The Registrar blinked owlishly over the rims of unnaturally vivid fuschia glasses.

“Are you absolutely sure, Mr and Mrs McBevis?”

“Actually I’m Ms,” said Ms McBevis, “I kept my own name when we married.”

“But it says here that you’re both McBevis.”

“Yes, funny coincidence really – we were both called McBevis already. We met at a social event for people with the surname McBevis. But we aren’t related.”

“We checked the family trees to be sure,” Mr McBevis added, “genealogy is quite fascinating. It turned out my great great aunt Mavis McBevis was actually a tree.”

“A great lusty oak,” his wife added enthusiastically.

“I see,” said the registrar, who didn’t really see, but was beginning to find the whole conversation rather tiring. “Well, it’s a small world I suppose.”

The McBevis’s nodded vigorously, so the registrar got in there before they started talking again –

“And you are absolutely sure about the baby’s name?”

“Of course we’re sure,” Ms McBevis said, “why shouldn’t we be?”

“You want to call the baby Horace McBevis?”


The registrar coughed in an embarrassed sort of way.

“It’s just that… Well. Horace seems a slightly unusual choice for a little girl.”

The new parents rolled their eyes at one another.

“We don’t want to force gender roles on our children,” Mr McBevis said, in the tones one might use to address a small dog. “This is the 21st century, you know.”

“I understand that, Mr McBevis,” she began, “but -”

“But what?”

Many thoughts went through the registrar’s head.

But couldn’t you choose a unisex name, like Madison or Jo?

But don’t you realise that poor little girl is going to be bullied within an inch of her life?

But it’s 5.05pm and I am off the clock.

“Nothing,” said the registrar, handing over the certificate and pulling on her anorak in one deft move, “it’s lovely. Goodbye.”

And that, dear reader, is the tale of how Horace McBevis got her name.