Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I Am Who I Am

I began my life as a writer long before I ever married and after marriage I continued to use my maiden name professionally while I used my married name socially (to be completely honest, I was married BEFORE local laws allowed a woman NOT to change her name to her husband’s). I wear both names with pride, both Chelle Cordero and Mrs. E. Even my official IDs carry both surnames.

So it took me back a bit the other day when this rather nasty old man accused me of using a different surname than my hubby for some nefarious purposes! I felt like shouting “I’m a professional woman married to a man who doesn’t suffer from a low ego!” — But I didn’t. In this day and age, why should I have to explain why I use the name I do? And I’ve never hidden that I am married to Mr. E. and anyone who knows either of us has never questioned the legitimacy.

 Several of my friends also use their maiden names in their professional lives, some of them never even changed it upon marriage. None of our husbands are so small minded that they begrudge the names we go by. I admit that when my own offspring were being married I did marvel at the marriage license application where not only were women given the choice of what name they would use, but so were the men! (and it was their decision for the man’s surname to be used) Times sure have changed, I for one applaud that.

Of course we’ve had some amusing events because of the “different” names. For several years we both freelanced for a newspaper, I worked as a writer and Mark worked as a photographer. There were several times we were assigned to cover the same subject and while we never hid our relationship, we always introduced ourselves by our working names.

There was one day when I left the room where I had just interviewed a subject to get some info from his business partner; Mark remained in the room taking pictures. Out of the blue our subject asked if Mark thought I might be interested in going out with him… Mark took a moment and then replied, she’s married. The subject thought about it and then asked Mark if I was the type to date anyway, without missing a beat, he said, “Her husband has a bit of a temper.” Mark told me about the conversation as we were driving home (okay, I admit, it was a bit of an ego boost, lol).

So really, what is in a name? Neither woman nor man should have to give up their own identities because they want to share their lives with each other. The choice of which name or combination of names should only be made by the individuals involved. Be proud of who you are and who you’ve chosen to be with, it is nobody else’s business.

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