“…you’ve always tried to make choices that are right for you and the people you love. Give it some more time and a little more thought, and I’m sure the right thing for you to do will present itself without question.” – Jen
I’ve been thinking a lot about my “name” issue and reached a conclusion. But I gotta ‘splain, so check it, yo.
There were a lot of you all in favor of me switching to Rob’s last name. I like the concept in a vacuum, but my point of hesitation is the one where everyone thinks: “Oh, she just took his name because she’s the woman and he’s the man.”
Also, I’m 27, and this is my third name. That’s an average of being named less than once a decade. Enough already, you know! In each case, the name was given to me because of a man handing it down, and that makes my feminist sensibilities twitch. I’ve never had my “own” name, and while that’s not the biggest deal in the world, it bothers me a tiny bit.
Najla pointed out that I could take this opportunity to switch my last name to whatever I wanted, even though I’m married. It had occurred to me, too, but I dismissed the idea as being too… something. Maybe the word is just plain “lonely”. I realized that the end of the day, I not only want a new name, I really do want to share a name with Rob, no matter how clunky the end result is. There are three options for that: he changes his name to mine, I change my name to his, or we both pick something new. Because of his family ties, he isn’t willing to change his name, and I respect that.
So that’s part one.
This is not a photo of me. Duh.
We do have the same name, though. Amber Lynn came (hehe!) onto the porn scene in 1984 (I was born in ’82), and is one of the better known porn stars, even today (partly because of her charity work). As you can imagine, my middle name doesn’t see the light of day much.
It was chosen for me because it’s my mother’s middle name, and Amber Lynn is pretty enough I suppose, porn connotation aside, but as long as I’m shedding old names, I figured, why not get rid of the moniker of this porn star and make a new name for myself? It will also be nice not to have the middle name of someone who told me I was worthless and stupid, and left scars on my body from the physical assaults. You know?
So that’s part two.
Part three, of course, was picking a new middle name, which I narrowed down to two requirements:
1. It had to sound plausible as a last name. This clears up the whole “I’ve never had my own last name” issue, at least to my satisfaction. To get a good list to choose from I went to babynames.com and looked at the names considered gender neutral. This worked well; virtually all made great sounding family names.
I wanted it to sound like a surname so that it reads as a maiden name, sort of like Hillary Rodham Clinton (no hyphen). I like that; you can call her Hilary Clinton, but if you’re being proper, you use all three names, and that’s how I’m treating the middle name for me, too. Holly inadvertently gave me this idea, and I’m giving that my own twist.
2. The second requirement is that it just had to start with M. Here’s the part you start wondering what I’m smoking, but bear with me. The M is a sturdy letter, visually. It has two strong, wide-set feet. You pronounce it only one way as far as I know; the M knows what she’s all about. By using a lot of them, you can say “yes” in a sassy way, as in “Mmmmmhmmm!”, and the “Me and My M” song was always my favorite Sesame Street cartoon. (If you think this last bit, a one and a half minute song from Sesame Street, could not possibly have factored into my picking a name for myself, you are so wrong.)
So there it is. I go to probate court in my official hometown of Trumbull, Connecticut, turn in the papers, swear I’m not trying to commit fraud, write a check and I am newly, legally christened. (And yes, I’m a libertarian and think that having to file with the court to “officially” do ANYTHING is ridiculous, but that’s the way it is.)
The hardest part about all this is You.
Well, maybe not YOU, but someone. Someone isn’t going to “get it”. Someone is going to hear what I’ve done, and they’re going to roll their eyes. Someone is going to call me silly, stupid, and over-dramatic. Someone is going to make fun. And I get it, because as much as I believe in this, I am fully aware that it is “weird”. It doesn’t feel weird to me, it feels wonderful! But it IS weird, and I’m self-conscious of that. I’m blessed with a pretty thick skin and the full knowledge that not everyone needs to approve before I do something, but it is still going to be really hard to break this news to the more judgmental people in my life who will need to know. (Though I called my grandmother and told her, and she’s pretty happy, and Rob is happy, so haters be damned!)
So! WHAT THE HELL IS IT ALREADY?! Ready?
Amber Marlow Blatt
OMG! I typed that and now I’m crying! I’m happy! Please be happy with me!
It’s a big name, I know. A mouthful. The name equivalent of unbuttoning my pants and letting my big old belly hang out, standing in the middle of the room with my feet planted in a wide stance (just like the letter M), stopping up the flow of traffic at the house party, I’m-in-your-way-and-I-like-it kind of name. The Marlow softens it, I think, kind of a cushion to your forehead after the Amber, and right before the Blatt knocks you, twack! like a two-by-four. It’s quiet, and warm and solid.
Everyone has to make their own path in life, I just wish that mine wasn’t so strange, sometimes. In the end, though, if I get to be here, it was worth it. Plus, hey! It’s the Amber show. I can do whatever I want.