Monday, May 31, 2010

Who am I, and what am I supposed to do with all these rings?

We returned from our honeymoon to Quebec City and Montreal yesterday evening thoroughly exhausted by our week of post-wedding vacation. Another lesson learned: you don't know what you'll want to be doing the week after your wedding until you get there! I'm still glad we didn't go to Sandals or anything like that, but, next time I'm planning a honeymoon, remind me to build in a few quieter days in a town I don't feel the need to explore so much. I am SO GLAD to be going back to a short work week.

Anyway, I'll cover all that honeymoon stuff in another post. I wanted to write tonight about the start of what will assuredly be a long process: that of figuring out what the hell to call myself and what to have others call me. (Also, how to juggle my various rings!)

Once I finally got back to my apartment on the day after the wedding, it wasn't long before I logged onto Facebook to change my status to "married" and tack on Jon's last name to my own. That second part was perhaps a bit rash, given my confusion on the name issue, but, hey, I was excited! I figured I could go by whatever I wanted to no matter what Facebook said, and that this was merely a standard Facebook-era acknowledgement of a marriage. As we opened gifts later that evening, we received many checks made out to "Mr. and Mrs. Jon Ross" or "Jon and Kathleen Ross." That didn't much bother me, except for the fact that they all had to go into Jon's bank account... boo! On Monday when we arrived at our hotel in Quebec City, there was a note in our room addressed to "Monsieur & Madame Ross," which was pretty badass, I have to admit. (I think it was the French.)

Beyond that, there wasn't really any name business to deal with early in the week -- we primarily had to worry about not offending anyone with our nonexistent French skills. Even so, the issue stayed on my mind.

We got to Montreal on Friday afternoon, and as Jon checked us in, the lady at the desk asked me for my name so it would be in the computer as well. "Kathleen," I told her, and she responded by asking for my last name. "Uhh..." Big awkward pause. Jon looked at me... "Ross." Jon snickered and nudged me with his elbow, and I sort of shrugged as that same icky feeling I had at the marriage license counter came over me. Kathleen Ross. It just doesn't feel right. I imagine there is a standard set of growing pains that accompanies the name change process, but I'm not sure where that ends and my actual discomfort with a new name begins.

I've already said that at my current job I won't change anything. I certainly don't want the IT hassle, or the confusion from coworkers who might think I'm someone different. (If anything, I'll do what I did on Facebook and add "Ross" to my email signature or something.) But, that moment at the reservation desk made me think harder about what I'd like people to call me, now and in the future. Frankly, I think I'd still like to be Kathleen Poe (but I'd sort of feel like a tool changing it back on Facebook). Mrs. Ross sounds weird as hell, but I get that it's one of those things you say to women who just got married. I think Kathleen Ross is even weirder than Mrs. Ross, because it's more clearly referring to me than to someone's mother.

The paperwork is already working its way through the system, though, and if I want to legally remain the same as always, at this point I'm sure the process would be a ridiculous pain in the ass to halt or turn around. No biggie, I can just go by whatever I want, no matter what my drivers license says, right? All well and good, if only I knew what I wanted. I get the sense that it will indeed be a process -- though I'll still be Kathleen Poe at my office, when I eventually change jobs, I may start going by Kathleen Poe Ross. I've always said that Poe is a crappy middle name, but I know that Virginia is still there in the middle of things and Poe Ross is a kind of compound surname sans hyphen.

As you can tell, it's complicated. Nearly as fraught is the conundrum of what to do with my rings. I started out traditional style, with my wedding ring then my engagement ring on my left ring finger. After two days straight of being on my feet and entertaining folks and then a long day of air travel, I decided that my fingers might be better suited to a somewhat unorthodox reorganization of rings -- engagement ring (the skinnier band) first, then wedding band. A couple of days in, it seemed to me that the two rings weren't cooperating together, so I bumped my college class ring from my right hand in favor of my engagement ring. I rocked that look for a few days but then decided that it felt odd to have such a tall ring on my right hand, so I went back to the first traditional arrangement. That's where I am at the moment, but who knows what I'll feel like tomorrow!

If you've made it this far, I applaud your endurance. Married folks, how long did it take you to adjust to your name changes and new jewelry? If you didn't change your name, did you just cruise along as normal with no mental anguish? Are you a rebel who puts her engagement ring on her finger first? Heavens!


  1. My mom has always gone as Margaret Bergan Davis. Double last name, sans hyphen. :)

  2. I still have mental anguish about my name and I didn't change it. And I don't know what it's so difficult, scary, icky-feeling - if you figure it out maybe let me know? It seems so easy for most people. It's okay if I say/write Amy Works but it totally weirds me out if someone else says it now (once I got past the initial honeymoon bit). It's really like a daily back and forth for me.

    On the ring front, I actually have to get my engagement ring re-sized because (as the jeweler explained, which makes sense) the engagement ring sits higher on your finger once the wedding ring is on so it probably needs to be adjusted a little bit. She suggested waiting until summer so it's not too tight. Maybe that would help you too? Either way, I'm there with you awkward rings and all!

    The wedding was wonderful and we had a blast!

  3. I'm still not quite used to my married name, and it's been almost 10 months. I finally got my new license and passport, but there are still a few odds and ends in my maiden name. I think it's totally normal to go through an adjustment process!

    P.S. Can't wait to hear your honeymoon recap. My husband and I are going to Montreal and Quebec City in July!

  4. A girl from my office didn't change her name, then after having a kid wished she went by her husband's name, at least socially, so that she and her kid would have the same last night.

    Of course, there are lots of random thoughts on this, like why does the kid have to have your husband's name, etc, but at that point she thought it would be weird to change it.

    Good luck deciding for yourself! Sounds like Jon is super supportive of all options. Yea!

  5. I still feel awkward when people call me by my married name. It's probably because I've kept my maiden name at work so it's like being thrown into a cold pool when I realize my married name sounds like the head cheerleader from Saved By The Bell ;). For me, using my maiden as my middle was a good bridge, but I think for you keeping all names is good-- you can do whatever you want!

    My only advice is to be ready for morons when you change your name at the driver's license place and Social Security. Because unless you do the traditional they will look at you like you have five heads. But in the end, you will be victorious.

    As for my rings, I had them done by the same person in NYC so they are designed to fit together so I wear them the boring old fashion way. I probably need to have them melded together but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Take some time to explore.... no one says there's one way to do anything! :)

  6. Thanks y'all! This is so great to hear, and I'm glad I'm not alone in my agony! ;) I'm sure it will work itself out in time...