Changing my last name.
August 31, 2011 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Changing my last name. How do I do it and how do I explain it?

My dad was not a very nice person most of the time. I got out of there as soon as I could, but there was many years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. My dad made a big deal about owning things. He wrote his name on everything so everyone would know who it belonged to… his car, electrical extension cords, travel coffee mugs, underwear. I never liked his name anyway, but I felt labeled just like every other piece of property.
When I got married, I was glad to take my husband’s name. Everything got changed over after many years of marriage. My name on all my bank accounts, car stuff, credit cards, passport, driver’s license, monogrammed stationery, everything…
The marriage ended badly, but I didn’t change my name then. I felt like he couldn’t MAKE me do anything anymore. The time, money and effort it would take to change my name on everything was too much after a year of divorce negotiations. And I didn’t want my maiden name back.
My dad died an unhappy death shortly after. Now that he’s gone, a lot of weight is off our shoulders.
Now, many years later, I don’t really want to use my married name anymore, and I don’t want to go back to my maiden name.
I have dealt with a lot of issues, and I am in a very good place now. I am seriously considering starting my own business in the next year or two, when I’ve put some things in order. I would be the face of the business, and feel I wouldn’t be able to change my name then.
I think most people would understand why I would not want to use my married name anymore – I'm not married anymore. We had no kids.
How do I go about changing my name if I don’t want to go back to my maiden name? How do I explain it to my mom? I don’t want to have another conversation about how badly my dad hurt me, especially now that he’s dead, I feel like its water under the bridge. I don’t mind talking about it, but am tired of going over the details. The more I describe the details, the more I remember. I wouldn’t mind sitting down with all my siblings and siblings-in-law and explaining what I’m doing, although I expect some flack from my brothers, who never got the brunt of the attentions from my dad, and therefore can’t relate.
I could use my mother’s maiden name. My granddad wasn’t very nice either, but he’s been dead fifteen years. My grandmother is pretty awesome. But… that’s not my name either.
Looking at other questions here, I like where someone’s mom said, “I've had someone else’s name all my life, now I have my own.”
Can I just pick a name to use? If so, how do I explain it to my friends, coworkers, siblings, mom, 95-year old grandma? Is it totally unheard of to pick a new name?
Immediately after my dad died, uncles and cousins came out of the woodwork. It was like, now that he’s gone, we can be friends now. Do I need to explain anything to these people who I’m related to, but barely know?
If it’s relevant, my legal residence is in Kansas. My online searches have found the steps to take if I want to change my name after getting married, but I don’t understand how to do it otherwise. Hiring a lawyer is an option if its necessary, if it’s the best, but I'm not wealthy.
posted by saragoodman3 to Human Relations (46 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I like where someone’s mom said, “I've had someone else’s name all my life, now I have my own.”

There you go. You do not owe anyone any further explanation. Keep repeating that to yourself. You do not owe anyone any explanation.

I have a friend in a similar situation and she's going to pick her own name. Yes, you can go ahead and just pick one. I mean, there's a guy named Trout Fishing in America ffs. I believe you have to go to court and a judge has to determine that you're not running from the law or creditors. And you have to publish a public notice (this was generally in the dead-tree edition of the local paper, not sure how it's done now).
posted by desjardins at 12:48 PM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]

You can just pick a name to use. You don't have to explain it to anybody, really, but you can just say that you wanted a name all your own if people press you.

It usually is a pretty easy process, but that varies by location. It can be harder if you're not in the process of getting married or divorced, but the worst inconvenience I've heard is paying minimal fees to various governments for new ID, and having to publicize the name change (to assure the system that you aren't trying to duck the law with the name change).

Mostly, though, it's nobody's business but your own why you've chosen the name you did. Believe that, and it'll be easier to deal with anybody who thinks otherwise.
posted by ldthomps at 12:49 PM on August 31, 2011

Of course you can just pick any name you want. Something that just means you. It is not unheard of, people do it all the time.

To your mom, just inform her that you're doing it. When she asks why, tell her the truth. That you have bad memories associated with your maiden name.

To anyone else, just say you wanted a fresh start if they ask. Don't volunteer a reason otherwise.
posted by inturnaround at 12:50 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can change your name for whatever reason you want. No need for in-depth "talks" or laborious explanations. Things are only a big deal to other people if you make them a big deal.

Also, my dad wasn't an especially great guy. I'll be changing my last name to my maternal grandfather's here shortly. For no reason other than it fits who I am *now* a lot better.
posted by functionequalsform at 12:51 PM on August 31, 2011

"I have my reasons, and I am looking forward to celebrating my new name with you."

And then rock your new name like there's no tomorrow.

Names are all relative, anyway.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:53 PM on August 31, 2011

Personally, names are very personal (you're thinking "no duh", I bet), so feel no guilt for wanting to change yours. Other people have changed their names for lots of reasons.

From a practical point, if you wanted to come up with some way to sort of "ease people into the change," you could go the John Mellencamp route -- he was forced to change his name to "John Cougar" when he started recording, but always hated it, and always planned to change it. After he started getting famous, he added the "Mellencamp" back on, so for a while he was "John Cougar Mellencamp" to get people used to his real last name -- and after a couple years of people getting used to "Mellencamp", he dropped the "Cougar" part for good. Legally you'd probably be better off only doing the straight "You OldName" to "You NewName" in one fell swoop, but if you're worried about family, friends, etc. adjusting, you could use "You OldName NewName" for a while around people until they get used to it, then just drop the "OldName" and there you are.

And I agree that when it comes to "why", you don't need to have an in-depth conference about it with them. If they love you, they'll accept this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:54 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Changing your name is easy. Not as easy as if you were getting married, but still pretty easy. You just go to the court and fill out paperwork. There will be some stupid hoops you'll have to jump through, depending on your location. Me, I had to file paperwork with the court, put a notice in the local paper, and then go to court for ten minutes so a judge could approve my request. It's something that happens ALL. THE. TIME. and is not a big deal. Figure out what name you want, and the rest is easy. I know this seems like a big deal to you because you've never done it before, but it's actually very common.

On the paperwork, there will be a place for you to put what your new name can be. And, yes, it can be anything. You don't have to choose some family name or anything -- it can be whatever you want.

As for explaining your choice? "This name feels like me. I like it." You don't have to explain anything you don't want to. You're free to have the name you want. Anyone pushes for more information, you can just say, "There isn't more to say about it."
posted by meese at 12:54 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I know someone who changed her last time to something she picked out of the blue after a very ugly break-up. She just let everyone know about the name change and simply said, "Time for a fresh start!" She kept it light and breezy and no one questioned her much about it. To those who did, she shrugged and said, "Long story, I'll tell you about it someday when I'm ready."

I applaud her for taking that step. Keepin' it classy.
posted by HeyAllie at 12:54 PM on August 31, 2011 [14 favorites]

If anyone asks you just say that you're a rock star.

I mean that. It will get a laugh and they won't need to ask anymore. Persistent questioners are told that a rock star doesn't have to answer questions.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:54 PM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]

Sometimes when you explain that you changed your name for "personal reasons" or "for a fresh start" people think you are running away from something and may judge you negatively. Not saying it's fair, but it is what it is. The more cagey you are, the more they'll want to pry. I think you want to shut that faucet off, not invite more curiosity.

To nip that in the bud, develop an iron-clad answer that's honest enough for people not to question it. No ambiguity, end upbeat. Something like, "After my divorce, I didn't want to go back to my maiden name, so this was the perfect solution."
posted by juniperesque at 12:55 PM on August 31, 2011 [4 favorites]

It looks like Kansas is pretty similar to Texas in that, if you want to legally change your name, you have to file a petition with your county court (my spouse and I have been pondering a last-name-change since I got married a few years ago). I think the instructions and forms can be found at the Kansas Judicial Council website.
posted by muddgirl at 12:55 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, be prepared: The court filing fee is probably going to be between $100 and $200, plus you will have to pay the SS office, the motor bureau, etc. to get new forms.
posted by muddgirl at 12:58 PM on August 31, 2011

In the U.S. it is very easy to change your name. You simply have to demonstrate that you have changed your name personally in order to change it legally. I did this by going to the library and getting a library card in my new, entirely made-up never-used-before name. Once I had the library card with that name on it, I went to the DMV and changed my driver's license. And then everything else fell into place. Even changing my name with the Social Security Administration was simple, as was changing my name on my passport. The only two places that had an issue with this were the airlines' frequent flier programs and the gym at the University of Washington, which was totally flipped out that my name wasn't my husband's last name. Like, asking repeatedly if we were really married.

Anyway, it's astonishingly easy to do, although obviously it takes a lot of actual work. It's just that none of the work is difficult. As my library cards no longer have names on them, you'll have to start somewhere else. You can often just do this by having friends write you letters at your new name and current address, change your utility bills, things like that. Check with the DMV on what it will require, because if you can meet their requirements and get a new driver's license, everything else will be easy peasy.

As far as explaining yourself, make it simple: I'm a grown woman now, and no longer feel that it makes any sense to me to have either my father's or my ex-husband's name. I'd like my own name.

No need to trash either man, or go into the details of the relationships. Just explain that you want your own name. It's not radical, and it doesn't need to be made that way.

When I changed my name, I wasn't rejecting my father, who I adore and love and respect in every way. I just wanted my own name. I wanted something a little anonymous, and easy to spell. I picked out a word with connotations I liked. And it is now me, and my daughter carries that name too. I almost made up a last name for her, too, just so she'd have her own, but liked my new last name enough that I wanted to share it.

Best of luck.

Oh -- last names I know of people who just made them up: Coriander, Crimson (she's an artist), Barbara (her first name is Barbara too - she just liked the name, so used it for both names, as in Barbara Barbara), Jayne (her mother's first name).
posted by Capri at 12:59 PM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

I really like juniperesque's explanation.

Some people just won't care that you're changing your name, some will think you're kind of weird for changing your name, and possibly a few people will not want to accept that you're changing your name. I don't think any kind of explanation is likely to change people's minds, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.
posted by mskyle at 1:01 PM on August 31, 2011

Saying "I was never really fond of my other name" is as good a reason as any. You don't have to explain why. Some people do it because they aren't fond of the meaning behind it; some people do it because they hate the way it sounds.
posted by Madamina at 1:06 PM on August 31, 2011

My situation was very different from Capri - not sure where you live, Capri, but in New York State, the DMV required proof of legal name change in a U.S. court before they would change my driver's license.

Anyway, long story short, when Mr. Ipsum and I got engaged, I had assumed I would be taking his last name, as I never liked my own (hard to pronounce and spell). Turned out he had reasons for not wanting to keep that name, and wanted to change it to something else. At the time, he was not a U.S. citizen, and only here on a green card, so he could not go through the courts to change his name. The solution was that I instead changed my last name, which he then took upon marriage.

In researching the procedure, I found there was a particular form I would have to file with a county court. However, when I tried to call the county to get the form, I was told brusquely that they wouldn't just give it to me, I would have to hire a lawyer. I was not sure of how else to go about it if they wouldn't give me the form, so that's what I did. I went to the county bar association website where I could find a lawyer by specialty, and called the first one who came up for name changes. I filled out a form at her office, and she made all the requests/paperwork with the county. I had to to appear before a judge to officially declare that I wanted to make this change, then the lawyer had to publish an announcement a local paper, and then after a few weeks I got my official name change paperwork. I took this to the DMV, social security office, etc. to make the change on those records.

When we went to get the marriage license, my new driver's license had not arrived yet, so my ID still had my old last name. Luckily they took my name change paperwork as proof and I was able to fill out the marriage license with my new last name, and my fiance filling out his part to indicate that he would take my last name upon marriage.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 1:10 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ironmouth's answer made my day. I say, be a rockstar.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 1:15 PM on August 31, 2011

I have an acquaintence who grew up with the last name Slaughter, and after high school he removed the "S". As far as I know there was no life event to trigger the change, he just wanted to do it. I like the "I didn't want to go back to my maiden name, so I chose a new one." If you're entirely vague about the reason, people might wonder if you're on the lam (in fact, if it fits your personality, it could be fun to joke about it).
posted by chowflap at 1:24 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like juniperesque's answer too.

One I heard was, "I didn't feel my last name suited my professional persona." It was a last name that was pretty common could have been used to make infantile jokes (think a name like "Butt" or something). I thought it was slightly odd, but then I shrugged and figured it wasn't my name, I hadn't had to listen to the stupid jokes, and what did I care if he changed his name? Anyway, you could try something about "professional identity" or whatever and most people, like me, will probably shrug and move on.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:25 PM on August 31, 2011

I think all you really have to say is "I never really liked my last name. I always liked this name better." If you imply that you have a deeper personal reason you'd rather keep to yourself, people will think you're hiding something. But if you're nonchalant about it, most will take "I just felt like it" for an answer.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:50 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Me too on the family stuff. If I ever got divorced (unlikely, but whatever) I'd definitely pick a new name, because I certainly would never go back to my birth name.

As far as your family is concerned, they know how bad your father was. They need to accept that it is painful (or just not cool) for you to take back his name.

As far as friends/colleagues/acquaintances go, I would just let them know that you did it for important reasons. How much of that importance you share with them is up to you and depends on how much they care about you.

Good luck.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:08 PM on August 31, 2011

I would say that since I'm starting a new chapter in my life I want a new name to go along with it.

It doesn't say anything negative about your old name, and it's a perfectly good reason that doesn't require any further explanation. If somebody does pry you can tell them all about your new business without having to delve into the personal stuff.

I say it's about looking forward not back. Let your "excuse" be the same way.
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:30 PM on August 31, 2011

I just want to chime in with the point that this idea that we have our own special snowflake names, chosen with loving care by devoted parents who pore over baby name books, is a very recent invention. Look up "necronymy" (naming a child after a dead sibling - F. Scott Fitzgerald was named partly after a deceased older sister), "teknonymy" (after a child is born, his parents become known as "Mother of Soandso" and "Father of Soandso"), and look up history of surnames - in Scandinavia, for instance, most people were known by patronymics (Johansson, Johansdotter) until the 19th century and the need to keep tallies of people via census.

In many cultures, it was more the norm than not to change one's name to mark significant life events or because one got famous or, like Caligula, you wore adorable minature soldier's boots as a child and that nickname stuck like glue. The idea that you shouldn't change your name is odder than that you should, historically speaking.

So, depending on your state, it may be easier or harder to do the actual changing, and you want to be sure you LIKE your new name before you go to the trouble of officially changing it. But you owe nobody an explanation because it's nobody's business but your own what you call yourself. And don't let anyone make you feel like a weirdo for not liking your name and wanting to change it. Kudos to you for actually doing something about a name you dislike rather than just complaining about how awful it is to be saddled with it.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:32 PM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]

As far as explaining it to your family, you may be overestimating the degree to which this is necessary. Unless you really want to make a point to them - they really don't need to know, do they? I don't mean lie, but why would it come up? And there are very few situations where their use of what will be your former name will be a real problem for you.
posted by lemniskate at 3:37 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

As far as explaining it to friends, co-workers, and other non-relatives, I would go with something vague like "Oh, you know, family stuff, divorce, all that" and then move the conversation along to something else. Imply it's too boring to talk about.

Taking the opposite tack: I had one acquaintance who made up cards (like business cards) that said something about "In celebration of herself, So-and-so Newname wishes to announce her new name," and she handed them out. She was a UU minister and could pull that off; not everybody could.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:44 PM on August 31, 2011

Another vote here for Ironmouth's "I'm a rockstar" explanation!

Okay, so you don't want either your father's or your ex's names, and you don't sound too thrilled about your maternal grandfather's. How about either of your grandMOTHERs' maiden names? Or yeah, just pick one out of thin air that you like, preferably easy to spell & easy to pronounce. (I helped a friend choose her new last name a few years ago: after a nasty divorce there was no way she was keeping her ex's name, but her maiden name was an Iranian mouthful that came to 19 letters & six syllables that most Americans mangled. She ended up selecting a seven-letter/three-syllable name created from less than half her original maiden name.)
posted by easily confused at 4:05 PM on August 31, 2011

I did this in a different state, I took the name of a lesser known author I like because it was my choice. I made an appointment with the town hall and spoke to a 'probate judge' I think that was his title anyway. It took 15 minutes to talk to him; people are very understanding about these things and it is your right to change your name.

Honestly the question people asked me the most was "did you get married?" My answer was "no" and that was pretty much the end of it.

Do it for yourself it was a super liberating experience for me.

Congrats in advance :)
posted by ibakecake at 4:40 PM on August 31, 2011

What's Grandma's name and background? Olivia, and French? You could be Jane Deolivia. Do you love the woods? Alice Forrest.

Explanation? "It was time to get rid of my ex-husband's last name." But why is your Mom's name Smith? "It's a complicated family matter." No, Really, Why?? "I don't like to discuss it." all these answers have the benefit of being true.
posted by theora55 at 4:51 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

My mother eventually decided, after her second divorce (thirty years ago), not to keep any of the names of the men in her life (my father's/my last name, her second husband's, or her father's ("maiden") name.

She legally took her middle name as her last name ("Frances") and thus has no middle name now. She later married again without changing names.

My wife kept her own name (for both professional and feminist reasons) -- not very unusual these days.

"I wanted to have my own name" is sufficient explanation.
posted by lathrop at 4:52 PM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

I changed my last name. It was easy. You don't have to explain to anyone.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:16 PM on August 31, 2011

Response by poster: hearing that many of you dont think it too strange makes me feel better.

now: where to find a new name?
the first place I'm looking is my favorite parts of Scotland, but many of the words are too foreign to pronounce.

where else would you look for inspiration?
I would like a unique middle name and a really easy, common, last name.
posted by saragoodman3 at 7:41 PM on August 31, 2011

saragoodman3: "Can I just pick a name to use? If so, how do I explain it to my friends, coworkers, siblings, mom, 95-year old grandma?"

If you do change your name, however you handle it with other people, you should probably really never ever explain it to Chinese acquaintances. (I assume that if you're living in Kansas and mostly worried about the bureaucratic song-and-dance, you are not yourself Chinese.)

To advertise in the newspaper that you have officially renounced your family name...the only way I can imagine this not being horrifically awkward would be if you were to carry on blithely as though you had no idea what you had done. Actually, I think it'd be pretty awkward even then, but you've clearly already decided, and anyway I realize it's not my place to judge how strongly you loathe your father.

For example, do you associate at all with anyone who knew your father? Because---and forgive me if I'm projecting onto another culture---it seems like if you were to explain this back story and then ask them to address you by this new name, you would in effect be demanding that they takes sides in whatever dispute you had with your father. It would make me very uncomfortable, especially if I knew your father well enough to feel some obligation to his memory.

I'm sorry to be the lone voice of dissent here, if I am that, but I think it's important for you to know that not everyone would think it as trivial a matter as people in this thread apparently do. And I even question whether the people in this thread really "dont think it too strange." That might be the wrong interpretation. Considering how they have consistently also recommended that you don't explain the motive, maybe they're not unaware of the implications.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:06 PM on August 31, 2011

Someone I knew once changed their name. I thought it strange... but then I thought *her* strange (we're no longer acquainted :p ) and her reason for doing it pretty silly.

I've favourited theora55's suggestions above because they're graceful responses that don't try to make nothing of the fact that you've changed your name. If it really was nothing, you wouldn't have changed it. People are smart enough to realise that.

That said, it's not people's right to get all the gory details if it's uncomfortable for you to talk about. People should also be smart enough to realise this.

"It's a complicated family matter," is an awesome response.
posted by springbound at 8:55 PM on August 31, 2011

Some people who know that you are divorcing will just assume that your New name is your Maiden name.

Others can just get a response like "it was something I'd been considering for a while now, I'm glad I was able to do it."
Just because someone asks a probing question doesn't mean you have to answer that exact question.

Q. Why did you change your name?
A. It was something I'd been considering for a while now, I'm glad I was able to do it.
Q. Was there a particular reason you changed it?
A. It really took me a while to find a name that fit me.
A. Oh yes, it took me about 3 months to file the papers.
A. No, not a lot of paper work was involved.
A. I was interested in finding a Scottish name to match my heritage.

and on and on until they get bored...
kind of an Emily Latilla approach to answering rude questions.
posted by calgirl at 9:19 PM on August 31, 2011

Oh, and here is at least one list of Scottish last names and clan names.
posted by calgirl at 9:22 PM on August 31, 2011

I like where someone’s mom said, “I've had someone else’s name all my life, now I have my own.”

Is pretty much why I'm thinking about changing mine.
posted by mleigh at 1:12 AM on September 1, 2011

I changed my name in the process of a divorce, to my mother's maiden name. Then my father and I began reconciling.

It was his wife who noticed the "wrong" last name on a Christmas package I'd sent them. When asked, I quoted Shakespeare, "What's in a name?" For a while, my father's handwriting on mailings was neat through my first name, then the last name would seem... scribbled. But nothing more was said.

The point is, it's your name, and your life, and no one has the right to tell you what to do with it, nor does anyone deserve/require an explanation.
posted by MuChao at 8:32 AM on September 1, 2011

You can pronounce your new name however you want to pronounce it. Don't worry about the so-called "proper" traditional Scots/Gaelic pronunciations.

However, you might get irritated after a while with people stumbling over how to say your new name -- so I suggest choosing one that is straightforward enough to avoid that. A friend was born with the last name Tew, which was constantly getting mangled (Too? Chew? Teeyew?), so he went with Carlyle, which sounds pretty much as it's written.
posted by vickyverky at 11:12 AM on September 1, 2011

Response by poster: thank you for all of your time and effort with your responses. If I decide to go through with all of this I will definitely take my time and think it through.
posted by saragoodman3 at 12:42 PM on September 1, 2011

Response by poster: I've got a few names in mind that I might want to try out. Any suggestions, ideas, how I can 'try out' a new name without being totally flaky/creepy/strange?

say it out loud in front of a mirror
write it down a few million times
practice filling out a form (without sending it in)
look up the name to make sure I like the meaning
google the name

I will be taking on a middle and last name that is all my own.
posted by saragoodman3 at 12:50 PM on September 1, 2011

Do you have any friends who you can "practice" the name with? They can start calling you by your new name for awhile on a trial basis, with the understanding that you might change it later. Then you can start widening the people you tell, before you finally make it legal.
posted by muddgirl at 1:12 PM on September 1, 2011

I've given this advice before (looooong ago), but I can't find it now.

Think up every single mispronunciation you can imagine. Do any of them really bother you? It's kind of foolish to pick a name specifically because you don't think it'll be mispronounced -- every name gets mispronounced. My last name is a standard English word that everyone knows how to spell and say, and they hear it very regularly -- I deal with mispronunciations and misspellings all the time. What you want to check for is if any of those mistakes really bother you. (Stupid example: if you want Colbert pronounced Col-Bear, will it get under your skin if people say Col-bert? If you want Bachmann, will you get tired of explaining there are two n's?)

Pay attention to what stupid jokes are obvious, given the name. Like mispronunciations, I think it's impossible to find a name that doesn't suggest any stupid jokes. The best route, therefore, is to pick a name whose obvious jokes annoy you the least. So, if you like the name "Sun" will it drive you crazy to have people say you've got a sunny disposition? If you like the name "Pryor," will you get tired of being asked "prior to what?" Make sure you're aware of what people will say about the name, and if it'll annoy you.

Lastly.... Just... Go for it. The above suggestions are ways to prepare for and be aware of what annoyances go along with a name. But, like I said, every name gets mispronounced. Every name inspires jokes. That's part of having a name. Find something that feels right, and you're good as gold.
posted by meese at 4:26 PM on September 1, 2011

Response by poster: Meese, this is one of my only reservations. What if I change my name... THEN realize theres a dirty joke or mispronunciation that I cant live with? (change my name again I guess? ;) )

can you think of any annoyances that go along with the name 'Thomas'?
being spelled Tomas?
posted by saragoodman3 at 12:36 PM on September 2, 2011

I would pronounce "Tomas," if I ran across it with no context, as toh-MAS. Kinda Spanish-like. Is that your intention?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:55 PM on September 2, 2011

A few years ago, I remember reading about how some actress chose her kid's name: she got down to a shortlist of a half dozen or so possible names, then stood at the bottom of her staircase and yelled them up towards the soon-to-be-born kid's room --- on the theory that, sooner or later!, every kid's mom needs to yell at them. So yes, once you get to your own shortlist, try it out: say the names out loud to yourself, pretend you're answering the phone with the new names ('hello, Newname's residence!') print it, test-drive a signature; maybe you can also draft a willing friend or two to call you by each one for a day or so, just to see how each name feels in actual use.

You'll probably never get a name that can't be turned into a joke by somebody; fortunately you're past junior high school, where that is at its worst! Oh, and don't forget initials: see what any prospective combo spells!
posted by easily confused at 4:25 PM on September 4, 2011

I like the suggestion of using your middle name as the last name, if you have one and like it. It's yours, without all the baggage, and will be easy to explain to family.
posted by redlines at 4:00 AM on December 24, 2011

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