After 9 years and 3 countries, I’m making the transition from expatriate to repatriate. It’s a brand new chapter with new stories to tell! I now come to you from the home of baseball and birthplace of Frank Sinatra— Hoboken, New Jersey.
Soon after I’d outgrown my Barbie but before I was old enough to date boys, I would spend hours writing my signature over and over again. Mind you, this wasn’t a random or obsessive-compulsive exercise. Despite my tender years, I practiced signing my name with purpose. I knew that some day I was going to become either Mrs. Sean Cassidy or Mrs. Andy Gibb, and would therefore need a glamorous autograph to match my famous husband’s. And so, I wrote all the variations in as fine a cursive as I could muster.
Diana G. Cassidy
During this process, I took a lot of time considering my Ds. Did I want a big loop or a smaller one? Did I want a scrolling loop? Or, should I opt for a more casual D, so it didn’t look like I was trying too hard? These were tough, but potentially life-altering questions for the future Mrs. Sean Cassidy/Andy Gibb. I spent hours on the first letter of my name, leaving me little time to decide whether I should dot my i with a heart.
My dreams of marrying either heart-throb eventually faded, and I never worked on my signature again. Despite all the hours of practice in my youth, Mrs. Diana Mahmoud ended up with an average John Hancock. While my handwritten name isn’t glamorous, it is, at least, legible–which is more than I can say for Mr. Mahmoud’s chicken scratch that passes off as his signature.
Like you, I’ve signed thousands of pieces of paper throughout the years without really giving it a second thought. Why would I? Never once had the authenticity of my signature been called into question–that is until I moved to Singapore.
For the third time in two months, my bank denied important paperwork because the handwritten name on the form “didn’t match the signature on file.” This problem, which is equally annoying and amusing to me, has caused repeated delays in a time-sensitive matter. Last week, I decided to head off further controversy (and potential government action) by taking a signed, fourth form along with my passport and official Foreign Identification Number to the bank for final approval.
I reasoned that having proof of identification in hand would automatically solve my problem, but it didn’t. The bank teller politely explained that my signature was still an issue because it didn’t look enough like the digital copy of it on file at the bank.
“What about Mr. Mahmoud’s signature?” I inquired.
“Mr. Mahmoud’s signature is fine,” she replied.
I couldn’t help but scoff. If you saw my husband’s signature, you would too. Mr. Mahmoud might as well be signing his name with an X because this would at least be a recognizable character.
Sensing my frustration, the teller offered to let me re-do the official bank signature card because it had caused so much trouble in the past. She also instructed me to write my name exactly the way I had signed it on the form to avoid confusion. And just as I did when prepping to be Mrs. Sean Cassidy/Andy Gibb, she even took out a piece of paper so that I could practice.
Mrs. Diana Mahmoud
Mrs. Diana Mahmoud
Mrs. Diana Mahmoud
No matter how I tried, I could not sign my name exactly like I did on the form. The problem was the damn D and specifically the loop, which was sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, and sometimes scrolling too much. While my signature is legible, it is, apparently, not consistent.
Eventually, the poor teller accepted a version of my handwritten name. And, only after taking both my passport and FIN number as proof, had her supervisor approve the form. Success! However, I know it’s only a matter of time before my inconsistent signature again causes me problems in Singapore.
Maybe it’s a good thing I never became Mrs. Sean Cassidy/Andy Gibb because my autograph would never have been up to snuff. Or perhaps, my bank would love my handwritten name more if I started dotting the i with a heart. I’m going to try this the next time I have a problem and report back to you.