March 04, 2009

Greetings from a Feminist

I’ve been putting off going to the DMV to officially change my name. I just didn’t want to have to take off work to wait for hours in order to complete one little piece of paperwork.

I scheduled an eye exam back in January so that I would have time afterward to go and change my license. Only to show up and see that they were closed on Mondays.

Today, I tried again. I read that they opened at 7:00, so I decided to get up early and go before work. I arrived at 7:30. There was no line and I was able to go straight up to the counter and begin the process.

I decided before Mr. Right and I got married that I wouldn’t drop any of my names, just tack his on to the end. I would officially be “Mrs. Right” but wouldn't lose my maiden name and all it represents. Marriage didn’t take away the last 28 years, but rather added Mr. Right to my family.

I wanted my name to be “Brooke Middle Maiden Right” with “Middle Maiden” being my official middle name and Right being my last.

The Lady at the DMV told me that she wouldn’t be able to fit both names on there. Including the space, it would only be 16 characters. What if my middle name had been something foreign? Or just plan long? 16 characters isn’t asking all that much. Is it?

And as a friend pointed out try telling George Herbert Walker Bush that he can't have two middle names!

She said that the only alternative, if I wanted to keep all of my names was to hyphenate. I didn’t want to do that, so I asked if she could just enter a space instead of a hyphen. The lady next to her was nodding her head yes, while the girl two stalls down was insistent that it couldn’t be done that way “it all becomes one name”.

So I write to you, for the first time, as Brooke Middle Maiden-Right.

But I rebelled. When they asked me to sign my name (in TN the signature appears on the card) I just signed it Brooke Right.


  1. That's stupid. What's the difference between a space and a hyphen? I didn't want to take my husband's name when we got married, either--I didn't want to lose my identity while he kept his, and I DEFINITELY didn't want to keep my name but give our kids his. So we changed our names together. To something completely different! Mostly people have been really gracious about it, but when we went to get our names changed with Social Security, DMV, etc, people kept looking at us and being like, "Did you get married? Where's your marriage license?" even though we changed our names through a court order...the marriage license wouldn't have told them anything useful!

  2. What's the difference between a hyphen and a space. I on other hand couldn't wait to drop my last name. I went from 8 letters to 4. Beverly was long enough to write.

  3. I hesitated to change my last name. I went from a nice 5 letter last name to a hard to pronounce 10 letter last name. I still hate having to spell it for people all the time, but I love my hubby so it's a good trade off.

  4. ugh! why does everything have to be so difficult!!! they should have just let you do what you wanted... i'm having trouble with my work fixing my name...

  5. I hate the DMV, in general. They're all so into their little rules and regulations... bleh...

    They would have had a hell of a time with my name if I had decided to keep my maiden name. My maiden name is 11 letters, and my married name is 9 letters. Oh, and my middle name is 6. Good thing I only have a 3 letter first name! lol

  6. RIDICULOUS. I swear, every person I've met at the DMV has been annoying and rude -- I need to find the nice DMV people, because I know they must be out there!!

  7. I loathe the DMV and avoid it at all costs. Congrats on your new name! :)

  8. Hello Mrs. Right! I made my maiden name my middle name too.

    I can't believe they don't allow for more letters. You're so right, what if your last name was more than the allowed space? Then what? My brother-in-law had a neighbor who's name was about 18 letters - we referred to them as the alphabet family.

  9. :) Well, I didn't lose my identity when I married my sweet guy, just a few letters. I'm proud of my first family name, but how I thought of it was replacing an old life and original name with a new life that went by a new name. ;) I have no regrets. I'm sorry you had such a time with license change. I got pulled over after we married without having my license changed and had to convince the officer (who was friends with my husband) that I really was his wife! :D what a close one!

  10. why why why do some people have to make every simple thing in life difficult...this I will never understand..........anyways it is really nice to meet you Brooke hypen space whatever....I like your new handle!


  11. I think that's crazy too. i got remarried recently and because I have a daughter still in school, I wanted to keep her last name (my former hubby name) and add the new hubby name. So...because they wouldn't let me have 2 middle names (middle/former married) and would only let me use both last names if I hyphenated it, I thought of something and they said yes. For the time being, I officially changed my middle name from middle name to former married... so now my legal name is Jamie (former married name as middle) then new hubby name. I know it sounds crazy to do that, but makes it easier with kids. When my daughter is finished with school, then I will drop her daddies name from mine and go back to my birth middle name. I asked them what would happen if my name were really really long too and the lady said it wasn't.... she just didn't get it. I was definitely not going to use my former hyphenated with the current because I only want to use former hubby name when school issues arise.

    Have a great day!

    Jamie Former Name Current Name

  12. I took Hubby's last name because it is SO much easier to spell and pronounce! Plus I moved from the end of the alphabet to near the beginning.

    I'm proud of you for sticking to your guns :D

    ~ Katie

  13. I dont understand how the DMV can tell you what your middle name is when you already have a marriage certificate and a SSN card that shows what your name is.

    I hope you dont have to go back later to get it to match you marriage cert and SSN Card.

    PS I hypenated my last name and alot of times the two names have to be smooshed together because a computer program or another wont like hypes. My name is VERY hard to pronounce looking at it without the hypen!


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