What’s in a Name?

Image courtesy of bump

According to a recent survey, certain surnames are dying out. This news reminded me of a conversation I once had with a friend who asked if my father was upset that his surname would die out with me, since I’m his only child. This led to a long and complicated conversation, the gist of which was that I don’t think he gives a shit. We have a complicated relationship with names in my family.

For a start, he doesn’t even use the surname on his passport for unofficial business. The only reason I can think of for this is that his proper surname is quite unattractive. He’s settled for a more common variant of it. When my mum and he divorced, she changed my name to the common variant, disliking the actual surname, and presumably, feeling reluctant to burden me with her very Irish maiden name which I imagine she’d got a fair bit of flack for at school.

Much like the time she wouldn’t let my aunty lick my head as a baby to give me curly hair, this has come back to haunt her as I am permanently disappointed with both my straight hair and my surname. My stepdad has a much more interesting surname, but they don’t seem willing to marry just so her grown child can change her name.

Since moving to Belgium, I’ve realised that I’m finally in possession of the exotic surname which I’ve always dreamed of. This is not as pleasing as I’d hoped. My surname contains an R, and I find the letter R very hard to say correctly in French. Couple this with a random H, and you have something which nobody even knows how to start pronouncing. When I say it, it sounds like I’m gargling.

What do you think?

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