M is for Bond ~ James Bond; Or, What Is In A Name?

James Bond 007

James Bond 007 (Photo credit: Dave McLear)

Okay, I know M is not for Bond, James Bond—but I have always liked the way he introduced himself. I wonder if I could make such an outstandingly memorable introduction of myself. I am almost apologetic about my name. Not that I do not like it—just that my name is sort of long and then I added my husband’s last name to it, with a hyphen no less.

I was quite adamant about keeping my name when I got married – after all it was my name and I was attached to it. Not all people feel this way, but I did, and I still do. It is just my personal statement and I do not in any way want to make a decision for anyone else.

When I was married thirty years ago, I was not a rebel–there were many women who kept their names, added their husband’s name to theirs, or hyphenated.  And there were many then, as now, who take on their husband’s name. It is all a personal choice. But as a choice I think it should be respected.

There are still those who call me Mrs. My Husband’s Last Name, and that is okay, though I always think they are referring to his mother. But then there are those who do it to bug me, to kind of put me “in my place”. And those are the people I do not readily respond to. When I do respond, I do it with a surprised look, and say “Oh, are you talking to me?” Admittedly  this does not happen much now—but it happened a lot when I was first married.

Many people, when they have a name as long as mine, have come up with a signature scrawl to compensate for the length. I have not—though many times I will use my initials when I can get away with it. That does not work at the bank or on legal documents though, and I have detected a yawn or two while I finish scribbling my name.

For a while I thought I was being clever and started to use partial initials and part of my last name as a reporter to kind of hide my identity. I work for a small town newspaper and I thought this would hide me from controversial stuff—but generally there is not much controversial stuff, and it fools no one anyway. My column carries my full name—but perhaps this is where I really need to hide my identity. Especially this week, when I made both a spelling mistake and error in grammar.

But I digress—I like my full last name—it is kind of distinctive, albeit lengthy.

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27 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think your name is distinctive Lou, stands out, great for an author.

  2. My name is long and cumbersome. I am an unmarried woman and loathed to ever depart from the name which just refused to fit into a box. I was once on the English department corridor of a university for a meeting. “This is your name?” the woman I was meeting asked. “There are multiple people on this corridor who would kill for your name.” She was a writer and I watched as she scribbled my surname into her notebook.

    The name however will not work with another name attached. It would be like taking a spider and an elephant and trying to make them into a single creature.

    So there is only one solution. I will marry, but only to a man who is willing to be called Mr His Wife’s Last Name.

    • love your solution – I am so curious now about your last name – but I will respect your privacy
      You may turn up in someone’s novel someday though — that is cool

  3. I too have a hyphenated last name although with my recent divorce I will be dropping the end part..

  4. I had one of those ugly last names that I was ok with dropping after marriage, otherwise I would probably have just kept my own name and avoided the whole name change thing.

    I don’t think I have ever been called Mrs. E in my 17 years of marriage. I would definitely think they were referring to my mother in law, who would in turn think they were referring to her mother in law. 🙂

    • There are certain last names that I understand maybe not wanting to keep (I have a friend whose last name was a derivative of funky–I think I might have changed mine too).
      It all gets very confusing when you get to the Mrs. stuff – I like to get around this any way I can- I so do not like being called Mrs.

  5. My name is one of the most cumbersome in existence 😛
    But what can I do 😉
    Also love James Bond – too suave 🙂

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • cumbersome can be very distinctive – I think you and I should celebrate our cumbersomeness! 🙂

  6. I didn’t take my husband’s last name either. Every once in a while someone will call me Mrs. Husband’s Last Name, and it amuses me. My last name is one syllable and it’s 5 letters long. I always wanted a much longer, fancier last name, maybe one ending with a vowel, one that was less common. It’s funny, the things we think about our names.

    • It is funny how we all have our own little things that we like and that bug us – part of my Last name ends in a vowel and my husband’s with a y–so it is quite a name

  7. I have a maiden name that no one can pronounce… so when I married I took my husband’s last name which is actually the name of a common (or so I thought) object. No one can pronounce it right either. I do remember wondering WHY I had to change my name, but was too lazy to find out how not to. I do remember not wanting to be called Mrs. My Husband;s First Name My Husband’s Last Name… I wanted to be called Mrs. My First Name My Husband’s Last Name. bwahahahaha

    • I never understood when women were called Mrs. Husband’s First Name and Last Name — what is a Mrs.George Smith?

  8. Distinctive is good. I like your take on things, and I’m glad you made the choice that made you happy.

    My wife never liked her middle name (I thought it was cute), so when we married, she moved her last name to the middle name spot and then took my last name without a hyphen.

    I’m glad you’re cool when people who meet you for the first time address you by your husband’s last name. But what I don’t get (and fortunately, you don’t see this a lot any more) is when people call a woman not just “Mrs. Jane Smith” but “Mrs. John Smith.” That feels too much like ownership. Then again, my great aunt preferred it. Like you said–choices.

    • Yes, I know some women of a different generation that liked it too–I certainly don’t understand it,but do not question their choice if that is what they liked and were comfortable with
      Your wife sounds like she found a good solution

  9. I once hated my last name because it’s so unusual. When I was younger I always planned on changing my last name to that of my future husband’s, but now that I’ve gotten older I have begun to change my mind. I am literally the only person in the world with my name – and the only people who share my last name are those who I’m immediately related to. Over time, this is a distinction I have grown to treasure.
    Although I have choosen to adopt Kelly (my step father’s last name) as a pen-name for safety reasons now that I’ve begun publishing my work.

  10. I know what you mean about mistakes–they are so annoying–I made a couple in my newspaper column this week and it haunts me
    It is funny how when we are young something distinctive is embarassing and when we are older it is something that we like and becomes an important part of us

  11. I wish I’d hyphenated my maiden name with my husband’s name. Didn’t have your chutzpah back in the olden days when we were married,lol. Luckily, my middle initial is the same initial as my maiden name, so that’s what I think every time I sign. Great post!

    • so when were you married – you look too young to say “olden days”

      • 1978!

      • I was married in 1982 but I was 29 when I got married

      • I was a wee one of 21. 🙂

      • you got a big headstart on me

  12. The name bit is interesting. When I grew up it was common for a couple to be called Mr and Mrs ‘John Smith’. When women seemed to start keeping their own surname I found my conditioning made this a little difficult to accept. Now I find it a little easier to understand, especially if I (a guy) was required to give up my surname when I married. I wonder how guys would cope with that? Bruce

    • that is right – if you put it in that perspective it is understandable that women want to keep their own name–odd that it was ever something else
      I like what you said about conditioning – it made me understand a bit better


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