The importance we place on them, the assumptions we make about them and the influence they have on our lives.
My Mother remarried fairly swiftly and my surname became Shears.
It was the BANE of my life!!! Not only did it seem impossible for many to spell (I've been called Smears, Steers and even on one memorable occasion ARREARS!!!) but, it was also ammunition!
Another sister was in a serious relationship for a while, all seemed to be jogging along quite nicely when suddenly, after a proposal of marriage, she broke it off.
The reason? 'Well 'she said, 'I gave it some serious thought and decided, there was no way I was spending the rest of my life being called Claire Dwyer'!!
You have to wonder at some parents though, do they not think before deciding on a name? Or do they have an evil chuckle to themselves as they sign away their offspring's future happiness in a stroke of a pen?
My ex worked with a man called Christopher, shortened as it often is to Chris. In itself, that wasn't a problem but when it was linked to the surname Peacock, well, that's just plain mean!
One day Carrie came into the office and announced that she had decided to double barrel her first name with her middle name and so she became Carrie-Ann.
Nobody really gave it a great deal of thought at first but, all became clear when she got married a few months later.