The Name Game

Not a day goes by that I don’t mourn the loss of my maiden name, which is now my middle name.


The coolest name on the planet, if I do say so myself.

And I’m saying.

Although I didn’t always feel this way.

A boy in junior high teased me mercilessly with the following mind-blowingly witty quips:

- Savage Beast
- Savage Lover
- Savage Tan
- Savage Hunter
…and my personal favorite…
- Savoir faire is everywhere (taken from a Saturday morning cartoon in the ‘70s called Klondike Kat, anyone remember??)

I recall complaining to my older sister about how I hated my last name, and she responded with a swift kick in the rear: “Savage is the coolest name in the world, and don’t ever let anyone tell you any different!”

I listened to her, because I was afraid not to, and from that moment on, I embraced my unique last name.

As a young adult, my friends (and even a boss or two) referred to me as Savage, completely forgoing the use of my first name altogether.

It lended an aura of badass-ness to my otherwise quiet persona.

At one point, I had a roommate whose last name was McCool, and that household combination became the epitome of 20-something awesomeness. People would call our apartment just to listen to the message on the McCool-Savage answering machine.

But then I had to go and get married and ruin it all.

I could have taken the feminist route and kept my name, but my Southern conformist roots strangled out any shoots of radical independence.

I succumbed to the tradition of taking my husband’s last name, and sliding Savage over to the middle name slot on my driver’s license, thereby pushing out my original middle name.

But here’s the problem now.  My (new) last name also happens to be a popular women’s first name.  So, many people now mistakenly call me by my (new) last name, instead of my first name, and it takes an Act of God and reminders ad nauseum to correct them.

Some never get it.  I worked for a boss for six weeks who could never seem to learn the difference between my first and (new) last name, so I eventually quit. Well, there were other reasons, too, don’t worry.

But this story has a happy ending, I’m glad to report.  After quitting the aforementioned crappy job, and suffering through another short-lived crappy job, I decided to cut myself loose and start my own little business.

I called it SavageMedia.

It’s a good-sounding name for an Advertising Consultant, no?  It screams, “strong, capable, tough,” which is important when a lot of what I do is negotiating ad rates on behalf of clients.

That was fourteen years ago, and SavageMedia is still hanging in there, wedged in between raising two children and another part-time job.  But no matter how busy I get, I’ll never let it go.

Even if I have no clients and no income to report on my tax return, I will still keep printing those SavageMedia business cards.

Because it’s the only sliver I have left of who I was and where I came from, and I never want to let that go.

(And it still makes me feel kinda cool.)

Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. 1. That is the coolest name ever. I love my maiden name and was loathe to part with it upon marrying, so I did the same as you.
    2. Yes, coolest company name EVER.

    1. Thanks, Natalie! Men are so lucky they don't have to worry about this whole name changing business.

  2. That is definitely a cool last name and I'm glad that you kept that identity for your company. What's uncool? A boss who can't be bothered to get your name right!

    You should move to Montreal (where I am). In this province, women legally have to keep their maiden names although some use their husband's last name socially.

  3. It is pretty much the coolest name ever. And I say that because I share your first name along with the other bazillion females born during the time period and completely understand the longing for something cool and different.

  4. So, I have to ask, any relation to Dan Savage? It is a very cool name and I would love to have it. Also really cool? This sentence is so savagely good: "I could have taken the feminist route and kept my name, but my Southern conformist roots strangled out any shoots of radical independence." Perfectly worded!

    1. No relation to Dan, but I'm sure he's a great guy! :)
      Thanks for the compliment...that means a lot coming from the likes of you, sir.

  5. I knew a family growing up named Savage. Some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet!

    1. Good to hear! If they were that nice, they may not have been my people, ha, ha! ;)

  6. My husband wanted to take my last name when I married him. I am the only child, so my maiden name was going to die out. "Think of how happy your father will be," my husband had said. But I was a stubborn traditionalist. I took my husband's name. Silly me! My husband reminds me of this poor decision daily!

    1. I think my husband would secretly like to be a Savage!

  7. There was a girl around the corner from me as a kid whose last name was savage...I didn't realize how cool that was until just now!

    1. Yes, it is a much cooler name, from a grown-up perspective!

  8. I had a friend in school named Ryan Savage and he definitely was as cool as the name suggests. I love that you made it your middle name! I miss my maiden name too. :(

    1. There should be a way that we get to keep them!

  9. As a maiden Allison myself this post made me laugh. I did keep them all: added my maiden as a second middle name, and use them all officially. Names are important!


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