What the heck should I call you, anyway?

Originally posted on June 12, 2010 at 3:45 PM

So we got this lovely little card from my mom in the mail, and it had my name written two ways, crossed out, and ultimately incorrect. If you think about it, that’s really kind of hilarious. It has brought to my attention that no one knows what the heck to call me these days (not even my momma!). I’m recently married, recently published, and have different preferences than most women, to boot! It is rather confusing, but it’s okay! I know you’re seriously worried about it. Take a deep breath, and I’ll set the record straight. (Sorry Mom!)

The short version:

My name used to be Ms. Annie Lauren Neugebauer.

Now, my full, legal name is Ms. Annie Neugebauer Tilton. (Note that it’s Ms.—not Mrs. That’s by choice.) But it’s not a hyphenated last name; please leave out the Neugebauer unless it’s official or something.

I.e.: Unless it’s writing stuff, you can call me Annie Tilton or Ms. Tilton.

I publish under Annie Neugebauer. From now on, this is also what I will use for all writing-related things. Still Ms., if a title is needed.

*So my mom could have written “Mr. & Ms. Kyle & Annie Tilton.” One thing she did very right: please do not ever, EVER, call me “Mrs. Kyle Tilton.” Not even “Ms. Kyle Tilton.” Kyle is in no way shape or form my name! Thanks for remembering that, Mom!

Clear as mud? Maybe this will help. My imaginary FAQs:

So why the Ms. instead of Mrs.? Aren’t you proud of being married?

Hells yeah I am! It’s just a choice, for me related to gender equality. If a man is one title from age 1 to 105 regardless of marital status, I want that same courtesy extended to me. Why should women be one of three things based predominately on if she’s been able to “bag” a man? I asked to be Ms. before I was married and I ask the same now. I certainly don’t mind or judge you if you want to be Mrs., but please don’t force it on me! To me, “Mrs.” looked a little bit too much like “Mr’s.”

Why publish under your maiden name?

It was a compromise with myself. I felt an extreme sense of sorrow thinking of losing my family name. Knowing that I aimed to be a published author, I decided that I would honor my immediate family unit and my original identity by writing under Neugebauer.

If you like the name so much, why not keep it instead of take your husband’s name?

I thought about it, but ultimately, I decided not to, knowing that hub-a-dub and I would like to have kids someday. Hyphenated names are hard enough on kids, much less with Neugebauer being one of them. I also didn’t want to have a different last name than my children.

How do you pronounce Neugebauer?

The German pronunciation is hard for most people, but it’s been Americanized. My family says it “Nye-ga-bar,” which would rhyme with “Fly-duh-star.” I’ll answer to anything from Noogie to Newgaburger to Nutter-Butter.

Aren’t you worried readers will be baffled?

Eh, a little. They’ll get over it. Lol. I’d like to think it’s memorable, even if they don’t know how to say it.

If I accidentally call you Mrs. or the wrong last name, are you gonna be mad?

No! I once had a professor (not mine, thankfully) make me cry just because she got so angry that I accidentally left off the 2nd part of her hyphenated name and called her “Professor” instead of “Dr.” Geeze! I would never wish that sort of hostility on anyone. Someone would have to purposefully be calling me something other than what I ask, for it to make me mad. If you’re trying, I’m good with that! If all else fails, just call me Annie.

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