When I first got engaged my sister asked me if I’d be taking Lorenzo’s name after we got married. I quickly answered, “yes, of course.” But then I thought, “wait – is that the right answer?” For 37 years I had been Monica Pandolfi. It’s the name under my yearbook picture (the one the top two inches of my hair didn’t make it into). It’s the name on my business cards. It’s how my friends know me. And, I think it sounds pretty cool – smart but appropriately ethnic, too. So, was I sure about ditching it to be Monica Carbone?
My sister Luisa kept her name. My-sister-Tina-hyphenated-hers-so-many- times-it-doesn’t-fit-on-a-hospital-wrist-band (true story for another time). My mom took my dad’s name. My friend took her husband’s name. But then she changed it back after the divorce. But, if I took Lorenzo’s would that mean I was no longer a Pandolfi? Would my dad be mad? What would my friends say? How would it affect my Google search results? Would taking his name send a subliminal message to my colleagues that I was just months away from being barefoot, pregnant and home making pizzelles?
Well, you know how the story turns out. I took his name. I’m now Monica Carbone. Why? Because I know it was important to my husband. Because if we have children I want us all to have the same last name. Because there’s a Carbone in every mafia movie. But mostlybecause for some reason I can’t really explain, it felt right.
What do you think? Should a woman take her husband’s last name? Stay true to her maiden? Is there a right or wrong thing to do in 2010?