New Kid on the Hallway says (in the comments here): “Anecdatally, only one of my law school classmates plans to keep her name, and there are a ton of married chicks in my class. And my classmate regularly announces she’s keeping her name because her fiance’s name is pretty ugly – I don’t for a second think that’s the only reason why she’s keeping her name, given the woman in question, but I find it interesting that she feels the need to deflect.”
I could totally be NKotH’s friend. (And not just because she’s cool.) I totes tell people that too, when they ask. Partner’s last name is kind of ugly, well, not ugly so much as slimy. Like, in murder mysteries, partner’s last name is either the murderer or a skeevy red herring.
It is also true that there are many other reasons I would not change my name even if his were awesome instead of the opposite of awesome. Laziness is a big one. It being my name is another. Me being a professional with a professional history etc. another. (My only feminist statement is implicit– I do it because I can without guilt.)
When people ask, I generally do say, would you want Partner’s last name? Maybe that is a bit of defensiveness. But it’s also a way of not offending people who have made other decisions, because only my SIL and MIL have had that same choice-set and made a different choice. (With them, I say it’s because of my career. They understand.)
I do that a lot… pick the least offensive reason that doesn’t judge the intrusive questioner’s choice. It makes life easier, especially on issues I truly could not give a rat’s patootie about. (I can think of lots of other examples here, but I’m not going to give them because uh, I’m fairly sure they’ll upset some readers, and that might derail the point of this post.)
‘Fess up. Do you do sometimes pick the least offensive answer when someone asks an intrusive question? Examples?