area and I'm having withdrawals. I miss Michigan so hard.

Jane Marie

@Katattax i AM from mid-Michigan :)


What's in the picture? Is it supposed to be a tiara? Sorry, I didn't get enough sleep last night and I just am stumped. Thanks.


@myeviltwin It's golden whiskey. (I knew this because of the alt-tag, not because I am a lush.)


@wee_ramekin Thanks! Now that I know that, the picture makes sense. It's that the angle was weird and I am kind of dumb.


Jane, I love this. I changed my last name as well, right before I started college. I'd been adopted at 9 and then taken out of the adoption home at 15, so why the hell would I want those people's name for the rest of my life? But I didn't really know my birth parents either, so I picked my own last name. One of the best things I ever did.


So when I first got engaged, I was all like, "of course I will be exchanging my 10-letter last name that is actually not that hard to pronounce but everyone gets wrong anyway for his four-letter last name that is simple to spell AND pronounce," but then I was like, "my last name is Dutch, and kind of cool," and now I am married and I still don't know what to do.


@SarcasticFringehead I love my cool Dutch last name. Everyone mispronounces it even though it's not that hard to pronounce, but whatevs. Since I come from an area with a plethora of Dutch immigrants (no one mispronounced my name there), I know quite a few people who gave up their cool Dutch name just to take another cool Dutch name.

Liz Kaufman@facebook

@SarcasticFringehead See, I would do the opposite cultural-wise. I despise my gutteral, non-feminine German last name, but my current guy's Chinese with the last name Tan. If we do marry down the road, I'm looking forward to being a white chick with a Chinese last name. :P


@SuperGogo Are you from Grand Rapids, too? Everyone knew how to pronounce my crazy Dutch name up there. I'm never giving mine (mijn naam!) up, either. Being Dutch is such a huge part of my identity that I never even considered changing it.


@alpelican I've got a ton of relatives in Grand Rapids! Possibly, we are related.


@SarcasticFringehead @alpelican I grew up in Muskegon, but all four grandparents are from GR and are as Dutch as they come. I'm 100%, at least as far back as a few generations on both sides. Kinda cool and also kinda creepy that they never intermarried or went anywhere!


@alpelican My mom seriously considered changing her short, not so great Dutch last name to her mother's more Dutch-sounding maiden name, Vanderwoude. I wish I had got that name too.


@Ellie Ah! My mom also had a short, not so great Dutch last name, and her mom had a much better one (Van Tongeren). But then she took my dad's. Wow! So many Dutch Hairpinners!!


@Liz Kaufman@facebook Donna Lee!

i kant even

i love my last name and would only change it if i felt my partner's last name was cooler than mine. haha.

my first name has kind of a crazy spelling (it's irish), and when i'm making appointments over the phone i often get a pause, followed by, "um, so that's REALLY how you spell it?"


@shivster siobhan?


@shivster I feel the same way. Mine is very Italian, and I feel like it goes well with Maria, which is what my parents had in mind when they picked Maria. Why mess with a good thing?

Jolie Kerr

@shivster Aoife?


Good for you. F is officially the worst letter to have to spell out loud. I used to work somewhere that had not one but two Fs in its abbreviation (and thus URL/email), and an F in the postcode too. Torture.


@Melusina yeah, thinking about that - the urge to say "F as in FUCK YOU etc etc" would be too strong if I were pms'ing, or especially frustrated at a phone representative.

tiny dancer

Jane, congratulations! I'm so jealous because for a long time I've wanted to go by my first and middle name. Is it difficult to drop the last name? Do you have to contact every governmental thing and account you have? Tell me more about the process, please.


Welcome to the "fuck it, my middle name, Marie, is gonna be my last name" club! High five!


Good for you Jane! I think Jane Marie sounds very glamorous, just like you. Also I had been wondering how to pronounce Feltes!

As a sidenote, don't know what the laws are here but in Australia when a couple gets married the lady can change her last name to whatever she wants for free (w/ the cost of the marriage license), but if the man wants to change his he has to pay an extra fee.


@iceberg It's that way in the US too. The American Civil Liberties Union currently has a lawsuit going in California to make it equal opportunity, since sometimes guys want to change!

miss buenos aires

@iceberg It's a moot point now, but you should listen to This American Life! Jane gets name-checked in the credits every week, right before a joke about Torey Malatia.


@sophia_h Actually, it depends on the state. When I got married, my husband changed his name,and there was even a spot on the license for him to do so. And we got married in middle-of-nowhere upstate NY.


What’s in a name? that which we call a Jane
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Feltes would, were she not Feltes call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which she owes
Without that title. Feltes, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.



So now Jane's related to Sally!


I can top this. Post divorce, I didn't want my ex's name, and I didn't want my dad's name, so I picked a new one completely. It's a variation of my great grandma's name, changed to make it more last-namey. But! it took me forever to actually do the legal part of it, and by the time I did, I thought,
"you know I never really liked my first name much, and I'm 30, and I can do what I want." So I changed it. The whole damn thing. My mom was mad.


...from Kitty to Karen?


I keep reading it as "Janie Marie."

Jane Marie

@cari that's what my mom calls me. that or janie maria, so go right ahead!


@Jane Marie AHHHH my mom's name is Jane Marie and goes by "Janie" to the family (even at 65! some things never change...). But ALSO let me join the chorus of congratulations!


I had one surname at birth, which was replaced when my mother got married to my step-father. I changed it to my (now ex) husband's when I got married (which was pretty young) and built a career under that name. I then got divorced, and I sort of dragged my feet when it came to changing it back. I didn't have much ownership in my maiden name, but slowly, I switched back to it, for reasons that now seem silly.

Anyway, I am unabashedly supportive of name-changing, even taking of the spouse's name. I am nothing if not a complete sappy romantic, and I like the idea of having a common team name.

I get why others don't share that viewpoint and I certainly appreciate that perspective, but fuck, I am tired of being told I am less than a feminist for taking my husband's name. Fuck right off with that shit, little girls.


@karion I was also really invested in having a "team" name (I like that way of putting it!), but I am also attached to my own last name, so my husband and I agreed to both hyphenate with my name first (being always first is awesome.) His family is still mad about it five years later, though.


@karion: Common team name! Love it. Before we got married, my husband asked if I would "do him the honor" of taking his name. When you put it like that, sweetheart...


Congratulations! For whatever reason, it makes me quite happy when women (and men too!) make unconventional choices rather than traditional ones about their name. I guess I like seeing people take active ownership rather than just following tradition.

I'm getting married in a few weeks and as much as I'd like my fiance and I to do something non-traditional and share a joint name (either both hyphenate, or take something new together), the fact of the matter is that my name pretty much actually is Arrr Starr (better stop posting secret stuff here now oops!) so even without all my feminist/lazy/ties to family history reasons there was no way I was changing that. As much as I would love for my fiance to take my last name, he is quite attached to his own (nice, but not as awesome) last name and really hates forms, so I let that drop pretty quickly.


I almost married someone with the last name Hale. In Mississippi, that is pronounced "Hayell" which is the same way they pronounce "Hell." Add to that the way they say my name and you have "Holy Hell." The experience of his baptist preacher's wife aunt saying that and cracking up was enough to cure me of thinking Holly Hollis was a bad name to be saddled with.


I don't know why every comment I make on this website is about my family, sorry y'all, BUT when my parents got married my feminist hippie mom did not want to take my dad's last name. Common enough. BUT! They decided that if the first kid was a girl, all the kids would have my mom's last name, and if it was a boy, they'd have my dad's last name. Cue all daughters. I asked my dad once how he felt about the fact that neither his wife nor his own children share his last name, and he said other people cared about it WAYYY more than he did. My dad is otherwise a pretty conservative dude, so if he can deal with it, any of my hypothetical progressive future husbands sure as hell better be able to deal with it. Harrumph. GO JANE.


I am simultaneously happy for you, and saddened that my I <3 Jane Feltes t-shirt is now inaccurate.
Back to the drawing board.


A lot of people are stating their name's uniqueness as a reason not to change, but I am loving the fact that I have a frightfully common name (our facebook group has 50+ members) because hey! You cannot google me. No way am I giving that up by adopting something else!

I was once even asked if I was using an alias at a hotel. Nope!


@alouette I am actually really jealous of you un-Googleable people. If somebody Googles me, they find me. Yuck!

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@theharpoon Interesting...


@theharpoon Me too. There's no one else in the WHOLE WORLD (apparently) with my name. I'm disturbingly easy to find.


@theharpoon Me too. There's one other person with my name that I've found. Lives on the other side of the world. But the first 10 google hits are all ME, ME, ME. I've decided I'm going to use this to my advantage.


@Alice AGH. Yes. I hate this. All of my youthful indiscretions, easily accessible. The internet sucks.

dr. girlfriend

@theharpoon i am the only one in the world and will always be the only one in the world with this name. i constantly google myself and try to erase anything other than scholarship awards.

Lady Gagarin

I have a super common name (Kelleher - at least in Ireland, where I'm from, it's super common) so I never felt particularly attached to it. Though I do have a keyring of it and stuff and I guess it has a certain rhythm to it that I like. It's certainly hard to imagine being called anything else.

I understand the feminist implications of not taking a spouse's name, but I gotta admit my inner little girl has always been excited to do it. If my hypothetical future husband has a cool name, at least. My last boyfriend had the surname Hitchcock, and I kind of wanted to marry him just so I could have that amazing last name...

My mum initially kept her surname (O'Connor) when she married my dad, but said that official documents and business and etc was so awkward and confusing post-marriage that she just gave in and changed it. Being forced into taking a name just to "make things easier" would definitely suck, though she's personally no longer bothered by it.


You go Glen Co--Jean Marie! Four for you!

Anyway, I'd never want to change my name because my parents made sure that it would have a 2-4-2 syllable thing going on (first-middle-last), which makes it sound really nice and plus that's gotta be a lot of thinking going on.

doll parts

I was happy to change my last name when I got married. I'm a teacher, and my maiden name is just too easy to mock. It's not Glasscock, but it's still not very good.

Casanova Frankenstein

But Jane! When will there be more videos? PLEASE MAKE SOME VIDEOS I MISS YOU.

i kant even

@Lucia Martinez: correct! also known as see-oh-b-hahn. haha.

@Maria: high five!

@Jolie Kerr: aoife is such a rad name. i was at borders once, and my cashier was named aoife. we bonded over our wacky irish names.


How do you all actually feel about keeping your maiden name after marriage? I've always kind of viewed taking on a man's last name -- though I can definitely see the romantic appeal for newlyweds -- to sort of symbolize the taking on of a new identity that is defined by the existence of the man in a woman's life. Men, on the other hand, have the same "identity" whether they're married or not. And this is especially inconvenient in the event of a divorce, when the woman spends however much time afterwards grappling with questions of nominal identity (i.e., "I hate having his name, but I've met so many people as Katie _____ that it would be a hassle to change it", "the change would take too much time and effort", etc.) while none of these concerns even cross the man's mind.

Now, I absolutely respect the women who choose to take on a man's last name as their own. My mother has always frowned upon my desire to keep my maiden name because she believes that people would find the difference between my and my (hypothetical) husband's names to be confusing. I've told her that I would be open to hyphenating our two last names, but she frowns upon that idea because she feels that the product would be a mouthful.

I go back and forth. What do you all think?

tea tray in the sky.

@VAliceB Take a look at the rest of the comments!

Judith Slutler

@VAliceB I'd kick my last name (which obviously is not actually Cunt) to the curb without a second thought, because it sucks.

I'm not sure if I'd take the current bf's last name - I like it a lot, but it's a really common Nigerian surname, so I feel like I might get some double takes if people heard my hypothetical married name and then I show up and am the whitest person ever? idk.


@Emmanuelle Cunt I'd think that would a great motivator to take his name. So much fun.


I decided to hyphenate my name when I got married for 2 reasons: 1) I really like my maiden name and there are no boys in my family to carry it on and 2) I like my husband's last name and it was a way for us to be a consolidated family. Now I can go by my rather long and somewhat pompous sounding hyphenated last name (which is funny since we're both from lower middle class families) or just go by his last name. The whole changing your name is a giant pain in the butt though. I still haven't changed my passport and really should. Sigh.

I do have friends who go by their maiden name professionally and their husband's name legally. It's an option...

katherine delongpre

Meanwhile, you couldn't have told us how to pronounce Feltes back when you were still using it and I had to try to pronounce it every time I talked to my friends about my fantasy Internet girlfriend?


Jane - how did you evaluate the impact on your career, if you think there will be one? Since Ira Glass says your name every week, it seems like you have some "branding." Are you going to transition (make Ira say, "Jane Marie formerly Jane Feltes")?


I'm in the middle of a divorce right now and I did change my name. I thought I was trading up (because no one knew how to spell my old name either), but then I forgot about the implications of changing your name. A new email address if your old one has your last name in it... all the crap paperwork... not to mention the fact that I missed my old last name terribly. It was like I lost a part of myself. I'm so happy to be changing it back. I don't think I will change it again if I get remarried. If he says that means I don't love him enough (like my ex did), then I know to run far, far away.


GO JANE GO. I like Jane Marie. It sounds informed by late 50s French New Wave, and sorts well with your new hairdo. And I'm not just saying that because my middle name is Marie, too, or because my last name also requires constant corrections on spelling and pronunciation.

I've long since come to the conclusion that changing your surname at marriage is bullshit, unless you're swapping up to a better/easier one, or unless you both do it and change your married surnames to like "Dragonmauler" or "Tiffington-Claymore-Whitcombe" because why the fuck not?


Oh Jane, I love you. Kick ass

screwball cate

So, when you get married you get a freebie name change right? So what if my future husband and I BOTH changed our last names to some third, awesome name! Like...Mr. and Mrs. Incrediblehulk?

fondue with cheddar

My maiden name was Ward. So easy. My married name was Schlitsey, which nearly everyone pronounced and spelled wrong (Schlitsky, Slitsey, and my favorite, Shitsley). At first I liked it because my maiden name was so common, but after a few years I started wishing I'd kept my old name. Now we're divorced and I'm a Ward again! :) (Though the UPS guy still calls me by my ex's name just to piss me off.)


Jane, I was listening to some very old TAL episodes not too long ago (thanks for the iPhone app, btw,) and I heard Ira Glass say that Jane Golumbisky was getting married and they'd have to call her Jane Feltes now, and I was all "so THAT's who this Golumbisky character was! It was How To Be a Girl ALL ALONG!"

Congrats on your decision!


I've always intended to keep my own name if/when I got married, for all the usual reasons. In addition, my partner and I have very similar first names-- his is the male version of mine. If either or us were to change our names, we'd have basically the exact same name. So I guess we'll both be keeping our own names if/when we marry then, huh? Although it could make for some wacky hijinks.

Sarah Boughter@facebook

I just got divorced. My last name while married was "White". Now it's back to my maiden name, "Boughter". Hard to reconcile the pronunciation with the spelling (it is pronounced "Bookter"). Glad to be rid of the ex's name, but wonder if I should just have picked a new name altogether.

Anastasia Beaverhausen

I wallowed and flopped back and forth over what to do when I married my darling husband. I finally just kept all my names and made my family name one of my middle names. I use FirstName FamilyName HisLastName now and while it's a mouthful, I don't give a shit b/c it's my name. Plus my Daddy, whom I adore, is thrilled I didn't just toss out our family name for some dude.

Shilo Byrd@twitter

Whilst filing for our marriage license, I mentioned to my now-husband that I was thinking of taking his name to strengthen our immigration case (he's foreign, so it's a big convincing process).
He immediately objected on the basis of me having an awesome last name, first/last combo, feminist principle, and also that with my first (Shilo) and his last (O'Connor) that it's just too many hard O sounds in one place.

I love that guy.

Orlando Wilson@facebook

After 9 years in marriage with my hubby with 3 kids, my husband started going out with other ladies and showed me cold love, on several occasions he threatens to divorce me if I dare question him about his affair with other ladies, I was totally devastated and confused until a old friend of mine told me about a spell caster on the internet Dr. Trust who help people with the relationship and marriage problem by the powers of love spells, at first I doubted if such thing ever exists but decided to give it a try, when I contact him, he helped me cast a spell and within 24hours my husband came back to me and started apologizing, now he has stopped going out with ladies and he his with me for good and for real. Contact this great spell caster for your relationship or marriage problem at ultimatespellcast@gmail.com. Goodluck

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