One of the biggest regrets of my adult life so far is that I still don’t have a proper signature.
Signatures, as everyone who ever spent hours practicing theirs in the back of a biology textbook knows, are one of the defining markers of grown-updom. They should be an instinctive flourish, blossoming naturally from your pen like a natural extension of your personality, as you write a cheque for your brand new jet ski/fax machine/horse.
“Look at me,” a good signature says, “I am a person of substance and understated panache. Look at me flow, like quality port from a crystal decanter.”
But mine doesn’t flow - not even like lukewarm WKD from a mug. It’s stilted and awkward and always gets stuck around the B. Even worse, it has a weird bit at the end that was once a star (oh, the shame) but has now turned into a pointless loopy thing.
I could stop doing the pointless loopy thing, but then my signature would just be “Lauren Bravo”, in boring round letters, not even joined up. And besides, it’s on all my important contracts and bank accounts, so it’s pretty much set in stone now. If I wanted to change it I’d probably have to apply to a bureau or something, and be fined for operating a pen without due care or attention.
Of course, the wider issue here is that handwriting itself, like writing cheques for jet skis/fax machines/horses, is quickly becoming an anachronism. It’s just another thing the Millennial generation are losing, along with our dignity, our muscle definition and our chances of buying a house without eBaying a kidney first.
There are people among my close acquaintance whose handwriting I’ve never even seen - which is unnerving, because it means I can’t do one of those ‘What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?’ features from Jackie magazine to find out if they’re secretly a lunatic.
These days I write by hand so rarely that when I do it comes out all funny, like the first day back after the holidays. All those years of defiance in primary school, fashioning little balloons above my ‘i’s and doing contraband things with the tails on my ‘g’s, just went to waste; while my 98 year old Auntie Elsie still has the immaculate penmanship of a royal scribe, mine looks like it has been danced onto the page by a muddy pigeon.
And so it is reserved only for birthday cards, angry notes and any congratulatory sentiment that can’t just be sent as a lovely warm text message. Maybe at some point handwriting will be a quaint retro hobby, like people who learn jive dancing or crochet doilies.
I’d start a petition for the protection of handwriting, but then I’d have to sign it.