Saturday, February 26, 2011

On changing my name when I get married.

Say my name, say my name...

Or don't.

Because what is is now, is not what it'll be in two weeks.

I wasn't planning to change my name when JD and i went to the town hall to file for our marriage license, but I wasn't planning to keep it, either.  I'd thought a medium amount about the concept of changing my name, and had started multiple blog posts dissecting the many good and bad reasons to change my name, and the many good and bad reasons to keep my name-- because there are a lot of both, for each-- but I hadn't actually come to a decision yet,  I wanted my decision to be well thought out, in line with all my beliefs and desires, and consistent with all my other political and personal opinions.

In the end?  It turns out in my town, when you register for marriage, each spouse has to put down what hir post-marriage name will be on the form.

And I did not know that until I was there, filling out the form.

And I didn't have time to think.

And I ended up putting down JD's last name.

Would I have done so if I had thought about it?  I don't know.  Would I have done it if we hadn't argued about something small the night before?  Would I have done so if it had been a different time of day, and I was more awake?  Again, I really don't know.

So I made the decision, and I made it on the moment instead of in a reasoned manner.

Honestly?  I think it's good that I didn't consider it too much.  Whatever I had decided, I'd have questioned it-- because there are good and bad points to both decisions, and I could see them both, and i find it a very close decision.  I know Jessica Valenti, in her (not very well done) book about double binds goes off on women who change their name... but why is it so much worse than heels or makeup or short skits, all of which I (and Valenti!) do too?  I am a feminist, my politics are feminist, but I live in a world that is not fully feminist, and I want to have the same last name as my husband-- and JD, I knew,was and  is not about to change his name.

So, as it turns out, having the same last name is more important to me than keeping my name.

So, in two weeks time I'll be Amanda Y instead of Amanda X.  And you know what?  I'll still be me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I love love, of course I love Valentine's Day.

Forget the roses and chocolates and stupid ideas about it's culturally expected to express love an affection to a romantic partner.  At it's core, Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love, not about things or the exchange of things.  (Yes, I did get JD a present-- he got some organic beef jerky, bison jerky, and little... beef... sticks?  like  slim jims, but real meat. And yes, he already got them, so that he could nom on them during the Duke game.)  But I'm a total sap for love-- I think we should all tell the people we love that we love them more often, whether they're out romantic loves, family members, or just friends.  Just... don't get hung up on the stupid commercialization of the holiday, which is so steeped in outdated gender roles and material things.  Instead, get in touch with love!  Kiss your pets, your partner, send a letter to your best friend from college, or your old roommate, or just post a cheery message to your sibling or cousin's facebook!  Reach out and emote in a positive way!

Also, last year I wrote a couple of posts on Valentine's Day.  I link to them below!
Valentine's Day
Ghosts of Valentine's Past

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Being Groped By a Stranger, or My First TSA Pat-Down

As I write this, I'm sitting in Boston Logan airport, past security, and at my gate.  I think Logan is a really good airport, actually, in terms of efficiency, ease of access, and generally friendly staff.  So I want you to know this is not a complaint about the airport, but about the procedure itself.

When I travel, I usually travel with JD.  This is the first time I've traveled without him in years, actually.  We like being together, and we don't really have any reasons to travel alone, currently.  We'd discussed the backscatter vs the patdown before, and I'd come to the conclusion that, as much as I didn't like the idea of being groped, it was better than being exposed to unknown radiation risk, especially since both of my parents have had cancer, with my dad's skin cancer reappearing multiple times.  In our ideal scenario, i would request to be patted down in a private room with JD present.  But JD wasn't there today, and I was nervous and so, I got the pat down in public.

My terminal wasn't very full-- only a few people behind me to watch the patdown-- but it was still unnerving to be patted down in full view of others, because it really does involve groping.  The woman administering it was very professional, and told me everything she was doing in advance, but it was still unnerving to have someone touching areas that I generally don't let people who are not JD touch.  And in public.  I didn't get the breast cup and lift some people described, but the crotch cupping and but and breast contouring were quite unnerving as it was.

It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, but for some reason, I still feel dirty and embarrassed.    Not dirty like I did anything bad, but dirty like skin-crawling.  It WAS embarrassing though, and it was strange and I did not like it.  I will still pick it over the backscatter, but now that it isn't just a hypothetical, my "whatever, I'll choose the sexual assault option" grumbling is less hypothetical.  I wasn't harmed in anyway, but... in a culture that does value bodily privacy and autonomy, it isn't pleasant to be touched in ways you don't approve of , in public, by a stranger.

Also: I forgot to take my liquids bag out of my purse.  They didn't notice that, though.