I remember being a teenager, going through that feminist stage that most young girls do.
And I found out – and what a revelation this was – that it wasn’t ‘The Law’ that you had to take your husband’s surname once you got hitched.
Amazing. In that case, I was totally going to keep mine.
“There’s absolutely no way I would change my name if I got married,” I told my friends in the sixth form, who probably nodded in agreement.
We’d never lose our identities because of some man. Humph to that.
But as I got older I kind of changed my mind. Not that I didn’t like my surname. (Oh it never got boring being serenaded with Mrs Robinson by boys that thought it would impress you.)
It’s just it seemed like a nice thing to do – the perfect symbol of starting a new chapter of your life.
Not that I was going to become one of those girls that starts practicing her new signature (inserting her new boyfriend’s surname in place of her own). Oh no, not me – not in this life, anyway.
I was all prepared to give up my surname. So imagine my disappointment when I learned that Spanish brides all, without exception, keep their own names.
J tried to explain it to me. I would still be a Mrs – ie Señora whatever, but I would still be Katherine Robinson. Our children – like all Spanish children, would have two surnames – His first, followed by mine.
A perfect blend of Spanish and British – just like our future kids would be.
OK, but I felt cheated. True, on the plus side – I wouldn’t have to change my passport, or my work email or my Facebook name or anything, but it was the principal of the matter.
The choice had been taken away from me. It would look weird if I did take his name, because the only other women who had it in his family would be his sisters.
And it’s such a fun surname to have – Borrachero, which basically means drunkard. Mrs Drunkard – it’s just brilliant.
Actually, I should clarify that the origins of the name don’t really come from the verb emborrachar (i.e. to get drunk). People who’ve traced it think it could have come from Portugal, where a ‘boracha’ is a typical container for olive oil and wine.
Or it could be something to do with the Borrachero plant, which grows in Mexico. Perhaps in days of old, the people who farmed or picked these plants, which have medicinal uses, adopted the surname.
There are very few people in Spain who have it as a surname. People do a double take – and sometimes laugh (how rude!) – whenever J has to tell people – whether to book a table at a restaurant or whatever.
When he was paying in a shop once, one guy even borrowed his ID to show it to his friends ‘cos he couldn’t believe it.
The icing on the cake is that J’s father’s full last name is Borrachero Tirado (you could interpret this as ‘fallen down drunkard’, with the literal translation) And he doesn’t even drink!
Anyway, I’m getting off the point. What I really wanted to say is that I love my future husband’s unique surname, and I’m sad I won’t be taking it.
But really I don’t need a new name to prove to myself I’m married, or starting a new chapter.
In many ways I feel like I’ve already turned the page.