WOMEN have an interesting option, not generally available to men. They can, without exciting any comment, change their names. They can do this once, twice or three times in their lives. They can change back to their maiden name, or keep a married name just because it's how most people know them. They can use one name in one context and a different name for other purposes. These subtle disguises allow them to swim through the waters of their lives, mercurial, evanescent, hidden. They start out with their father's name, and grow up with it through childhood and then, upon discovering the power of womanhood, begin looking around for a new life, a new man, and a new name. They say something important when they change their name, and they say something important when they don't. They can take a man's name or not take it, and change with a new man or not change, or take a choice of past names or devise a new one altogether. A quick visit to the French Laundry, and they can wash one man right out of their hair with the magic of a cut, dye, perm and set, and as fast as you can say, "I do," everything is different. A fresh start. A whole new life from the ground up. Maybe this time things will be better. If you can change your name, you can keep your real name a secret.

October 8, 1994

My Sweet Erasable You The title is a play on the song title, "Embraceable You," music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin (1930).