Unfortunate Last Names

Momma and KidHere is Québec, when a (straight) couple marries, the wife does not take her husband’s last name. I suppose she could if she really wanted to jump through many legal hoops, but even there it would be a lengthy process. This is primarily because Québec is a civil law jurisdiction, unlike the rest of Canada which relies on common law principles. But a spinoff is that “Jeanne Tremblay” ‘s file with the government will always be a variation of her name at birth and her birthdate.

Hence, many children here have compound last names (in either order — mother’s-father’s or father’s-mother’s), unless the parents decide to only give one name (the mother’s or the father’s). In a way, that’s not such a big deal. In Spanish-speaking countries, the norm is to have your father’s and mother’s last name (in that order), with the father’s name being used in day-to-day dealings.

My brother sent me this list of unfortunate last name combinations that could happen in Québec. Alas, a lot of you who don’t speak French or aren’t familiar with Québec slang won’t get the jokes, so I’m providing rough English translations. In most cases, it’s not that the combos really mean that, but they SOUND like they do.

Unfortunate Last Names

  1. Labelle-Binette (the cute face)
  2. Lavoie-Ferré (the railroad track)
  3. Desjardins-Fleury (gardens in flower)
  4. Dupont-D’Avignon (from d’Avignon bridge)
  5. Buisson-Desfossés (bush from the ditches)
  6. Jetté-Lapierre ([I] threw the stone)
  7. Morand-Voyer ([they] sent me back/fired me)
  8. Tétreault-Cauchon (you’re too piggy)
  9. Lalumière-Dufour (the oven light)
  10. Sanschagrin-D’Amours (without love-sickness)
  11. Legros-Ratté (the big loser)
  12. Laporte-Barré (the locked door)
  13. Lebeau-Fyfe (the big fag)
  14. Legrand-Brûlé (the big burn [victim])
  15. Beausoleil-Brillant (nice bright sun)
  16. Leboeuf-Haché (the ground beef)
  17. Parent-D’Ostie (parent of a motherfucker)
  18. Viens-Sansregrets (come with no regret)
  19. Lemoyne-Allaire (dick in the air)
  20. Hétu-Guay (are you gay)

Meanwhile, from the unbelievable-but-true, an old French name that’s never given anymore for a female is Victime. And yes, it means the same thing as in English. It really happened, in our lifetime, that a young girl was given that name with the second family name in Number 16 above. She obviously had grounds, pardon the pun, as a (very traumatized) adult, to legally change her first name to Vicky.

In another case, I won’t give you her actual name because she’s a real person whom I don’t know. But, when she says her full name in French really fast, it’s sounds like she’s saying, “It’s the stomach.”

And, I don’t know if it’s true or urban legend, but when I was growing up in Moncton, there apparently was a woman named Candy who married a guy with the last name of Kane and — you got it! — she took his name!

What are some people thinking, huh?!

ADDENDUM: The choice of image for this post is not meant to be a slight against Québec or parents or Québec parents. It’s just a cute mom-and-kid picture, okay?!

The Arrival of Summer Already!

It was almost 26C here in Montréal yesterday, and today is expected to be a repeat performance. That’s very likely, as it’s already 21C at 11:00 am. Yesterday evening, I got to enjoy some people-watching and coffee-sipping in the crowded Village, and I wasn’t wearing a jacket. I felt cooler evenings in July or August than what I felt last night! And as I sat there, I really wished that La Chelita had been here to hang out with me, so that she could see that Montréal doesn’t just get extreme cold or extreme heat like she experienced whenever she has been here in the last 15 months.

One of the (many) things I like about living in Montréal is that there’s really a springtime in this part of the country. Back in Atlantic Canada for the last 15 or 20 years, it seemed like we would go from winter, to a miserable middle season of variable but usually too long length that wasn’t as intensely cold and snowy as winter but wasn’t terribly inspiring, to summer. Here, on the other hand, there’s a real spring that progressively gets warmer and seems in better agreement with the calendar.

By all accounts, this year having been an El Niño winter, it hasn’t been too bad except that the unseasonably cool temperatures requiring a winter jacket started in October. But by February here, it felt like March; the first three weeks of March felt like late-April; and now, April is starting off like an extraordinary June. It’s quite simply incredible and delicious. That’s honestly the word that immediately comes to my mind.

I was just checking the Environment Canada website, and it would seem the average high this time of year in Montréal is about 8C. However, for the next five days, that’s going to be the average low temperature. We’re not expecting mid-20s through that period, but still! I’m totally loving this!