A couple of deeds poll later, and Claire and I are half-way to having changed our surnames. Our new surname: Q. I hereby declare this blog post to be the official FAQ of the Dan/Claire name change. So there, Ms Q.
1. You’ve changed your names?
Yes, we’ve changed our names. I’m now “Dan Q”, and she’s “Claire Elizabeth Q”. We’ve signed deeds poll and it turns out that’s all you need to do.
2. How do you spell your new name?
Q. The letter Q. Just Q. That’s it.
No, like Q, the set of all rational numbers.
4. Why did you change your names?
For some time now we’d discussed changing our names so that we had the same surname. We’ve always liked the idea that when you become a family of your own, distinct from your parents, you should be entitled to choose a new surname for yourselves.
5. So this is like you “tying the knot”, then?
Not really. But if you were waiting for us to get married someday, this is the closest thing you’ll prbably ever get to it (unless we have a party sometime to commemorate being together), so if it helps you to think of it like that, yes.
6. Why did you pick the letter “Q” as a surname?
It’s a cool letter. It’s uncommon, quirky, and is always followed by a U. Except now. Other letters considered and rejected for the role include A, B, C, P, T, X, Z, and Y.
7. Why did you pick a surname that neither of you already had?
Fair’s fair. Plus, we wanted something that’s pretty much unique. Apart from an 80s singer whose stage name is Stacey Q, we don’t know of anybody who has our surname.
9. You know how much work this is going to take, right?
Tell me about it. It took me ages just to work out how to change my name in GMail. Now I’ve got to get certificates and sort out my bank, my other bank, my credit card, the DVLA, the passport agency, the electoral roll, the utility and service companies…
Yeah, we know it’ll be a lot of work.
10. Database administrators will hate you, you know.
We’ll hate them too, if their regexen don’t support single-character surnames. By the end of the year, I predict that we’ll be in at least three or four databases as Q-space-space-space. Not to mention a few places as Que or Queue. Fuck ’em.
11. How did your families take the name change?
Predictably to good. My mum laughed. My dad laughed, eventually. Her dad immediately assumed we were trying to commit some kind of bank fraud, and then laughed. The eldest of my two sisters sent me a text message reading simply “Disowned!” So, pretty well. And some of them actually had some useful practical advice about stuff.
12. Are you changing your signatures, too?
Yes, but we’re not putting them online, for obvious reasons.
13. Does this mean we’re allowed to say ‘DanQ’ in a silly voice instead of thank you now?
If you insist. You were allowed to say it before, of course, too. But it wasn’t funny then.
If there are any questions I’ve not covered, let me know!
The questions below were asked after this blog post was originally published.
14. Why not X?
It’s been done before. To death. Malcolm X and many of his supporters, for example. Plus it’s a little predictable. Q is a far cooler surname than X.
15. Did you, in your decision process, consider the effect this surname might have on your children?
Yes. In the event that we have children, they are likely to – being children – hate or be embarrassed their parents for one thing or another no matter what we do. This way, we’re giving the hypothetical sprogs either (a) something they can genuinely dislike us for or (b) something cool and unusual that they’ll be proud of. It all depends on their outlook, and I’m sure that there would be times in their lives that they would love, and times that they would loathe, their unusual surname.
If they are particularly bothered by it, they will be able to change it when they’re 16, whether or not we approve (although in all likelyhood, we won’t care either way).
16. You do realise you’ve called yourselves after an abbreviation, don’t you? [“Q” = “question” in many FAQs]
I do now.
17. And if you adopt/have a child, please can you call it something like Francis Adam? / Have you thought of changing your first name to ‘Snooker’ or maybe ‘Fuh’ / etc.
Thankfully, we haven’t yet brainstormed all of the possible funny names that could precede “Q”. Keep them coming, but don’t expect them all to appear in the Q FAQ.
18. How is it pronounced? Is it “queue” or “qwuh” or what?
It’s pronounced like “queue” (and, I suppose, “cue”): the name of the letter Q.
19. Can you legally have a number or a punctuation mark as part of your name?
The short answer: No.
The longer answer: Within the UK, there are certain restrictions on naming (at least, if you’re a UK resident). Firstly, you must have at least two names. Secondly, your surname must consist only of letters and (sometimes) simple punctuation like apostrophes (O’Reilly) and hypens (for multi-barelled surnames). And it’s not allowed to be blasphemous. Your first name must not imply that you have a title (e.g. Sir, Duke, Lord, King, etc.). Pope might be allowed, but I’m not sure.
It’s a pity, or I’d have probably been Huntl3y long before now. The 3 is silent.
20. Try and be interesting without adopting pointless name changes.
It’s not phrased as a question, anonymous coward, but I’ll address this one anyway:
To state that our name change is pointless or is an attempt to draw attention is to misunderstand our reasons. The choice of name certainly is attention-seeking (let’s face it, it’s a damn cool name!), but the fact that we have changed it is not.
I’d love to hear why you think this, though, if only you’d care to tell us who you are.
- Writing to all the companies I deal with, informing them of my name change.
- An unusual letter from the Passport Service, accompanying my new passport.
- The first of my feedback after QParty, the party we had to commemorate the name change.
- The first of my QMoon Postcards, the honeymoon Claire and I went on after the party.
- Some other Q-related stuff on my blog.