I Can Never Sign My Name the Same Way. What’s the Trick?

I do not understand the whole concept of handwritten signatures — that people are supposed to sign their name exactly the same way every single time.

I have never been able to sign my name the say way, ever. In my entire life.

And boy, this inability to sign my name all matchy-matchy is really biting me in the ass these days. In Mexico, having a consistently perfect signature is like having a brain: if you don’t have one, you’re screwed.

After we tried to open up a bank account here in Mexico, I couldn’t sign the forms exactly like my passport. So our local bank branch sent an employee to our house to make me do it right. I practiced hundreds of times in one hour, signing, signing, signing. This ridiculous exercise fills up 10 pages of a notebook, my maniacal attempts to conform.

But no, I couldn’t do it. Each time, it was a little different. Signature 1 was entirely different from Signature 100, no matter how hard I concentrated. I’m sure Senor Banco Persona thought I was insane. (I might be? Is this a sign of insanity?)

Now we’re facing our visa renewals, and I’m having the same problem. How lame would it be to get booted out of the country because I can’t sign my name exactly the same as I did on my visa form last year? (That’s a joke, but I am worried.)

So, is there some special trick to this? Did I miss this class in school? Why can’t companies/governments just demand thumbprints or retina scans or anything but a signature?

24 thoughts on “I Can Never Sign My Name the Same Way. What’s the Trick?

  1. Betty Victory says:

    Look, just write as sloppy as you can, as if you had no care or time– a somewhat legible scribble, if you will. Hen scratching or whatever it is called. Can you read most doctors signatures? Its just scratching. That is what your brother does and he has never had any problems.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Welcome to my nightmare Joy! I also suffer from inability to faithfully reproduce my signature and it has led to all kinds of banking problems. I have had numerous rejected checks and eventually had to put Nancy on my HSBC account. She does not suffer this affliction and now signs my work checks. My problem was exacerbated because I signed my FM3 in a really bizarre way, not imagining I would have to copy it again and again. And the Mexican bankers are reeeeeally picky when it comes to signatures – I guess it’s good and protects us against fraud, but it is freaking stressful.

  3. Monica says:

    Wow, I have never heard of such a thing before! My father, who’s specialised in graphology says noone can radically change his handwriting. If you could renew all your papers I would suggest simply writing your name, not trying a complicated signature.

  4. Joy says:

    Jeremy, you’re left handed, verdad? Maybe that’s our problem? Another f’ing thing lefties must suffer with.

    And yeah, I tried on my FM3, but then, for us, what’s trying? It’s never the same so “trying” — it’s inexplicable.

  5. DKN says:

    I’ve noticed, since I sign my name about 30 times a day I would guess, that mine is never the same either. It all depends on the speed I’m writing it in and the size of the space I’m signing it in. And I’m trying to remember when I STOPPED writing Dora entirely. Now I just sign first initial and last name because its much easier and considering how often I have to sign, it makes sense that my signature evolved that way. But I have to be careful when I sign my rent check. My land lords have the same bank as me and if my signature isn’t an exact match they won’t let them cash it. God that is so stupid. But I have slipped up a few times and so far so good, they haven’t showed up at the door asking for a new check in awhile. Maybe the bank has noticed that I never sign any other checks that way or something.

    Oh, and no you are not insane.

  6. Jeremy says:

    Actually I’m a righty, so I have even less of an excuse. My main problem is with the flourish on the “t” in Schwartz. The loop goes in all kinds of directions. The Jeremy is pretty solid – maybe I should just sign that, like Usher. I wish we could have one of those stamps. I’ve seen them in the states, but I doubt they would fly down here.

  7. Caryn says:

    I used to love practicing my handwriting. I still do it when I want to train myself to write a particular letter differently, just for style. But years ago, I chose a signature I liked and practiced that one over and over, which isn’t the same thing as just writing your name over and over. Choose one you like and practice THAT ONE. Don’t know if that helps.

  8. Betty Victory says:

    Gosh, maybe it is more of a lefty thing. However, I don’t think my signature is always so exact. They must be MUCH more picky about it in Mexico and New York, because I sign your Dad’s (not in front of the people, ofcourse) name all the time to things and no one has ever said anything about it. I can see how that must be stressful. What about a signature stamp?

  9. mmalan says:

    It’s a manifestation of brilliance.

    (I say this as a left-handed person whose signature has not changed since I stopped drawing hearts over Is.)

  10. juan says:

    i’ve had roughly the same signature since high school.
    here’s the cool part: if i write it with my left hand, it comes out as a perfect mirror image.

  11. Sahil says:

    Hello,

    I can’t believe I managed to find a blog like this while racking
    around looking for solutions to the same problem. While it made
    me feel better, to know that I have some company, I’m still in
    need of a solution hehe.. Did you manage to work around it, some
    how? Its begun to bite Me in the ass here in Japan, i’m studying
    the language here and am a 21 year old student/musician..
    I’ve gotten in trouble when its come down to travellers cheques
    and things like it.

    I don’t think i’d ever be able to sign real life cheques.. I think
    they’d bounce without a question of a doubt.. Sometimes the looks
    I get from the ladies who switch TC here are hilarious, they
    give me the money but its probably because the signatures look
    SO off that they feel like, “this is too blatant for the dude to even
    try forging” haha.

  12. Truth says:

    I too have the same issue and have been well aware of it for the longest time. My biggest fear is that after I pass away there’s going to be this whole huge court room fiasco over my will, with dozens of handwriting analysts scratching their heads in awe of how come one could be so inconsistent to NEVER have signed the same signature twice. The idea about first initial. last name makes sense but the sad part is my first name is the only one I actually sign similarly from time to time.

  13. MM says:

    Well, feels like some one else wrote my life story!!!! except for the VISA part. The guy who came from the bank, came well prepared, an A4 sized blank sheet and a sample of my signature. Guess what, I filled the whole page with my signature. Now if I had done that sitting alone, nobody would have had trouble saying that I better be locked in a nut house.

    Glad to know that there are people around like me 🙂

    Its high time we move on to retinal scanners or may be some biometric super-duper electronic human verifier, else people like me n Joy are going to be in deep … you know what.

  14. SJJ says:

    I can’t reproduce my sign faithfully either. I’m afraid this is some kind of disease or a defect in me. I feel so embarrassed at banks when the tellers insist me to sign exactly the way I had signed the first time when I opened the bank account.

    The only solution to me that I can think of is signing just my initials. But I’m worried that may make my cheque book vulnerable to forgery.

  15. Nicki says:

    I have it worse than anyone who’s already left a comment! I’m ok signing my name when I’m alone (when I practise!), but if I have to sign in front of someone else (which is very often as I have to sign things at work) I cannot sign properly!! It’s got to the point where I’ll miss out a huge chunk from the middle. It’s embarrassing! However much I try to relax and sign my name properly (I don’t even have a difficult signature – it’s just my initial and surname written in my normal handwriting), but I just hate signing in front of other people. It’s like my hand does not obey me – it does whatever it wants!! So now I have things signed with my whole name and others with the middle part missing!! I’m really bothered about this. Each time I go back to practising when I’m alone & it’s fine and then when the situation arises again to have to sign something in front of someone else I end up missing part of it out again!! I really don’t know what I can do.

  16. Irene says:

    Maybe it goes along with the right brain, left handed. My signature is always similar but my handwriting is different (mostly sloppy). Sometimes I even change styles in the middle of a word.
    How do so many people get away with a swirley line and a squiggle for a signature (not only medical profession)?

  17. Sarrah says:

    Oh!!! i thought i was the only one..i have had so much problems with signatures such that now i have joint accounts with my husband…. its so embarrassing. When i applied for a debit guy this bank guy couldn’t help but feel amused!!! If i do it without thinking then maybe a similar bit but consciously it never happens!! My co. is planning to make a signatory in co’s bank account and now i am so distressed!

  18. Jeigh says:

    I believe this is a sign/aspect of a highly intelligent & creative person. Is this you? If so, that is probably the issue.

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