I never thought I'd have five names and certainly never saw myself as the type who would complicate things by throwing a hyphen in the mix.
I've told this story here before but my given name is Paula Diane and oh, how I couldn't wait to drop that Paula when I married Darin and use my maiden name as my middle name. Not because Paula is a bad name. I like the name. I was named after my dad, Paul. But it just confused people and made me feel like I was somehow not being honest when I just went by it without feeling the need to explain that I'm not really Paula...I just play one on paper.
Yeah, the people at the dmv, social security office and especially that lively bunch over in customs do not appreciate your explanations. It only gives them a good excuse for scowling and treating you like a hardened criminal.
And just when I thought I was finally done with the complicated mess of an extra name, I went and got married again. The first time I did drop Paula. It was gone from my social security card, driver's license, medical records...gone. The only place it remained was my birth certificate. Ahh....I was free to be Diane at last and for many years.
Then I married Charlie, post 9-11, and that
So I took a big deep breath, bit my tongue real hard and said, "Fine. Paula it is. I'll be Paula again! The maiden name goes."
I was, after all, still me... only a me with five names married to a man named Charlie who had gone by Chuck (Chucky when he was younger) for 40 years.
You see, we met online and while he had only been back in the wonderful world of dating for a few months he had already experienced a little crazy (and not the good kind) with some of the women he'd met so Charlie was his online alias and since his name is actually Charles anyway, he didn't feel it was a lie.
We were still getting to know each other and I was none the wiser until I got an email from Chuck. "Who the heck is Chuck?! Who exactly are you anyway? Are you Charlie or are you Chuck?" And so he explained his situation and I explained to him that I liked Charlie better and he said he really did too but just could never get anyone to call him that growing up. So Charlie he would be.
And that is how I became the woman with five names and a hyphen married to Charlie, the man formerly (and in some circles still today) known as Chuck.
But really? What's in a name?