With a last name like Steinke, you'd think I'd be ready to let it go. After growing up being called Lisa Stinky, Stinky Steinke, Stanky Steinke, (you get the idea) you'd think I'd be over the moon with excitement about finally saying, hasta la vista, baby to my surname and hello, dahling to something (anything!) that doesn't conjur up the image of a foul odor or a private body part. But even after all the years of kids mocking it and people mispronouncing it (I had a boss for over five years who never said it correctly) something bizarre happened. It kind of grew on me.
An email address was born from it. Friends began calling me Steinke to differentiate me from the other Lisa's in our circle (hey, it was a popular first name in the, er, early 70's). And Suddenly...it worked. Like a shirt you bought, never wore, then stuffed in the back of your closet only to rediscover and wonder why you never gave it a proper chance. I'd finally settled into the name, wore it proudly and embraced the German sound -- Fraulein Steinker!
And then I got engaged.
And honestly, it was the second thing I thought about after saying YES. (In case you're wondering...the first thing was- damn, I love the ring!)
I knew I was going to take my fiance's name. I just wasn't sure if Steinke would take the trip with me. Would I say goodbye completely or would I hyphenate? It had been with me all these years. It was what got me noticed (for better or worse!) all those first days of school. It was the call that came during battles of red-rover and junior high softball games. It was my pet-name for many a high school boyfriend, and most assuredly got me some extra attention when my resumes on colored paper (remember those?) started flying out in the mid-90s. The Stinky, Stanky, Steinke name has done me proud, and I'd like to think I held up my end of the bargain in return.
So, alas, I decided to split the difference. Legally, I'd change my name to Lisa Dannenfeldt (we can talk about the world's longest last name another time). But professionally, I'd keep it the same. Afterall, I would hate to miss out on being introduced as anyone other than Lisa Stinky during our next book signing.
How did you feel about giving up your name? (Or did you choose not to?) Leave a comment and be entered to win one of two copies of Chelsea Handler's latest Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang!