Change is Tough

First, the obvious roadblock: Changing your name is annoying. Who knew? Imagine the worst experience you’ve ever had at the DMV, then multiply it by every card you have in your wallet, add every auto-filled form you have saved online, then subtract any knowledge of what you’re doing whatsoever. Too hard, no way.

Compounding my hesitation? The fact that, if I were to take Joe’s name, I would have to do all this turning-my-life-upside-down paperwork, and Joe would have to do… nothing. Except sit there and look handsome. And my reward for all this work? A name I don’t even like that much. Like, I’m not dying over that last name. A Lauren Presser sounds like an occupation that requires a hazmat suit and OSHA training.

Thinking Ahead

Beyond ruminating over my future of becoming a professional Lauren Presser, I have to think about our future children and all the favorite baby names I’ve collected over time. It turns out, they all sound like occupations when paired with our potential family name: There’s little Fox Presser, which sounds like something you could go to jail for if caught by a park ranger. Then there’s Clementine Presser, who sounds like a juice-maker (trendy!). So on, and so forth. Joe Presser is the only one that sounds even sort of normal. And even then—a coffee press!

A Me By Any Other Name…

But, all joking and nonexistent babies aside, taking Joe’s name, now that it’s an option to me, sounds a little like abandoning myself. What has felt so liberating for my whole life—losing the complicated last name and starting anew—now feels like a decision that could mean saying goodbye to something that is so uniquely me, and my connection to the family that is so uniquely mine. “Lauren Rodrigue” is the name on all my college newspaper bylines. “Lauren Rodrigue” won all those At Least You Tried awards during school sports. “Lauren Rodrigue” is somebody! And so are the Rodrigue women, all of whom can insult you so sweetly in their native Quebecois, you’ll blush thinking it’s a compliment. “Lauren Rodrigue” even wrote this! Who the heck is Lauren Presser, and what has she ever done, besides press a lot of Laurens, probably?

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