Monday, 16 October 2006

Name inanities

In the purported interest of female emancipation, the Italian authorities did not permit AF to adopt her husband’s surname. She was worried whether she would be allowed officially to use her married name in the USA.

Well actually I do sympathise because I had a slightly similar situation last week.
I applied to work for one or two weeks at the Royal Mail over Christmas to get some much needed dosh[1]. I went to the Job Centre where they had the Royal Mail come in to conduct the recruitment procedure.
I never put anything for ‘former name’ on any job application forms because it is none of their business and I have not used any name other than my current name throughout my employed and adult life. The idiot who was checking my form said that my name does not sound Irish and was I born with a different name? He refused to accept my form unless I wrote my childhood name there so they could do police checks.
It was a totally daft reason because if I were a criminal then I would have made a name up. Unfortunately I could not lie. I said he was being discriminatory because the only reason that he asked me was because my name and face did not match his stereotypes.
I don't know why, but it really annoyed me. I'm sorry to say it annoyed me just as your mother did with the same question. It was questioning my identity, which I claim the right to determine myself, just as you do. I said that before he (the interviewer) was born I had made a legal declaration that I would abandon my former name and now this idiot (because his reasons were idiotic) wanted me to break my legal obligations.
There is something about businesses and governments trying to take over, define and control your very being which we both find intolerable. I gave in and wrote, in red ink, that I did so under protest. I wondered whether I should have done so and whether I was being a coward for not making a stand. They also annoyed me by reading my medical form which should be confidential and only read by a doctor. I just feel that I am naked in public and I hate it.
On the face of it Britain seems slightly more reasonable that Italy, but not much. Things are getting crazier by the minute with an airhostess being forbidden to wear a visible crucifix and a teacher being told by a government minister that she ought to be sacked for wearing a burqa. I'd rather like to emigrate to another and saner planet.
I had a great time in France and I'd love to work there given the chance; possibly after this project finishes in July. I want to have the chance to learn at least one language and French does seem realistically possible. They were wonderful and paid my hotel and took me to restaurant lunches. You are not supposed to fast during a journey and I didn’t.