Here’s a question for expat readers, especially expats in France: how do you give your last name to people?
For me, there are a good number of ways it can go, depending on what I say, and depending on the person on the person I’m giving it to.
Me: Alors le nom c’est Fitzp*******. Donc F comme François, I, T comme Thomas, Z, P-A-T-R-I—
Other person: Attendez attendez! P… A…. T… comment?
Me: Putain c’est comme le prénom Patrick, arrêtez de rendre les choses difficiles!
(No really, I’ve never said that, but I always want to!)
Me: Alors le nom, c’est Fitzp*******. Donc F comme François, I, T comme Thomas, Z, et la suite c’est comme le prénom Patrick.
And a few days later I find I’ve been registered as Fitz, P*******. The person never bothered to ask for my first name because clearly the woman you’re talking to is named Patrick! Foreigners are capable of anything, why not give your daughter what’s clearly a boy’s name?
Recently I’ve tried specifiying and saying “le nom de famille, c’est Fitzp*******” but that has only yielded middling results. People still seem to think I’m called Patrick.
The reverse thing that happens is that people have my name written in front of them, see that consonant cluster, and panic. No one actually has trouble with my last name once they’ve heard it once. But that tzp, it almost gives them a heart attack.
Growing up in the States, Fitzp******* was pretty much understood everywhere, but sometimes in Texas you’d run into someone who’d never heard it, and I’d have to resist calling them a freak. “Fitzp*******, that’s a weird name, huh?” “No not really, have you heard of John Fitzgerald Kennedy? F Scott Fitzgerald? No? I did suspect you lived in a box.”
The only place it’s ever been truly easy with my last name was in Ireland. I remember at the hostel in Killarney, I rattled off my first + last names and without a blink, the girl wrote them down. Ahhh.
Anyone else have trouble getting their foreign name to be written correctly? And what solutions have you found?