Rants and Whimsy

Surname panic

April 28, 2014

Today I’m going to write about something that’s getting a little silly. I’ve been married for two and a half years. That should be long enough to get used to something.

Apparently, it’s not. I chose to take my husband’s surname. Mostly because I really liked his surname with my first name, if I’m honest, and also a little bit because none of my other married friends had really taken their husband’s name and I’m a little bit contrary. Those sound like ridiculously superficial reasons, but there you go. What did you expect from me, I’m a blogger.

Anyway, as previously mentioned I’ve had two and a half years to change my name on all forms and documents, to perfect my signature and to get comfortable in my new identity. I’ve changed my name all the important stuff, the stuff I see all the time. But every so often a letter turns up addressed to the old me as a reminder that I haven’t completely amalgamated into this new Frankie. And there are just enough of those reminders hanging around out there that send me into a panic every time I have to do something official.

Am I the only person that this happens to? It seems that there is still a part of my brain that is clinging on to the name I used for the first 25 years of my life and it refuses to accept anything different.

Let me elaborate. I am an awful liar. Terrible. I get panicked and feel ill and stutter and basically start blushing in a manner that clearly marks me out a Lila Liarson anytime I try to tell the simplest of white lies. So much so that I’ll enter into all kinds of embarrassing and weird behaviour just to avoid the possibility of having to tell a small fib and stuff up. For example, if you invite me around to dinner, and I don’t like something, I’ll eat as much as I can to avoid being rude. If you then ask me how I liked it I won’t know what to say. So I’ll try and find something kind to say about the dish and if there isn’t anything I’ll end up in some kind of weird panic that makes the whole thing seem a lot worse than it initially was, stumbling over my words and generally saying all kinds of nothing that will end up conveying a sense of “I expect I’ll die in the night that dish was so bad,” to the kind person who has fed me, when generally I could have just said “I don’t really like pesto” in the first place and everything would have worked out. I am a punk weasel. (Thanks to Tammy for the expression).

To avoid this I try and avoid the conversation that leads to the attempted lie, or to force my husband into lying on my behalf. He has no problem with the white lie. Sometimes I suspect it may be his default setting. So you can see how he comes in useful. Alternatively, I try to only hang around people I can be brutally honest with, but sometimes I don’t have the choice.

Anyway, back to the marriage thing. If I’m talking to someone important, or someone official (like the tax department), I freak out when I have to tell them my name. The little guy who lives in my brain who likes to kick me in the guilt receptors every time I tell a lie goes berserk and won’t for a minute stop to listen to reason and accept the fact that I’m telling the truth and that my name is different now.

This of course means that I stop and start and stutter and generally guff over my name. I then panic that Mr Official on the other end of the telephone will pick up on this odd behaviour and and think that I am lying and all of a sudden I’ll be knee deep in trouble of the big kind. Sigh.

Sometimes when I was certain I had acted oddly I would stop and explain that I had just gotten married and I wasn’t used to my new name yet. This worked a treat when I had indeed just gotten married. That is not the case anymore. It’s been two and a half years. I’m now just a lunatic who can’t remember her own name.

Please tell me this is the case for everyone. Please tell me that there are official looking studies that say quite clearly that it takes 4.72 years for someone to become used to a new name. If not, please just believe me when I tell you my name. I’ve got passports and everything to back it up. Or if it’s really serious, I’m happy to get you a note from my mother.

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