Sunday, September 30, 2007

Purple is the new... pink?

If you know me at all, you know that purple is my favorite color. Because I was in charge of things back in high school, purple became my graduating class's color, as well. Never mind that the school colors were blue and white; every Homecoming week the Class of 1999 sported purple "P's" on their faces, and we girls found glittery purple eyeshadow to paint our eyelids with. The year I planned prom (junior year), everything was purple (and silver); our senior yearbook cover was purple, a fitting tribute to (I like to think) me. Among my two best friends from high school and I, we can pretty much count on the fact that purple anything will be a well-received gift.

So, of course, purple is a natural choice for my -- sorry, our -- wedding colors. After just a few weeks of casual (I promise! Only casual!) browsing through pictures of invitations and bridesmaid dresses, it's pretty clear that the mainstream wedding industry is not going to be easy to work with. Brides today are obsessed with pink -- usually in combination with brown -- and at best, I've found things in pale lavenders. Not horrible, but not ideal, either.

For instance, these invitations would be totally adorable in either a pale or vibrant purple, but it only comes in pink or blue:

So imagine my delight when I picked up a newspaper today at the grocery store and found this article in the Features section: The color purple: Fashion's bright idea for fall. I'm glad the fashion world has finally caught on, because purple is pretty much the best color in the world. It's slated to be popular this coming spring as well, so maybe the wedding world will catch on. The front-runner in this industry is J Crew, which has gorgeous wine-colored bridesmaid dresses in its fall collection:

Ignore the astronomical prices of these dresses; maybe I can find them on clearance in December.

Purple is also my go-to makeup color. I have to say that purple eyeshadows complement my eyes and skin pretty damn well, and since I recently ran out of most of the purples in my makeup bag and had a day off last week (and because it's well-established that when I have a day off I like to go shopping), I somehow acquired a whole bunch of new purple eyeshadows:

Estee Lauder Pure Color eyeshadow in plum pop and rose confetti, part of a free gift-with-purchase (I bought a new eyeliner I've been lusting after ever since I got a sample in another free gift a couple years ago, in charcoal, and a lip gloss in tender berry):

Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Trio in come heather, which I bought to get the Clinique gift-with-purchase:

And an eye shadow duo in mochaberry, which came in the free gift:

I probably should have thought about all my purchases a little more, because the come heather and Estee Lauder freebie are very similar, and the mochaberry is enough in that same color palette to take the place of either one, so if I had planned a little better I could have bought something else completely different instead. But that's OK, because these will all still get plenty of use, and they are all strong contenders for wedding-day makeup.

So here's hoping that other people start to think of purple the way I do, and that I have many more purplish things to choose from in the next year and a half. Although even if there aren't, I won't be too upset, because I already have strong intentions of designing our own invitations (wedding theme/motif is already decided on and is to be unveiled in a future post). All I really need are the purple bridesmaid dresses.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Name change?

In the four weeks we've been engaged, the three questions I've been asked most frequently are:
1. Have you picked a date?
2. Where are you going to get married?
3. Are you going to change your name?

The answers to 1 and 2 are May 2009, hopefully Memorial Weekend, somewhere in Louisville.

The answer to #3 is a bit more complicated, and I'm surprised by how often people ask me about it.

Growing up, I had mixed feelings about changing my name when I got married. I don't have a problem becoming Mrs. So-and-so, because I think it's ingrained enough in our society (and so many other societies) that it's a natural thing to do. I don't have a problem with women who keep their names either, but it's low down on my own feminist issues list. However, whenever I've imagined my name as a physician, I've always imagined becoming Dr. MaidenName, because when I was 12, I didn't have any other last name to put behind the title Doctor. So now I'm stuck. Do I become Dr. So-and-so or stick with Dr. MaidenName?

Right off the bat, I have to tell you that I don't like the idea of hyphenating. Especially not with our last names, which are both two syllables and eight letters long. What a pain for bubbling into Scantrons! I knew someone in high school whose parents combined their names to make a new family surname, and it worked pretty well, I guess mostly because I didn't know either of her parents before they were married so I didn't think it sounded weird. There are a couple iterations of combining our names that don't sound horrendous, but I'm still not a big fan of the idea. My paternal grandfather is really involved with our family genealogy (traceable back to 1635, when Isaac MaidenName came to Ipswich, MA), and I'm glad no one in the family changed their surname between then and now to make tracing our roots more difficult (although, yes, records of those things always exist). FH's (geez, am I really using these wedding abbreviations already?) family name is also easily recognizable as having come from a particular country/region, and I respect that as well, so I wouldn't want to combine our names into a new one and lose those heritages. Bottom line, it's just weird.

It used to be that it was very difficult to get your name changed on your medical license, so that women kept whichever last name they had when they graduated, to avoid licensing hassles. I don't think this is as much of a problem now, but I'm not sure. I've also heard the argument that it is very difficult for female physicians to re-establish themselves if they change their names. Thus, if they begin their careers as Dr. MaidenName and then get married and become Dr. So-and-so, they tend to lose a lot of peripheral referrals and professional contacts. Similarly, women who start out as Dr. So-and-so and then get divorced often keep their former husband's last name for the sake of their practices. So I used to say that if my career had gotten off the ground by the time I got married, that would be reason enough to keep my maiden name professionally. Needless to say, I never did publish my master's thesis, and even if I had, I'm sure no one would be looking it up on PubMed and trying to correlate it with my future publications, so that argument is out.

In all likelihood, I will graduate from medical school before we get married, so that might be argument enough to keep my maiden name professionally, but in reality, I probably will not have applied for my medical license by the time I get married, so there would still be time to make a change if I wanted to. And if I did change my name, right after graduation would be a perfect time to do it, because I would be known as Dr. So-and-so beginning with my first hospital. (And obviously, I'm not planning on getting divorced.)

In the setting of the field of medicine I think there are other factors to consider. My friend, an internal medicine intern getting married to another medicine intern in April, says she is going to change her name so that people always know that her hot husband is married to her, another physician working in the same hospital, who hears the same gossip everyone else does. This will decrease any chance that a nurse might try to make a move on him, thinking that his wife would never know. OK, that's a little silly, but it is nice to instantaneously tie yourself personally and professionally to a colleague by way of the same name. "I just met Dr. Tim Williams. Is he by any chance married to Dr. Jennifer Williams in medicine? That's what I thought!"

On the other hand, two Dr. Williams can create confusion. "Do you mean Dr. Williams the internist or Dr. Williams the gastroenterologist?" (This often happens with father/son physicians. "Dr. Johnson-the-ENT senior or junior?") At my school, we refer to "Dr. Mr. Lastname" vs. "Dr. Mrs. Lastname." In any case, I don't need to worry about this, because FH is not going to be a physician.

But what if FH becomes a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter or White House correspondent, and I actually do run for public office? Is there any sense in keeping our names different just to make it that much harder for nosy people to link us together? Probably not. It will still be pretty obvious that we're married, so what does it matter which names we have? And any potential conflict of interest posed by the fact that I'm a politician and he's in journalism would have to be addressed regardless of our names, so it's a moot point. (This paragraph is a little facetious. I talk a lot about running for public office someday, but I really don't know if that's a serious threat or not.)

A lot of women move their maiden name to their middle name when they take their husband's last name, but I don't really like the idea of that, either. It works well when your given middle name is just another "regular" name without any family meaning, but my maiden name is my mother's maiden name, and I am one of the few people who can pass it on (I have one male cousin who will be passing on the name to his children, but that's it). It also ties me to that side of my heritage, so I don't want to give it up (it's essentially the only proof I have of being half-Chinese, because I don't look it at all!). So making my maiden name my middle name is out of the question. And so is having two middle names; let's not be ridiculous, people.

Now, in case you're wondering, I definitely want our kids to have their father's last name. I don't have a good argument for or against it, but it just seems right to me. So then do I want to be the only one in the family without the same last name and be left out? Probably not.

So I think I've come up with a solution. I'm going to be Dr. MaidenName, which has been my goal and dream for 26 (by then, 28) years. But socially, I'll be Mrs. So-and-so, and introduce myself that way. Letters can come addressed to Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so (or Mr. So-and-so and Dr. MaidenName if the addressers feel so inclined). Our kids' friends can call me Mrs. So-and-so when they come over to our house. But most importantly, if people mix things up and call me Dr. So-and-so or Mrs. MaidenName at cocktail parties, I won't throw a fit about it, because that's the most annoying thing about women who keep their names.

The only weird thing about this is that essentially, for all intents and purposes, I am simply keeping my maiden name from a legal standpoint, so mortgages and bank statements will have to be in my maiden name, right? I'm making only a very tiny concession to FH and taking his name in the weakest way possible -- that is, socially but not legally. I know there are women who keep their maiden name professionally but legally assume their husband's last name for all other aspects of life, but due to the nature of my profession I don't think I can do this.

I've posed this solution to FH a few times over the last few years, and again in the last four weeks, and I think he's OK with it. He's not adamantly against it, anyway. I'm not sure if I should accept his OK-ness and not bring it up again, or if I should keep pestering him for his real feelings.

I'm going to be brave and open this topic up for your comments, but there are no guarantees that I will listen to any of them. :) So, what do you think?

Let's hope it doesn't get this bad.

But if it did, it would be pretty damn funny.

Gartner's associated website is pretty cute, too. I was already thinking of DIY-ing the invitations, so I'll definitely take a look at them when the time comes.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Catch-Up Posts

From the past month on my regular blog.

Can you believe it?!?!

Not that I thought it would NEVER happen, but more that I had no idea WHEN it was going to happen.

Blog title stolen from dsyin, who used it on her blog when she got engaged. I thought it was one of the funniest things I ever read.

I'm starting this blog because I'm sure there are plenty of people who occasionally read my regular blog who do not want to be bothered with details of color schemes, DIY craft projects, and hunting for bridesmaid dresses, but I still need to vent/share all of that information, as I do with the rest of my life. Read along if you like.

All we've decided so far is a sort-of date and a sort-of location: May 2009, after I graduate from medical school, in Louisville, KY.